Ranked #100 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Father of Brandon Lee and Shannon Lee.
Died of brain edema in Hong Kong at age 32.
He is considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.
Developed his martial art style called Jeet Kune Do (Way of the Intercepting Fist) which is more of an idea of being flexible and practical with learning martial arts
Interred at Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington, USA.
While The Green Hornet (1966) TV series was in production, Bruce made several promotional appearances as Kato but made a point to never do the standard martial art stunts like breaking boards, which he felt had nothing to do with what martial arts are about.
Bruce Lee Jun Fan Yuen Kam (Bruce Lee's full birth name) was born in the year of the dragon (1940), at the hour of the dragon (between 6:00AM- 8:00AM).
Was an accomplished dancer and Hong Kong cha cha cha champion.
A noted brawler in Hong Kong, Lee received formal training in wing chun under legendary sifu Yip Man. He later trained in a variety of arts but eventually found classical style limiting and, counter-productive. He developed Jeet Kune Do which, he stressed, is not a style but a way of approaching martial arts beyond style. It is the forerunner to mix martial arts.
Weighed only 128 pounds at the time of his death.
Suffered a serious back injury while attempting a good-morning (involves holding a barbell across the shoulders and bending forward, keeping legs and back straight). During his recuperation he wrote several books on the martial arts.
His students in Jeet Kune Do martial arts included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Steve McQueen, and James Coburn.
His father, Lee Hoi-chuen, was Chinese. His mother, Grace Ho, is described as being of mixed Chinese and European (usually stated as German) descent.
His development of Jeet Kune Do came partially out of an incident with his school. A rival martial artist challenged him to a duel over his decision to teach non-Chinese students. Lee accepted the challenge and won the duel but later thought that the fight took too long because his martial art technique was too rigid and formalistic. Thus he decided to develop a better system with an emphasis on practicality and flexibility.
Was constantly challenged by movie extras and other men seeking to gain fame by beating him in a fight.
Left for Seattle in 1958 with $100. Gave cha cha cha lessons to first-class passengers to earn extra money during ship ride to US.
Was sought after for instruction by established martial artists such as Joe Lewis and Chuck Norris.
Faced discrimination from other Chinese kung fu masters when trying to learn other martial arts styles. Would usually go to the number 3 or 4 man in a certain system to learn it in exchange for teaching what he knew.
Demand for his private lessons grew so high that his hourly rate soared to $275 per hour.
His last movie, Game of Death (1978), was his first film to be shot with sound, unlike most of his earlier films which were filmed without sound and later dubbed in by the actors. Some of the lost footage was later shown in Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000). You can hear his own voice speaking English and Cantonese. Had he not died, his character's name in this movie would have been Hai Tien.
Spoke English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Was able to name every single karate term and performed them with dead accuracy.
Adopted his legendary nunchaku routine in his movies from the legendary karate master Hidehiko "Hidy" Ochiai. The two met at the Los Angeles YMCA in the mid 1960s.
Earned $30,000 for his first two feature films.
Developed a trick for showing off his speed: a person held a coin and closed his hand and, as he closed it, Lee would take it and could even swap the coin for another.
His death was considered to be under 'extraordinarily bizarre' circumstances by many experts. Many people claimed that it was the work of 'Oni' (Japanese for Demons or evil spirits), while others claimed he was cursed. The theory of the 'Curse of Bruce Lee' carried over to the extremely bizarre death of his son, Brandon Lee, who was shot and killed during the filming of The Crow (1994) in 1993.
Before hitting it big as a movie star he often trained with the martial arts world's biggest stars, many of whom would latter become celebrities in their own right, such as world karate champion Chuck Norris. Despite rumors and reports to the contrary, Lee was never Norris's instructor. They trained together, often trading techniques and ideas, but never had a student-teacher relationship.
One of his martial arts students was James Bond star George Lazenby.
In his first and only meeting with Enter the Dragon (1973) composer Lalo Schifrin, Bruce told him that he often trains to the Mission: Impossible (1966) theme.
Mastered a technique called "The One-Inch Punch", in which he could deliver a devastating blow yet have his fist travel the distance of one mere inch (2.54 cm) before striking an opponent.
His first major U.S. project was the role of Kato in the television series The Green Hornet (1966). He joked that he got this role because he was the only Oriental actor who could properly pronounce the lead character's name: "Britt Reid".
Mortal Kombat character "Liu Kang" was inspired by him, complete with the characteristic animal noises.
