"Bruce Lee is, not was but is, the greatest there was, will be or has been
in the world of martial arts. He was not only an innovator in the world of
martial arts but he was philosopher, writer and true leader. He will
forever be a staple not only in martial arts but popular culture as a
whole as his impact will transcend through many generations as there will
never be another Bruce Lee, not today not in 100 years, we were fortunate
to have him in our lifetime" Louis Velazquez - Founder Karate Kidz Online
THE BRUCE LEE STORY
On the morning of November 27, 1940 (in the Chinese year of the Dragon), Lee Jun
Fan was born in San Francisco. The mother, Grace had not planned on an American
name, and the father, at the time, was performing a popular Chinese opera in New
York. So it was one of the Hospital employee who thought of the name Bruce. The
mother concurred and from then on it was Bruce Lee. A legend was born. Shortly
afterward, the family returned to Hong Kong.
Bruce's Hong Kong film career began when he was only six years old. The director
of his father's latest film saw him on the set and was so impressed that he
offered him a part in his father's film. This was the beginning, leading to over
twenty motion picture roles and steadily increasing popularity among Hong Kong
Bruce started training in the martial arts mainly to overcome his fear of being
humiliated in a street fight. As a teenager he began to get into more and more
fights for no reason at all. And if he didn't win he was furious. As a result,
under the great master Yip Man's Wing Chun (meaning "beautiful springtime")
teachings, Bruce became a proficient martial artist, not to mention a feared
street fighter. However, Bruce actually had more than one teacher. As time went
by, Bruce grew. His enthusiasm towards martial arts was more apparent. He was
young, energetic and competitive. He soon became acquainted with Wing-chun's
basic Kung Fu. Since he was very clever, Mr Yip loved him very much and taught
him many secret techniques in Win Chun Kung Fu. He became an expert in Wing Chun
When Bruce was about fourteen, he discovered that "dancing" could be a great
deal of fun. He had a real knack for it and rapidly became quite polished, never
lacking eager partners. Much of the balance and footwork became evident in his
later fighting style. His favorite was the Cha Cha, and he spent many hours
practicing extremely complex dance routines. He eventually became the Hong Kong
Cha Cha Champion.
At the age of 19, Bruce was becoming more and more involved in street fighting.
So in 1959 his parents decide to sent him to live with friends in the United
States, Where he would finish high school. While he was staying in Seattle,
Bruce was allowed to live in the restaurant's attic in exchange for his services
as a busboy and waiter. Bruce finished high school and went on to college. By
day he attended the University of Washington and nights he was working in the
restaurant. After a few months of this, he decided that this lifestyle was not
for him. He quit his job at the restaurant and began teaching Kung-fu. At the
age of twenty-two, Bruce authored an extremely unique text which he titled
"CHINESE GUNG-FU: The Philosophical Art of SELF-DEFENSE." This book reflected
his preocupation with spiritual as well as physical development.
Before Bruce finished his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, he meet Linda Emery, a
pretty blonde coed, enrolled in his class and in 1964 they were married. Shortly
afterward, they moved to California. In 1965, Bruce's son, Brandon, was born.
Couples years later his daughter Shannon was born.
CHRONOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY OF BRUCE LEE
1940 - November 27 - San Francisco- In the The Year of the Dragon between 6:00
a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (the hour of the dragon), Lee Jun Fan, Bruce Lee is born at
the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco Chinatown while his father and
mother traveled to the U.S. Lee Hoi Chuen, Bruce's father, was performing with
the Cantonese Opera Company in America. At three months old, Bruce debuts in
"Golden Gate Girl" in San Francisco, CA. He plays role of a female baby, carried
by his father.
1941 (Age 1): Hong Kong - Bruce and his parents return to Kowloon, their family
home. They move to into an apartment at 218 Nathan Road, Kowloon district. The
apartment is located on the second story of a building which contained a store
on the ground level.
1946 (Age 6): Hong Kong - Bruce makes his first major childhood movie in The
Beginning of a Boy. Later this year, he performs in The Birth of Mankind, and My
Son, Ah Cheun. (During the later years of his childhood, Bruce appears in 20
more films in Asia. In these films, Bruce's vivid facial expressions begin to
develop, and they foresha w his future expressions in his famous Kung-Fu movies.
