Christopher Lee's younger bro, Frederick, shares "I've never been jealous of my brother"
The younger brother of Singaporean actor Christopher Lee, shares his journey of love, loss and life.
For Frederick Lee, his acting career was never smooth-sailing and gigs were hard to come by.
And while one might think there could be some envy at being overshadowed by his famous older brother, Christopher, Frederick, insists that he has never been bitter about his brother’s success.
Stressed, yes, but not bitter.
In an interview with Lianhe Wanbao yesterday (Oct 30), the 43-year-old actor said: “It’s a blessing to have a brother like him, not a burden. I’ve never been jealous or bitter because he’s always been protecting me and looking out for me.”
While the brothers don’t meet often, Frederick revealed that they’re on good terms with each other and Christopher often discreetly tells his friends to take care of him.
“When his friends told me about it, I was very touched,” Frederick added.
The Malaysian actor, who bears a striking resemblance to his older brother, is starring in the upcoming drama Mind’s Eye; alongside veteran actors like Tay Ping Hui and Jesseca Liu.
And he was very open about his excitement for the role as he has been waiting a decade for an opportunity like this. After all, he was struggling to make it as an actor in Singapore back in 2003 and could not find a suitable role despite searching for a month.
He said: “At that time, I used to ask myself if I was that bad. I also wondered if it was because I look too similar to my brother.”
Disappointed but not defeated, Frederick moved back to Malaysia to pursue his acting career but it wasn’t a walk in the park either.
“When I went for auditions, some directors told me that my looks weren’t appropriate, some said I couldn’t carry a leading role and that I would be wasted in a minor role. When I heard the feedback, I thought about the problem and decided to rely on my abilities to prove myself,” he said.
His efforts didn’t go to waste as Frederick bagged the Best Male Lead award at Malaysia’s Golden Awards 2014, garnering recognition for his ability as an actor and rekindling his self-confidence.
While his career is seemingly on an upward trend, it was nevertheless a tumultuous journey, and one which he pushed through because of the support of his late mother. The actor choked up and teared as he spoke to the Chinese daily about her.
“My mother was in poor health when she was in her 50s but she kept encouraging me to pursue my dreams. She knew life was hard for me but she couldn’t do anything. Whenever I would return home to Melaka for a while, she knew that it was because I didn’t have a job,” he recalled.
As it hurt her to see her son struggle, Frederick confessed that she would always tell him to come home if it got too tough for him and she would help him find a job.
Frederick added: “I was already in my 30s then but I was still making her worry.”
So great is his love for his mother that after she passed away last year, he changed the Chinese characters of his name, Ming Zhong, back to its original form.
“After my mother passed away, I learnt from my elders that she chose my name for me so I decided to use it,” he said, explaining that he didn’t like his original Chinese name because the characters were “too simple”.
Frederick also told the Chinese daily that he has a girlfriend of five years, who works in IT, and he’s hoping to settle down with her soon — something which Christopher has encouraged him to do as well.
“Although she’s younger than me, she’s very independent and mature. She has never asked me to give up on my dreams just because acting isn’t a stable job. This is one of the reasons I appreciate her so much,” he said.