Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He founded a hybrid martial arts philosophy called of Jeet Kune Do. Historian considered Lee as the most influential martial artist of all time. He is a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West.
Bruce Lee Early Life
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, in the Chinese Hospital, in Chinatown, San Francisco. Lee’s father, Lee Hoi-chuen, was one of the leading Cantonese opera and film actors.
As a nine-year-old, he would co-star with his father in The Kid in 1950, which was based on a comic book character and was his first leading role. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films.
Despite the advantage of his family’s status, the neighborhood in which Lee grew up became overcrowded, dangerous, and full of gang rivalries due to an influx of refugees.
Bruce Lee Martial Art Training
After Lee fought several street fights, his parents decided that he should learn martial arts.
The largest influence on Lee’s martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun. Lee showed a keen interest in Wing Chun and continued to train privately with Yip Man and Wong Shun Leung.
Until his late teens, Lee’s street fights became more frequent and included beating the son of a feared triad family. Eventually, Lee’s father decided his son should leave Hong Kong to pursue a safer and healthier life in the United States.
Bruce Lee Education and Marriage
In December 1960, Lee completed his high school education and received his diploma from Edison Technical School on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
In March 1961, Lee enrolled at the University of Washington and studied dramatic arts, philosophy, psychology, and various other subjects.
It was at this time that he took on a waiter’s job. Soon he also began to teach some of his skills to students who would pay. Some of the Japanese schools in the Seattle area tried to force Bruce out. He fought many confrontations and duels Bruce to remain.
He soon met his future wife Linda Emery, a fellow student studying to become a teacher, whom he married in August 1964. Later Lee had two children with Linda: Brandon (1965–1993) and Shannon Lee (born 1969).
Bruce Lee dropped out of college in early 1964 and moved to Oakland to live with James Yimm Lee.
Bruce Lee appeared at the 1967 Long Beach International Karate Championships. He performed various demonstrations, including the famous “unstoppable punch” against USKA world Karate champion Vic Moore.
Lee has exceptional physical fitness and vigor. He used dedicated fitness regimen to become as strong as possible. Lee included all elements of total fitness—muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility.
Bruce Lee Movie Career
He participated in a martial arts exhibition on Long Beach in 1964. Which led to Producer William Dozier invitating for an audition for a role in the pilot for “Number One Son”.
The show never aired, but Lee was invited for the role of the sidekick Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the TV series titled The Green Hornet.
Not happy with his supporting roles in the US, Lee returned to Hong Kong. Unaware that The Green Hornet had been played to success in Hong Kong.
Lee played his first leading role in The Big Boss (1971), which proved to be an enormous box office success across Asia and catapulted him to stardom. He soon followed up with Fist of Fury (1972), which broke the box office records set previously by The Big Boss.
For his third film, Way of the Dragon (1972), he was given complete control of the film’s production as the writer, director, star, and choreographer of the fight scenes.
From August to October 1972, Lee began work on his fourth Golden Harvest Film, Game of Death. Production stopped in November 1972 when Warner Brothers offered Lee the opportunity to star in Enter the Dragon, the first film to be produced jointly by Concord, Golden Harvest, and Warner Bros. Filming began in Hong Kong in January 1973.
Enter the Dragon would go on to become one of the year’s highest-grossing films and cement Lee as a martial arts legend.
Bruce Lee Death
On July 20, 1973, just one month before the premiere of Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong at the age of 32.
The official cause of his sudden and utterly unexpected death was a brain edema. Doctor in autopsy found a strange reaction of prescription painkiller that he took for a back injury.
Some people created controversy around Lee’s death as they claimed someone murdered him.