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 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.
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).
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.
In 1953, he began to hone his passions into a discipline, studying kung fu under the tutelage of Master Yip Man.
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.
Lee and Linda also expanded their immediate family, having two children — Brandon, born in 1965, and Shannon, born in 1969.
Lee signed a two-film contract, eventually bringing his family over to Hong Kong as well. The Big Boss, aka Fists of Fury in the U.S., was released in 1971.
By the end of 1972, Lee was a major movie star in Asia. He had co-founded with Raymond Chow his own company, Concord Productions, and had released his first directorial feature, Return of the Dragon.
On July 20, 1973, just one month before the premiere of Enter the Dragon, Lee died in Hong Kong, China, at the age of 32.
The official cause of his sudden and utterly unexpected death was a brain edema, found in an autopsy to have been caused by a strange reaction to a prescription painkiller he was reportedly taking for a back injury.