Bruce becomes nearsighted and starts wearing glasses. (He will later start
wearing contacts, suggested to him by a friend who is an optometrist.)
1952 (Age 12): Hong Kong - Bruce begins attending La Salle College.
1953 (Age 13): Hong Kong - After being beaten up by a street gang, Bruce begins
to take Kung-Fu lessons, despite local Hong Kong laws, outlawing street fights.
This is the first, and the last time Bruce looses a fight. He begins to train
under Sifu Yip Man, a master of the wing chun system of Kung-Fu.
1954 (Age 14): Hong Kong - Bruce takes up cha-cha dancing.
1958 (Age 18): Hong Kong - Bruce wins the Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship.
Bruce has a leading role in the film The Orphan. This is the last movie Bruce
makes as a child actor. This is the only movie where Bruce does not fight.
1958 (Age 18): ??? - Bruce enters the 1958 Boxing Championships and defeats the
reigning three year champion, Gary Elms. 1959 (Age 19): Hong Kong - Because of
numerous street fighting, causing police involvement, Bruce's father and mother
decide that Bruce should take a three week voyage to the United States. The trip
is a possible means to get him back on the right track. He return to his
birth-place -- San Francisco Chinatown. Time was also running out for him to
claim his American Citizenship.
1959 (Age 19): San Francisco - Seattle - With $15 from his father, and $100 from
his mother, Bruce arrives in the United States, living with an old friend of his
father. He works odd jobs around the various Chinese communities. Later, he
moves to Seattle to work for Ruby Chow, another friend of his father. He lives
in a room above her restaurant while working as a waiter downstairs. He
eventually enrolls in Edison Technical School and earns his high school diploma.
Bruce begins to teach his Martial Art skills in backyards and city parks. ADULT
1961 - March (Age 21): Seattle- Bruce enrolls at the University of Washington,
studying Philosophy. He teaches Kung-Fu to students at school.
1963 - Summer (Age 23): Hong Kong - Bruce proposes to Amy Sanbo but is turned
down. Bruce returns to Hong Kong with friend Doug Palmer for the first time
since his arrival in the U.S. to visit family. He then returns to Seattle at the
end of summer to continue his education.
1963 - October 25 (Age 23): Seattle - Bruce takes out Linda Emery (his future
wife) for their first date. They have dinner at the Space Needle. Bruce gives
notice to Ruby Chow and leaves her restaurant. He starts the first Jun Fan
Kung-Fu Institute. 1963 - Fall (Age 23): Seattle - Bruce moves his Jun Fan
Kung-Fu Institute into a building (4750 University Way) near the university
campus. He teaches any person of any race. (most Asian Martial Arts schools
would only teach people of their own race)
At Garfield High School, Bruce demonstrates the "One-Inch Punch". This is the
punch he would later make famous at the 64' Long Beach Internationals and which
was developed by him and James DeMile in Seattle. Bruce would hold his arm
straight out, and with a shrug of his shoulder, knock a man straight across the
1964 (Age 24): ??? Bruce meets Jhoon Rhee at the International Karate
Championships. The two would remain good. (Jhoon Rhee will invite Bruce to
Washington, D.C. to appear at tournaments.)
1964 - June (Age 24): ??? - Bruce discusses with James Yimm Lee plans to open a
second Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute in Oakland, CA. 1964 - Summer - Oakland (Age
24): Plans are finalized, and Bruce leaves Seattle to start a second Jun Fan
Kung-Fu school in Oakland. His good friend, Taky Kimura, takes over as head
1964 - August 17 (Age 24): Seattle - Bruce returns to Seattle to marry Linda.
They soon move to Oakland.
1964 - August 2 (Age 24): Long Beach, CA - Ed Parker, known as the Father of
American Karate (Kenpo), invites Bruce to give a demonstration. Bruce shows off
his "one-inch punch," and his two-finger push-ups, where he literally does "two"
finger push-ups. At his first International Karate Championships, Jay Sebring,
the hair stylist for Batman, William dozier, a producer, who is looking to cast
a part in a TV series he was developing. Sebring then gives a film of Bruce's
demo to Dozier who is impressed at Bruce's super-human abilities. Bruce later
flies down to Los Angeles for a screen test.
