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Lily Chen Foster

Actress and Community Leader


Lily Chen Foster has played many roles in her life, but she is most proud of playing the leading role of mother of two extraordinary sons, Zachary and Anthony; wife of Charles Foster; and daughter of parents to whom she is still very devoted.   

Ms. Chen was the leading actress in her first film, which had a revolutionary theme and was the favorite film of Chairman Mao Zedong. She went on to be the leading actress in over 18 films, including the role of Ci An in the film The West Queen, which was the biggest budget film in China at the time.  

Ms. Chen received her master’s degree in drama at the University of Houston under Sydney Berger and returned to China to make several additional films and to play roles in U.S. television and film productions. Her major role was in the BBC/Australian Broadcasting Corporation movie, The Children of the Dragon, for which she received critical acclaim in the London Times and other media outlets. She also participated in a number of theatrical productions in China and was the emcee of major nationally televised National Day celebrations. In the United States, she wrote, directed and choreographed the Express Theater production of The Monkey King. The story of her time on the farm in China during the Cultural Revolution was dramatized in the University of St. Thomas production of Voices of America.   

Civically, Ms. Chen served on the Board of the Alley Theater and is currently on the Board and is a director of Friends of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD and the Houston Galveston Institute. She is also on the Advisory Boards of the Asia Society Texas Center and the University of Houston. She chaired the Asian Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner and, along with her husband Charles, is active in many civic projects.