Bruce Lee would be 80 today: the story of his life and untimely death
Bruce Lee is a true legend of cinema. Born on November 27, 1940, he would have been 80 years old now. Sadly, the actor died at a young age. This is the story of his life.
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 in San Francisco's Chinatown. According to the Chinese calendar, his birth coincides with the year of the dragon. Its original name was Lee Jun-Fan.
At only two months old, Bruce Lee appeared for the first time on television, in the series 'Tears of San Francisco'. His parents were active in the local art scene. Bruce Lee's father was an actor and singer in Cantonese opera.
When he was young, Bruce Lee's family moved to Hong Kong. There he began attending a martial arts school.
In Hong Kong, Bruce Lee started practicing Tai Chi with his father. Later, he immersed himself in the Wing Chung style thanks to master Ip Man, who also taught him some things about philosophy.
When he was 18, Bruce Lee returned to the United States to obtain U.S. citizenship. Influenced by his teacher Ip Man, Bruce Lee went to study philosophy at the University of Washington in Seattle.
To pay for college, Bruce Lee worked as a kitchen assistant in a Chinese restaurant. Later, he began teaching Kung-fu to his university classmates.
As a Kung-fu teacher, Bruce Lee developed his own fighting style, known as Jeet Kune Do or 'the way of the interceptor fist'.
During Kung-fu classes, Bruce Lee met Linda Cadwell. They had a long-distance relationship because Bruce Lee had to move to Oakland, California to continue studying. In 1963, they married, and two years later they had their first child, Brandon Lee. In 1969, their daughter Shannon Lee was born.
In the early 1960s, Bruce Lee decided to create his own martial arts school in Seattle, the Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute. Later, he opened two more schools, one in Oakland and one in Los Angeles.
Bruce Lee had a particular way of teaching martial arts classes. He wanted as few people as possible in his classes, since he felt the classes should be some sort of personal training.
In 1964, Bruce Lee participated in a tournament organized by Ed Parker, the founder of Kempo Karate in the United States. In this championship, he surprised the public with his incredible movements. Among these were the push-ups that Bruce did with only two fingers, and the side kicks with which he could knock down opponents double his weight.
Among the audience of this championship was television producer William Dozier, who became interested in Lee's skills. From that moment on, Dozier got him some castings and also offered him classes in drama and acting.
In February 1966, Bruce Lee was hired to play Kato in the series 'The Green Hornet', in which he acted alongside actor Van Williams. Thanks to this series, Bruce Lee showed the Western world a new wrestling technique. In 1969, he appeared for the first time in an American film, 'Marlowe'.
In early 1971, Bruce Lee tried to enter the TV industry and proposed the series 'The Warrior' to two big producers. They rejected it. Then, Warner Brothers accepted the idea, but not the way Bruce had imagined it. The studio renamed the series 'Kung-Fu' and chose actor David Carradine instead of Bruce Lee himself for its main role.
Bruce Lee only participated in a total of five films during his lifetime. Although they may seem few, with these five productions Bruce Lee managed to consolidate his cinematographic career and create a legend around him.
In 1972, Bruce Lee wrote scripts, co-produced, directed and starred in the film 'The Way Of The Dragon'. In this movie, which was shot in Rome, Bruce Lee appeared on stage with Chuck Norris.
The last film he shot was 'Enter the dragon', which ended two weeks before his death. It was released six days after his death.
On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died suddenly at the age of 32. According to the doctors, the death was caused by cerebral edema caused by an allergic reaction to a pain medication. Several conspiracy theories pointed to Bruce Lee's death as murder (perhaps committed by the Chinese mafia triads) or a curse.
His funeral brought together thousands of people who wanted to pay tribute to Bruce Lee. He was buried in Seattle's Lakeview cemetery, dressed in traditional Chinese costume. Twenty years later, his son Brandon Lee would die of a gunshot while shooting a movie. He would be buried next to his father.
Bruce Lee left a great legacy behind him thanks to his successful films and his philosophy of life. In fact, thanks to $100,000 raised from his fans, a 2.5 metre bronze statue was built in Hong Kong to pay tribute to him.
These are the shoes Bruce Lee wore for the movie 'Game of Death,' which he had planned to finish after 'Enter the Dragon.' The movie never completely finished filming but was eventually shown in cinemas in 1978. The Adidas sneakers have been up for auction.
When Quentin Tarantino's film came out in 2019, with a small role for Bruce Lee, his daughter Shannon Lee was very angry with Tarantino. She said his portrayal was shallow and made the legend seem like a bully.
Shannon Lee wants to make sure that many generations remember her father as the sensitive, philosophical man he was.
Bruce Lee not only stood out as an actor and martial arts fighter, but also as a philosopher. He was drawn to the thoughts of philosophers like Hegel or Marx.
Bruce Lee liked to write daily goals and long-term objectives in his personal journal for self-motivation. Among these goals was "to be America's first highest-paid Eastern superstar."
One of his most famous quotes: "Be water, my friend."