1964 - August 4 (Age 24): Oakland - Bruce leaves for Seattle. He will propose to
1965 (Age 24): Oakland - Several months after he begins teaching, he is
challenged by, Wong Jack Man, a leading Kung-Fu practitioner in the Chinatown
Community. They agree: If Bruce looses, he will, either close his school, or
stop teaching Caucasians; and if Jack looses, he will stop teaching. Jack Man
Wong does not belie Bruce would actually fight, and tries to delay the match.
Bruce becomes angered and insists that they not wait. Wong then tries to put
limitations on techniques. Bruce refuses "rules"and the two go no holds barred.
Bruce begins to pound his opponent in only a couple of seconds. As Bruce is
winning, Wong attempts to flee, but is caught by Bruce. Bruce begins to beat him
on the ground. Students of the other teacher attempted to step in and help their
teacher, James Lee, Bruce's good friend prevent this. Later he is bothered on
why the fight took so long and begins to re-evaluate his style. He is determined
that he is not in his top physical condition. Thus, the early concepts of Jeet
Kune Do (JKD), "The art of the intercepting fist" is created. JKD is an art
including techniques of all types of fighting. (i.e. American Boxing, Thai Kick
Boxing, Japanese Karate, etc.) His style is no style. Bruce is signed to a
one-year option for The Green Hornet. He is paid an $1800 retainer.
1965 - February 1 (Age 25): Oakland, CA - Brandon Bruce Lee is born. 1965 -
February 8 (Age 25): Hong Kong - Bruce's father passes away in Hong Kong. Bruce
returns to Hong Kong for his fathers funeral. As tradition dictates, in order to
obtain forgiveness for not being present when his father died, Bruce crawls on
his knees across the floor of the funeral home towards the casket wailing loudly
1965 - May (Age 25): ??? Bruce uses the retainer money from the Green Hornet and
flies himself, Linda, and Brandon back to Hong Kong in order to settle his
father's estate affairs. While in Hong Kong, Bruce takes Brandon to see Yip Man
to persuade Yip to perform on tape. Bruce wants to take the footage back to
Seattle and show his students what the man looks like in action. Yip modestly
1965 - September (Age 25): Seattle - Bruce, Linda, Brandon return to Seattle.
1966 (Age 26): Los Angeles - Bruce and family move to Los Angeles to an
apartment on Wilshire and Gayley in Westwood. This is where he begins working on
a new TV series called The Green Hornet as Kato. The Green Hornet series starts
filming and Bruce is Paid $400 per episode. Bruce buys a 1966 blue Chevy Nova.
Bruce is later known to have gotten the part of Kato because he was the only
person who could accurately pronounce the star's name, Britt Reid. He later
third branch of the Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute in Los Angeles' Chinatown.
1966 - September 9 (Age 26): Los Angeles - The Green Hornet series premiers.
1967-1971 (Age 27-31): Hollywood - During this time, Bruce lands bit parts in
various films and T.V. series. He also gives private lessons for up to $250 an
hour to personalities Steve McQueen, James Coburn, James Garner, Lee Marvin,
Roman Polanski, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Bruce meets Chuck Norris in New York at
the All American Karate Championships in Washington D.C. Chuck fights Joe Lewis
1967 (Age 27): Washington, D.C. - Bruce meets Joe Lewis at The Mayflower Hotel
while both were guests at the 67' National Karate Championships. Joe is
competing in the tournament and Bruce is making special appearances as Kato.
1967 - February (Age 27): Los Angeles - Bruce opens a 3rd school at 628 College
Street, Los Angeles, CA. Dan Inosanto serves as assistant instructor.
1967 - July 14 (Age 27): Los Angeles - The last episode of The Green Hornet
Series shows. The movie is later said to have failed because Bruce, a minor role
became more popular than the main character.
1969 - April 19 (Age 29): Santa Monica, CA Shannon Lee is born.
1969 (Age 29): ??? - A scriptwriter is hired and paid $12K by Stirling
Silliphant and James Coburn to write a script for the Silent Flute. The script
produced is unacceptable, and no other scriptwriter could seen to do the job.
