Bruce Lee

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Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee (李小龙), best known for his performances in Kung Fu films, was a guru of Chinese martial arts. He was considered a cultural ambassador who developed ancient Chinese martial arts in a way that bridged the gap between Orient and Occident. It was Lee who introduced the phrase “Kung Fu” to a wider Western audience.

Born in San Francisco, on Nov. 27, 1940, Lee appeared in his first film when he was three months old. He moved with his parents to Hong Kong, where he attended the local elementary school. After winning a local cha-cha contest, Lee exchanged dance lessons for Kung Fu lessons with martial artist Shao Hansheng. Lee’s full-time martial art teacher was the legendary Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man.

Belligerent in his adolescence, Lee did poorly academically. Still, his family sent him to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he majored in drama and minored in philosophy and psychology.

In his notes from that period, Lee wrote of his dreams of becoming the world's highest-paid Asian actor. His family could have a happy life, Lee writes, if his net worth reached US$15 million during the 1980s.

Lee organized a Kung Fu team on his campus and practiced martial arts even harder. In addition to Chinese boxing, Lee also practiced the use of a short-long stick, a double truncation stick and Chi Kung. When he was a sophomore, he set up a martial arts club by renting a corner of parking lot in the university. It was there he met with his future wife, Linda Emery. The couple married in August 1964. Both quit school after the wedding to manage the martial arts club.

His club became influential in the ensuing years, with action stars, like world Judo Champion Chuck Norris, joining in. In 1971, Lee was invited by Hong Kong Golden Harvest Entertainment Ltd, to act in the film “The Big Boss.” The film grossed an astonishing HK$ 3.19 million at the box office. Lee then acted in the film “Fist of Fury,” in which he impressed the audience with his fighting abilities. After the success of “Fist of Fury,” Lee established his own film studio, directing and acting in his own movies, including, “The Way of the Dragon” and “The Game of Death.”

On July, 20, 1973, Lee died suddenly in Hong Kong while shooting of “The Game of Death”. He was buried in a cemetery in Seattle.

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