In late 2014, Bai starred alongside David Arquette in The Key, Jefery Levy's adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize laureate Junichiro Tanizaki.
In October 2014, Bai Ling was a member of the jury in the "India Gold 2014" section of the Mumbai Film Festival.
The New York Times praised Bai Ling's performance, saying that she gave the film "not only grace but also substantial gravity".
Bai was named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1998.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), she learned how to perform by participating in Eight model plays, at her elementary school shows.She claimed that this was because she posed nude in the June 2005 issue of Playboy magazine, whose appearance on newsstands coincided with the movie's May 2005 release, but director George Lucas denied this, stating that the cut had been made more than a year earlier.Her scenes were included in the "deleted scenes" feature of the DVD release.After her graduation from middle school, Bai was sent to do labor work at Shuangliu (双流), a county near Chengdu, where the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is located.In 1978, after graduating from high school, she passed the People's Liberation Army's exams, and became an artist soldier in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet.Her mother, Chen Binbin (陈彬彬), was a dancer, stage actress, and a literature teacher in Sichuan University; Bai's maternal grandfather was a military officer of the Kuomintang army, and thus was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution.In the early 1980s, Bai Ling's parents divorced, and later remarried.She became famous after playing a girl with a psychological disorder who has an affair with her doctor, in the film The Shining Arc (弧光) directed by Zhang Junzhao (张军钊), her most highly acclaimed role in the Chinese film industry.In 1991, Bai moved to the United States, where she appeared in a number of American films and television shows.Subsequently, Bai spent some time in a mental hospital.Soon after her release from the hospital, in 1981, Bai joined People's Art Theater of Chengdu, and became a professional actress. Bai began her acting career in China, appearing in several Chinese feature films.