Yam Kim Fai (Chinese: 任劍輝, 4 February 1913 (Lunar 29 December 1912) – 29 November 1989), also known as Ren Jianhui was a renowned Cantonese opera actress in China and Hong Kong.
She was most notable for her unique ability to sing in the lower register. That her opera voice was indistinguishable from a male one allowed her to play either male or female roles, though she usually performed male ones.
On 24 June 1972, Yam performed the last time in public and TV viewers looked for the “man” they knew from movies/stage performances. They did not expect to see her in a 2-piece set of jacket and qipao (cheongsam) with floral print. Since 1972, Yam enjoyed singing in private with a live band and was often accompanied by her protégée Loong who would read the lyrics out for her until her eyesight improved with surgery.
On 11 July 1976, during the 25th Miss Universe pageant held at the Lee Theatre in Hong Kong, contestants were asked to pick from five portraits the one they thought was the actress in a male Cantonese opera costume. Yam was not the one correctly identified by any of the contestants.
In 1989, she died at home in Hong Kong due to pleural effusion. There was no JTWROS. Yam had a will drawn up and left her estate to families, including Yam Bing Yee.