When Elvis Presley's and Ed Parker's unfinished martial arts film "New Gladiators" was found in 2003, there was 20 minutes of Lee's demonstration at a martial arts display in the mid-1960s found along with it.
Is often honored in video games. In "Mortal Kombat" games, the character Liu Kang was an obvious tribute to Lee. Then, in Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (1993), a character named Fei Long was introduced bearing an uncanny resemblance in both looks and fighting style to Lee. A lesser game, World Heroes (1992), also copied Lee as Kim Dragon. Lastly, the "Tekken" games did the tribute to him not once, but twice. First with Marshall Law, then with his son Forrest Law for the third installment of Tekken. Along with this, his fighting style was honored in Virtua Fighter PC (1993) with Jacky Bryant, in Dead or Alive (1996) with Jann Lee and in the "Soul Calibur" series as Maxi.
Has a statue placed in the country Bosnia. After many years of war and religious splits, Lee's figure is to commend his work, to successfully bridge culture gaps in the world. [September 2004]
His father, Hoi-Chuen Lee (b. February 1901, died February 8, 1965) was a popular stage actor and died 8 days after Brandon Lee was born.
Lee was trained by Yip Man from 1954-1957 & Wong Shun-Leung from 1957-1958.
Defeated British boxer Gary Elms by knockout in the third round in the 1958 Hong Kong amateur boxing championships by using Wing Chun traps and high/low-level straight punches. Before he met Elms in the finals, he knocked out three boxers in the first round. Hawkings Cheung, his fellow Wing Chun street fighter, witnessed the event.
Lee knocked out Wong Jack-Man in Oakland, CA, in a 1965 no-holds-barred challenge match. It was Lee's last official fight. It lasted three minutes.
Lee knocked-out Chung, a Choy Li Fut fighter, in Hong Kong in a 1958 Full-Contact match. The match was refereed by Sheun-Leung Wong.
Lee knocked out Uechi in 10 seconds in a 1962 Full-Contact match in Seattle. It was refereed by Jesse Glover.
Had four siblings, two sisters and two brothers: Phoebe Lee (b. 1938), Agnes Lee, older brother and fencing champion Peter Lee, and younger brother and musician Jan-Fai Lee. Some sources claim he also had a brother James who died of Black Lung in 1972 but James Yimm Lee was in fact his training partner and not his brother.
Son of Hoi-Chuen Lee
He was a gang leader in his teenage years. The name of his group was known as "The Tigers of Junction Street".
UFC President Dana White considers Bruce Lee as "the father of Mixed Martial Arts".
Alongside Muhammad Ali, Lee is cited as a major influence by many K-1 and MMA champions: Bas Rutten, Jose "Pele' Landi-Jons, Wanderlei Silva, 'Emilianenko Fedor', Norifumi "Kid' Yamamoto, Rob Kaman, Ramon Dekkers, Frank Shamrock, Murilo Rua, Maurício Rua, 'Jerome Le Banner', 'Carlos Newton', Remy Bonjasky, Jeremy Horn, David Loiseau and Tito Ortiz, among others.
To mark the occasion of what would have been Lee's 65th birthday (27 November 2005), a bronze statue of a topless Bruce adopting a martial arts stance was unveiled in Hong Kong, effectively kicking off a week-long Bruce Lee festival.
In the popular Nintendo game series, Pokémon, the fighting type monster Hitmonlee is based on Lee.
According to Hong Kong stuntman Phillip Ko, Lee was challenged by a tiger/crane kung fu stylist, an extra on Enter the Dragon (1973), who claimed Lee was a phony. Lee, who was furious at the claim, accepted the challenge to prove that his martial arts were indeed the real deal. The fight, which took place on the film set, only lasted 30 seconds, with Bruce pummeling his challenger with a series of straight punches to the face, low-line kicks to his shins/knees/thighs and finally ended with the guy being smashed to the wall with his hair pulled and his arms trapped by Bruce. After Lee forced the kung fu stylist to submit, he showed some class by telling him to go back to work instead of firing him. This fight was witnessed by the film's producer, Fred Weintraub, and Robert Wall.
There is a character in the anime and manga Shaman King that is very heavily based on him. Also a character inspired by a Lee-like character appeared in the Yugioh manga.
Chosen by Goldsea Asian American Daily as one of the "100 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time". (ranked #2).
Once performed a kick so fast it had be slowed down by editors for fear it would look like it was sped up.
Was capable of doing push ups with a 250-pound man on his back and could do push-ups with only one finger.
