Bruce Lee (27 Nov 1940 – 20 Jul 1973)
BIOGRAPHIES, 21 Nov 2022
Bruce Lee was a revered martial artist, actor and filmmaker known for movies like ‘Fists of Fury’ and ‘Enter the Dragon,’ and the technique Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California. He was a child actor in Hong Kong who later returned to the U.S. and taught martial arts. He starred in the TV series The Green Hornet (1966-67) and became a major box office draw in The Chinese Connection and Fists of Fury. Shortly before the release of his film Enter the Dragon, he died at the age of 32 on July 20, 1973.
Background and Early Career
Iconic actor, director and martial-arts expert Bruce Lee was born Lee Jun Fan on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California, in both the hour and year of the Dragon. His father, Lee Hoi Chuen, a Hong Kong opera singer, moved with his wife, Grace Ho, and three children to the United States in 1939; Hoi Chuen’s fourth child, a son, was born while he was on tour in San Francisco.
Lee received the name “Bruce” from a nurse at his birthing hospital, and his family never used the name during his preschool years. The future star appeared in his first film at the age of 3 months, when he served as the stand-in for an American baby in Golden Gate Girl (1941).
In the early 1940s, the Lees moved back to Hong Kong, then occupied by the Japanese. Apparently a natural in front of the camera, Bruce Lee appeared in roughly 20 films as a child actor, beginning in 1946. He also studied dance, winning Hong Kong’s cha-cha competition, and would become known for his poetry as well.
As a teenager, he was taunted by British students for his Chinese background and later joined a street gang. In 1953, he began to hone his passions into a discipline, studying kung fu (referred to as “gung fu” in Cantonese) under the tutelage of Master Yip Man. By the end of the decade, Lee moved back to the U.S. to live with family friends outside Seattle, Washington, initially taking up work as a dance instructor.
Lee finished high school in Edison, Washington, and subsequently enrolled as a philosophy major at the University of Washington. He also got a job teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts that he had learned in Hong Kong to his fellow students and others. Through his teaching, Lee met Linda Emery, whom he married in 1964. By that time, Lee had opened his own martial-arts school in Seattle.
He and Linda soon moved to California, where Lee opened two more schools in Oakland and Los Angeles. He taught mostly a style he called Jeet Kune Do, or “The Way of the Intercepting Fist.” Lee was said to have deeply loved being an instructor and treated his students like a clan, ultimately choosing the world of cinema as a career so as not to unduly commercialize teaching.
Lee and Linda also expanded their immediate family, having two children — Brandon, born in 1965, and Shannon, born in 1969.
Tags: Art, Biography, Bruce Lee, History
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Nov 2022.
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