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Phil Tan: A Bad Guy Gone Good

CBN.com Phil Tan has spent his life as a fighter, a warlord, a thief, a criminal, a gangster, a thug… and a loving husband and father.

And he’s been killed hundreds of times.

For more than 20 years, Philip has made a good living as a bad guy, working as a stunt coordinator and actor alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names. He got his start by flipping through the classifieds one day.
 
“I got into this business by mistake,” Phil tells Chuck Holton of The 700 Club. “I was a gymnast. I was a British champion when I was young kid, and I represented the British team for many years. Then I became a British Tai Kwon Do champion in ’85 and then became a national dancing champion.

“Peter Sellers put an ad in a newspaper looking for an Asian guy who can do martial arts, acrobatics, dance, and I happened to do all three of them. I went for audition and got lucky. My first movie was in Paris with Peter Sellers in 1980.”

Before long, Phil was living the life of a movie star.

“We were making a lot of money. A lot of people were recognizing me on the street, and being on TV twice a week, we had a lot of fans. We had 13 million viewers. When you think 13 million viewers, twice a week you’re on TV, you’re a soap star. You have money, and there must be real joy and peace. But it was a fake. It wasn’t real.” 

Phil fell in love, got married, and for a time things got better. But the emptiness soon returned with a vengeance.

“Our life like was party, party, party. Drinking, fighting… We’d do whatever we wanted to do to make us happy,” he says.  “But I was searching in the wrong area. We were hurting in our marriage. We’d just got married, and we were already getting a divorce.”

Phil’s brother encouraged the couple to go to church. Phil didn’t want any part of it but he agreed to go any how. He knew something needed to change.  Before long, he and his wife found what they were looking for.

“He said, ‘If you want to give your life to the Lord, then come out here.’ We both stood up. We didn’t look at each other, and we both went down and received the Lord at the same time.”

The TansThe Tans just celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary and have four sons who are eager to follow their father’s footsteps.

Did getting saved change Phil’s view of Hollywood?

“Yes, it changed my view of Hollywood, because I realized there’s a lot of people that don’t know God in Hollywood. We’re there to be the light, to be a little bit of peace in their life at the right place, at the right time, for the right reason. God will show up on our film set and people will get saved. God said that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. That’s the real peace in my life."

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