Bruce Lee

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Bruce Jun Fan Lee (???; pinyin: Li Zhènfan)(27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was a Chinese martial artist, philosopher, instructor, martial arts actor and the founder of the Jeet Kune Do combat form. He was widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the twentieth century and a cultural icon.[1] He was also the father of actor Brandon Lee and of actress Shannon Lee.

Lee was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, and sparked the first major surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong and the rest of the world as well.

Lee became an iconic figure particularly to the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese national pride and Chinese nationalism in his movies.[2] He primarily practiced Chinese martial arts (Kung fu), particularly Wing Chun.

Lee Jun Fan was born in the hour of the dragon, between 7 – 9 a.m., in the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac calendar, November 27, 1940, at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco’s Chinatown.[3] His father, Lee Hoi-Chuen (???), was Chinese, and his Catholic mother, Grace (???), was of German and Chinese ancestry.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Lee and his parents returned to Hong Kong when he was three months old. He was an American citizen by birth[10][11].

At age 19, Lee entered La Salle College and later he attended St. Francis Xavier’s College. In 1959, at the age of 18, Lee got into a fight and badly beat his opponent, getting into trouble with the police.[12] His father became concerned about young Bruce’s safety, and as a result, he and his wife decided to send Bruce to the United States to live with an old friend of his father’s. Lee left with $100 in his pocket and the titles of 1958 Boxing Champion and the Crown Colony Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong.[3] He relocated to the United States through his citizenship to earn an education. After living in San Francisco, he moved to Seattle to work for Ruby Chow, another friend of his father’s. In 1959, Lee completed his high school education in Seattle and received his diploma from Edison Technical School. He enrolled at the University of Washington and studied philosophy, drama , and psychology, among other subjects.[13][14][15] It was at the University of Washington that he met his future wife Linda Emery, whom he would marry in 1964.

He had two children with Linda, Brandon Lee (1965–1993) and Shannon Lee (1969-). Brandon, who also became an actor like his father, died in an accident during the filming of The Crow in 1993. Shannon Lee also became an actress and appeared in some low-budget films starting in the mid 1990s, but has since quit acting.