Bruce Lee: Legendary Chinese American Martial Artist

Bruce Lee is a staple name when it comes to martial arts. He is one of the most popular experts in the field. Bruce Lee became a film icon who made martial arts films very popular which influenced North American and European cinema. Get to know more behind the legendary Bruce Lee before he made his way into the limelight.

Lee Jun Fan (Chinese name) was born in San Francisco, California in November 1940. This was at the time his father Lee Hoi Chuen, who was a Chinese opera star and a part-time actor, was on a tour in the United States. Bruce Lee grew up in Hong Kong despite being born in America. At the early age of 5, Bruce has already made appearances in Chinese films such as The Birth of Mankind and Fu gui fi yun.

He pursued martial arts because he was beaten up by a street gang. Bruce went into training under the tutelage of Sifu Yip Man. He has even studied dancing along with training in the Wing Chun style of kung fu. By 1958, he won the Hong Kong cha-cha championship. Bruce was sent to live in America when he turned 18 because his parents were alarmed of his street fighting and some involvements with the police.

Bruce Lee with Sifu Yip Man 

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

After some time, he made it to Seattle where he studied philosophy as well as practiced his kung fu. By 1963, he had met his wife Linda Cadwell. In the 1960s, Bruce Lee appeared as a guest at significant martial arts events. One of these events had led him to meet Jay Sebring who is a Hollywood hair stylist that bridged him to William Dozier who is a television producer. Dozier was looking for an actor that can bring Green Hornet’s sidekick (Kato) to life in which Bruce was successfully casted. Unfortunately, The Green Hornet was canceled which became a challenge for Bruce Lee in searching for jobs.

Bruce Lee (right) as Kato on the Green Hornet 

Photo Courtesy of Newsweek

In 1971, he went back to Hong Kong and landed roles in films that made box-office records. Eventually, Bruce managed to have more achievements in America with Fists of Fury and Jing wu men. He then created his very own production company which produced the film Return of the Dragon. The next film he starred in was a pivotal point in his career which was Way of the Dragon with seven-time U.S. karate champion Chuck Norris. The said film earned more than $200 million. This propelled Bruce Lee to be an international star.

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon

Photo Courtesy of Screen Rant

As Bruce Lee was involved in the film entitled Game of Death, a tragedy had occurred. He had experienced a headache and took a medicine called Equagesic. This resulted in his death due to an allergic reaction to the said medicine. Numerous fans were saddened by his untimely passing. Thousands of fans went to his funeral.

Bruce Lee’s films attracted a huge following after his death and he became one of the most popular pop culture icons of the 20th century. It is without a doubt that Bruce Lee’s legacy in martial arts and cinema will forever be remembered by many.


Written by Jan Marbella

Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University DasmariƱas.


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item Bruce Lee: Legendary Chinese American Martial Artist
Bruce Lee: Legendary Chinese American Martial Artist
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