“They ask me why… I’m just a hairy guy…” If the musical “Hair” had featured a title character, it would have been Yu Zhenhuan – the “hairiest man in China”.

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Yu suffers from, or rejoices in, a hereditary condition called atavism, which causes 96 percent of his body – everything but the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet – to be completely covered in hair.

Some people might consider this a disfigurement, but Yu has used his condition as a springboard to fame. He starred in his first film, his own tale of a hairy child’s adventure, at a very young age.

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Where other actors bitterly resent typecasting, Yu embraces it: he recently tried out for the part of the Monkey King in a television adaptation of “Journey to the West”. Ironically, his appearance kept him from getting the role: the director apparently wanted a more attractive simian.

Perhaps the recent experiments in which capuchins demonstrated an understanding of the basic uses of money were a factor in this decision, as the female monkeys showed additional resources for gaining disposable income and may yet prove avid moviegoers if the right male star can be discovered. Regardless, Yu is pressing on undaunted, planning to have plastic surgery on his eyes and nose in order to become a “pretty monkey”.

If his future as the simian Brad Pitt is still uncertain, Yu is not without alternatives. After his most recent breakup, he is relying on an on-line dating service to find a mate who can play Fay Wray to his tender-hearted and artistic King Kong.

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As a professional singer and musician as well as an actor, Yu is currently seeking fame and fortune in a field where lots of hair has always been a real advantage – as a rock star.

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