|Pawana at the Thai Film Archive on Mitr Chaibancha memorial day in 2009.|
Thai leading lady Pawana Chanachit (ภาวนา ชนะจิต) has died. At the height of her career in the 1960s and '70s, she was known as the "Pearl of Asia", famed for her many roles in Hong Kong movies, among them Duel of Fists, the Shaw Brothers' Bangkok action drama starring David Chiang and Ti Lung and directed by Chang Cheh.
She began her acting career in 1960, starring in Saeng Soon (แสงสูรย์) with Mitr Chaibancha and Amara Assavanonda and winning a Golden Doll award for her role.
Born Aranyaporn Laosaengthong on December 20, 1943 to a Mandarin Chinese family, her nickname was Yin.
An action film heroine, Pawana remained a fan favorite long after she stopped acting. At the Mitr Chaibancha memorial day at the Thai Film Archive in 2009, the still-bubbly and bright actress attracted dozens of autograph seekers. Her hand and footprint impressions at the archive is signed "the Pearl of Asia".
According to the Bangkok Post and other news reports, she was found in a pond at her home in Nakhon Pathom. She was 69.
Update: The Nation has a story in which relatives cite "suspicious circumstances".
(Via Ninja Dixon)