They then decide to write it themselves.
1970 (Age 30): Los Angeles - Bruce injures his sacral nerve and experiences
severe muscle spasms in his back while training. Doctors told him that he would
never kick again. During the months of recovery he starts to document his
training methods and his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. Later after his death, The
Tao of Jeet Kune Do is published by his wife in memory of Bruce Lee.
1970 (Age 30): Hong Kong - Bruce and Brandon fly to Hong Kong and are welcomed
by fans of The Green Hornet Show. Bruce sends Unicorn to talk to Run Run Shaw on
his behalf and inform Shaw that he would be willing to do a movie for him for
$10K. Shaw makes counter-offer of a seven year contract and $2K per film which
Bruce declines. 1971 - February (Age 31): India - Bruce, James Coburn, Stirling
Silliphant fly to India to scout locations for The Silent Flute. They spend one
month searching but are forced to call off the search as Coburn backs out of the
project. This trip gives Bruce the idea for Game of Death, where a fighter,
mastering in several techniques, will go from one level to the next in a temple:
the first level (the level of weaponry), the second level (the level of the nine
degree black belt), and the third level ( "The level of the unknown.")
1971 (Age 31): Hong Kong. - Bruce takes a short trip back to Hong Kong to
arrange for his mother to live in the U.S. Unknowingly to him, he had become a
superstar for The Green Hornet was one of the most popular TV shows in Hong
Kong. Later, he is approached by Raymond Chow, owner of a new production
offered the lead role in a new film called The Big Boss. Bruce accepts. Bruce is
supplied with small furnished apartment at 2 Man Wan Road - Kowloon, HK. Wu Ngan,
moves in with Bruce and Linda. Later Wu Ngan marries and his new wife moves in
as well. Brandon attends La Salle College. The same school Bruce attended only
15 years before. Bruce is interviewed by Canadian talk show host, Pierre Berton,
for a TV program being filmed in Hong Kong. This is the only on film said to be
in existence. 1971- July (Age 31): Thailand - Filming begins for The Big Boss
(released in the U.S. as Fists of Fury). The Big Boss opens in Hong Kong to
great reviews and mobs of fans. Proceeds to gross more than $3.5 million in
little than three weeks.
1971 - December 7 (Age 31): Hong Kong - Bruce receives telegram, notifying him
that he had not been chosen for the part in the upcoming series, The Warrior.
This series was later released as Kung-Fu, staring David Carradine, who doesn't
know anything about martial arts. (The show aired as ABC-TVs Movie of the Week
on February 21, 1972.)
1972 (Age 32): Hong Kong - Fist of Fury (released in the U.S. as The Chinese
Connection) is released. It grosses more than The Big Boss and further
establishes Bruce as a Hong Kong superstar. Bruce gets a larger budget, a larger
salary, and more power of directing in this film. Bruce begins work on Game of
Death and films several fight scenes including Danny Inosanto and Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar. Bruce appears on Hong Kong's TVB channel for a hurricane disaster
relief benefit. In a demo Bruce performs, he breaks 4 out of 5 boards, one of
which is hanging in the air with a line of string. Brandon even performs and
breaks a board with a sidekick! Bruce helps Unicorn, a fellow actor, by
assisting him for one day and supervises fight action sequences in Unicorn's
film, The Unicorn Palm - Footage of Bruce on the set is used in the movie and
Bruce's name appears in the credits to his surprise causing Bruce to become
angry and make a public announcement denying his endorsement of the film.
Unicorn was advised to get Bruce's name in the credits, so his movie would have
a better chance at being a success.
1972 (Age 32): Rome, Italy - Location shots are made for Bruce's third film The
Way of the Dragon (released in the U.S. as The Return of the Dragon). This time
Bruce gets almost complete control the the movie, which he writes, directs, and
stars in. Chuck Norris is Bruce's adversary in the final fight scene. Again,
this film surpasses all records set by his previous two films. 1972 - December
28 (Age 32): Oakland Bruce's brother, James, dies of "Black Lung."