Was only 160 pounds at his heaviest.
Bollywood made a song for him as a tribute: "Lets dance for the great guy Bruce Lee", composed by Bappi Lahiri and from the movie Morchha (1980).
Bruce Lee was voted as the Greatest Movie Fighter Ever in 2014 by the Houston Boxing Hall Of Fame. The HBHOF is a combat sports voting body composed exclusively of current and former fighters and Martial Artists.
In 1972, Bruce Lee's star was rising faster than anybody could have imagined. In the midst of all this, Little Unicorn, Lee's long time confidant was offered a leading role. Lee offered assistance to the man who helped him get back into the Hong Kong film business. The result was Fist of Unicorn (1973), the only film outside his own that Bruce Lee would action-direct and help promote. Apart from Unicorn, there are many co-stars from Lee's films that also appear in this film.
He was originally going to star in The Dragon Flies (1975). After his death, the role went to Jimmy Wang Yu.
He turned down the lead role in A Man Called Tiger (1973) in order to make The Way of the Dragon (1972). His role was given to Jimmy Wu.
Legend has i that he came up with the concept for Kung Fu (1972) and was going to star in it. However, the network got cold feet about casting an Asian actor in the lead role and it went to David Carradine. But according to the producers, although Lee was consulted and was considered for the role, they created the concept and Carradine was always their first choice. Lee was very upset about this, especially considering that Carradine had no martial arts training.
He co-wrote Circle of Iron (1978) with James Coburn with the intent of starring in it. He even met with Roman Polanski in Switzerland in the hopes that he'd direct. After his death, his roles were given to David Carradine.
He was originally set to co-star with George Lazenby in Stoner (1974) before his death. The original marketing and tagline of the film was going to be "It's Lee, It's Lazenby, It's Bruce vs. Bond".
Pallbearers at his funeral on July 25, 1973 included Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Chuck Norris, George Lazenby, Dan Inosanto, Peter Chin, Taky Kimura, and Lee's brother Robert.
Jackie Chan has said that being accidentally struck in the face with nun chucks by Lee while filming Enter the Dragon (1973) is still one of the most painful injuries he's faced in his career.
Lee felt that many martial artists of his time did not spend enough time on physical conditioning. Lee included all elements of total fitness - muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility - as part of his workout routines. He also employed traditional bodybuilding techniques.
Lee, upon claiming that he invented a new martial art, was pitted against a former karate champion in an attempt to prove his claims. Lee, unfazed, claimed that not only would he defeat the challenger, but he would do so within one minute. He did it in 58 seconds.
Despite his incredible martial arts skills, he was known for possessing a personal collection of firearms for self-defense purposes, and even a couple of his martial arts movies have his character requesting to use a gun. One of the reasons he agreed to star in Enter the Dragon (1973) was that he believed he'd get to use a gun at one point and he was disappointed at not being able to.
He was a huge soap opera fan and it was said that missing an episode of General Hospital (1963) could leave him upset for days.
Bruce Lee's character was shot with a prop gun by Stick the Assassin (Mel Novak) during a take in the film Game of Death. Tragically, this scene would prove to be a premonition of the death of Lee's son, Brandon Lee, who was killed on the set of The Crow, when a prop pistol accidentally shot him in the abdomen two decades later.
The first hint of stardom, came when the martial artist returned to Hong Kong in 1971. The "Green Hornet" TV show was being shown around the country and so Bruce Lee was being recognized for his role as Kato.
Often, Bruce Lee was the martial arts student as well as the teacher. Wrestler and Ju-Jutsi black belt Gene Le Bell taught Bruce Lee various moves in wrestling and grappling. In return, Le Bell was taught Kung Fu.
Was respected by fellow martial artists Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris and Bob Wall among others.
Openly criticized the traditional martial art systems, dismissing them as being worthless and impractical in a full contact situation. These comments were greeted with anger and resentment by those within the martial arts communities.
When involved in sparring sessions, Bruce Lee preferred them to be full contact.
After studying a few forms of Kung Fu, Bruce Lee would spend the rest of his life in acquiring and learning different techniques from various styles of martial arts. These included kickboxing, Western boxing, fencing, Karate, Judo, wrestling and some Tae Kwan Do.
Sharon Tate was given instruction on a movie by Bruce. Jay Sebring was a student of Bruce. Both, were victims of the Manson Family Murders on August 9, 1969.
Bruce lee moved so fast that the footage of his fight scenes would have to be slowed down so that he could actually be seen.