Bruce Lee - The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Icons | November 29, 2016

Bruce Lee, also known as Lee Jun-Fan was born in Chinatown, San Francisco on November 27th, 1940. His family moved back to Hong Kong when he was only 3 months old. Despite Lee's mother being from a wealthy family and his father being a very popular opera singer, the rich neighborhood that he grew up in soon became overcrowded and full of gangs. This led to Bruce being involved in several fights which worried his parents. 

They then decided that he should be trained in martial arts and so he began at the age of 16 in the art of Wing Chun. In 1959, his father decided to send him back to the United States to live with his older sister after getting into another street fight in which the police were called.

After finishing high school and earning his diploma, he enrolled at the University of Washington where he majored in drama. While there, he met his future wife Linda Emery whom he married on August 17th 1964 and later went on to have two children, Brandon and Shannon Lee.

Bruce started teaching martial arts in the same year that he moved back, and after dropping out of school in the spring on 1964, he moved to Oakland to live with James Yimm Lee. Together, they opened the second Jun Fan martial arts studio and in that same year, Lee appeared in the Long Beach International Karate Championship.

Before Lee left Hong Kong, he had been in over 20 movies with his first role at only a few months old. In 1966, he returned to acting in the TV series, The Green Hornet as well as guest starring in other TV shows like Ironside and Blondie. He was also known for choreographing fight scenes for The Wrecking Crew with Chuck Norris; and A Walk in the Spring Rain.

Unhappy with the roles that he was getting in the US, Lee returned to Hong Kong where unbeknownst to him, was a major success despite being aired for only one season. Wit his new found fame, Bruce signed a two-film contract with Golden Harvest. The first movie, The Big Boss, was an enormous box office success across Asia. He then followed with Fist of Fury, which broke the box office record set by The Big Boss. A few months after the completion of Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee passed away. The film would later go on to gross over $200 million worldwide to date.

In July of 1973 while Lee was having a meeting to discuss another movie, he started to complain of a headache. He was given pain meds by an friend then went to take a nap. After failing to go to dinner later that night, producer Raymond Chow went to the apartment and was unable to wake him up. A doctor arrived on the scene and was also unable to wake Lee up. They called an ambulance which brought Lee to the Elizabeth Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The autopsy concluded that his brain had swollen considerably. The acute cerebral edema was due to a reaction caused by different elements in the headache medication.

Bruce Lee left behind a wife and 2 children and an extraordinary legacy. Statues have been built in his honor in both San Francisco and Hong Kong. He was also named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine as well as the Greatest Movie Fighter Ever by the Houston Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Kennita Leon Rose


Kennita's funky style of writing has only blossomed since she discovered her passion for reading. In her downtime, she loves chillaxing with her friends and letting loose. This grown-up flower child, who hails from the Caribbean, can definitely hang with us any time.