For any lover of martial arts, films like Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury are films they keep on going back to over and over again. The founder of the hybrid martial arts philosophy Jeet Kune Do, which led to the formation of modern mixed martial arts (MMA), Lee Juan-fan, who is better known as the famed martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, was born on November 27, 1980. Considered to be the most influential martial artist of all times, he is also credited with altering the way in which Asians were presented in Hollywood. He passed away on July 20, 1973 at the age of 32.
On his 79th birth anniversary, here's looking at a few interesting facts about the martial artist:
He was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen and was born in the Chinatown area of San Francisco, California. The family returned to Hong Kong when Lee was three months old.
-- Lee's first tryst with cinema was as a baby who was carried onto the stage in the film Golden Gate Girl. His first proper role was as a nine-year-old, when he co-starred with his father in The Kid in 1950. By the age of 18, he had already appeared in 20 films.
-- Lee's first martial arts teacher was his father, from whom he learned the fundamentals of Wu-style t'ai chi ch'uan.
-- Lee began training in Wing Chun when he was 16 years old under the Wing Chun teacher Yip Man in between late 1956 and 1957. However, he was met with opposition when his classmates got to know that he had mixed ancestry.
-- He did five feature-length martial arts films in the early 1970s. These include Lo Wei's 1971 film The Big Boss and then 1972 venture Fist of Fury. He also was the leading man in Golden Harvest's 1972 film Way of the Dragon which was directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers' 1973 film Enter the Dragon and the 1978 film The Game of Death.
-- Lee first role as a leading man was for the 1971 film The Big Boss which catapulted him to stardom.
-- He married Linda Emery in August 1964 and had two children with her, Brandon and Shannon Lee.
-- Unfortunately, Brandon Lee too died young from an accident on the sets of a film when he was 28.
-- Lee also studied drama and Asian and Western philosophy while a student at the University of Washington and throughout his life.
-- Aside from martial arts and philosophy, Lee also wrote poetry that reflected his emotion and a stage in his life.
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