Let’s all take a moment to remember Bruce Lee today. The acclaimed actor and martial artist would have turned 76 years old.
Born in November 1940, Lee was born in Chinatown, San Francisco to parents Lee Hoi-chuen and Grace Ho. The couple brought Lee and his siblings back to Hong Kong shortly after his birthday where they lived an affluent lifestyle. However, Lee became involved in various street fights that prompted his parents to make their son study martial arts.
At 16, Lee began studying the art of Wing Chun, and the boy quickly developed an interest in martial arts. When Lee turned 18, he returned to America and worked in Seattle. During this time, Lee also began teaching martial arts in the United States and became known for his impressive combat skills. Lee and his family then moved to California to pursue martial arts and open his own studies in Oakland.
It was Lee’s talent for acting and martial arts that made him a coveted talent by Hollywood. The actor kicked off his acting career in America to little success, and he grew frustrated when his film The Green Hornet premiered to disappointing results. As such, he moved back to Hong Kong and nabbed his first leading role in 1971’s The Big Boss. The film was a massive hit and launched Lee to stardom, and the hits kept coming. To this day, Lee is still known for his work on films like Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and The Game of Death. Lee’s starring roles in those films altered the ways Asian actors were perceived in media, and they also caused a wave of Western interest in martial arts.
Happy birthday, Bruce. May he rest in peace.