- NAME: Bruce Lee
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Martial Arts Expert
- BIRTH DATE: November 27, 1940
- DEATH DATE: July 20, 1973
- EDUCATION: University of Washington
- PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
- PLACE OF DEATH: Hong Kong, China
- AKA: Li Jun Fan
- AKA: Bruce Jun Fan Lee
- AKA: Bruce Lee
- Full Name: Lee Jun Fan
- AKA: Jun Fan Lee
- AKA: Jun Fan Li
Best Known For
Bruce Lee was a revered martial artist, actor and filmmaker known for movies like Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon as well as the technique Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee - Mini Biography (4:11)
A short biography of the rise and tragic fall of Bruce Lee.
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Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California. He was a child actor in Hong Kong who later returned to the U.S. and taught martial arts. He starred in the TV series The Green Hornet (1966-67) and became a major box office draw in The Chinese Connection and Fists of Fury. Shortly before the release of his film Enter the Dragon, he died at the age of 32 on July 20, 1973.
"The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups."
"The core of understanding lies in the individual mind and until that is touched, everything is uncertain and superficial. Truth can not be perceived until we come to fully understand our potential selves. After all, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge."
"A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard."
"There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there—you must go beyond them."
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
"The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."
"As you think, so shall you become."
"Knowledge will give you power, but character respect."
"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of."
"There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself, but not until then!"
"Be a practical dreamer backed by action."
"Never waste energy on worries or negative thoughts, all problems are brought into existence—drop them."
"Real living is living for others."
"Learning is never cumulative; it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end."
"The measure of the moral worth of a man is his happiness. The better the man, the more the happiness. Happiness is the synonym of well-being."
Iconic actor, director and martial-arts expert 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.
Lee received the name "Bruce" from a nurse at his birthing hospital, and his family never used the name during his pre-school years. 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).
In the early 1940s, the Lees moved back to Hong Kong, then occupied by the Japanese. Apparently a natural in front of the camera, Bruce 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.
As a teenager, he was taunted by British students for his Chinese background and later joined a street gang. In 1953, he began to hone his passions into a discipline, studying kung fu (referred to as "gung fu" in Cantonese) under the tutelage of Master Yip Man. By the end of the decade, Lee moved back to the U.S. to live with family friends outside Seattle, Washington, initially taking up work as a dance instructor.
Lee finished high school in Edison, Washington, and subsequently enrolled as a philosophy major at the University of Washington. He also got a job teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts that he had learned in Hong Kong to his fellow students and others. Through his teaching, 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. He taught mostly a style he called Jeet Kune Do, or "The Way of the Intercepting Fist." Lee was said to have deeply loved being an instructor and treated his students like clan, ultimately choosing the world of cinema as a career so as not to unduly commercialize teaching.
Lee and Linda also expanded their immediate family, having two children--Brandon, born in 1965, and Shannon, born in 1969.
Lee gained a measure of celebrity with his role in the television series The Green Hornet, which aired in 26 episodes from 1966 to '67. In the show, which was based on a 1930s radio program, the wiry Lee displayed his acrobatic and theatrical fighting style as the Hornet's sidekick, Kato.
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