1973 - February (Age 33): Hong Kong - Bruce gets his chance at American stardom
as filming of Enter the Dragon begins while Game of Death is put on hold. It is
the first-ever production between the U.S. and Hong Kong film industries. On
February 20, Bruce is guest of honor at St. Francis Xavier's school for Sports
1973 (Age 33): Los Angeles - Grace Lee, Bruce's sister, sees Bruce in Los
Angeles, CA. Bruce tells her that he does not expect to live much longer and
that she is not to worry about finances as he will make sure she is provided
for. She rebukes him for talking that way.
1973 - April (Age 33): Hong Kong - Filming of Enter the Dragon is completed.
Bruce is at Golden Harvest Studios in Hong Kong dubbing his voice for "Enter The
Dragon". The air conditioners had been turned off, so the microphones won't pick
them up. The temperature soared. Bruce takes a break looping lines to go to the
bathroom and splash water on his face. In he bathroom, he passes out on the
bathroom floor. He revives twenty minutes later just as assistant sent to find
out what was keeping him walks in and discovers him on the ground. He tries to
conceal his collapse by acting as though he has dropped his glasses on the floor
and is searching for them and is helped up by the assistant. As they are walking
back to the dubbing room, Bruce collapses again and is rushed to a nearby
1973 - July 10 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Bruce Lee is walking through the Golden
Harvest Studios and overhears Lo Wei in a nearby room bad mouthing him. He
confronts Lo Wei who retreats and summons the local police. When the police
arrive Lo Wei falsely accuses Bruce of threatened him with a knife concealed in
his belt buckle. He further insists that Bruce sign a statement that he will not
harm him. Bruce signs the statement to get Lo Wei off his back although Lo Wei
lied to the police and Bruce never had a knife nor threatened to kill him. That
same day, Bruce appears on the Hong Kong TV show, Enjoy Yourself Tonight with
host Ho Sho Shin. Bruce alludes to his problems with director Lo Wei, but does
not mention him by name. Bruce is asked to display his physical prowess and
demonstrates his abilities. Bruce demonstrates a technique and Shin is hurled
across the stage. The show of power causes the press to indite Bruce in the
paper and accuse him of bullying the talk show host though this was not the
1973 - July 16 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Heavy rains fall caused by a typhoon off
the coast of Hong Kong. Bruce makes a $200 phone call to speak to Unicorn in his
hotel room, who is filming a movie in Manila. Bruce tells Unicorn that he is
worried about the many headaches he is experiencing.
1973 - July 18 (Age 33): Hong Kong - A bad Feng Shui deflector, placed on the
roof of Bruce's Cumberland Road home in Hong Kong is blown off the roof by heavy
rain and winds. The deflector had been placed on the house to protect Bruce and
family from bad Feng Shui; previous owners had all been plagued by financial
disaster and it was believed that this was because of the incorrect positioning
of the house. The deflector was to ward off evil spirits.
THE DEATH OF BRUCE LEE
1973 - July 20 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Early in the morning Bruce types a letter
to his attorney, Adrian Marshall, detailing business ventures he wants to
discuss on his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Bruce had tickets already set to
return to the US for a publicity tour and was scheduled to appear on the Johnny
Carson show. Raymond Chow goes by Bruce's house and the two discuss plans for
their upcoming movie Game of Death. Linda kisses Bruce good-bye and says she is
going out to run some errands and will see him later that night. Raymond and
Bruce visit Betty Ting Pei at her apartment to discuss her role in Game of
Death. That evening plans had been made for them all to meet George Lazenby over
dinner and enlist him for a part. Bruce explains that he has a headache, takes a
prescription pain killer offered by Betty, and lies down on her bed to rest
prior to dinner. Raymond Chow departs and says that he will meet them later.
Raymond Chow and George Lazenby meet at a restaurant and await Bruce and Betty's
arrival, but the two never show up. At 9:00 p.m. Chow receives a call from
Betty; she said that she has tried to wake Bruce up but he won't come to. Betty
summons her personal physician who fails to revive Bruce and who has Bruce taken
to the hospital. Bruce does not revive and is pronounced dead. The doctor's are
surprised that he had lasted as long as he did that night but unfortunately
Betty did not get him help as soon as she could have. Bruce Lee dies in Hong
Kong of an apparent cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). After much confusion
and debate, doctors declared the death of Bruce Lee as "death by misadventure."
Enter the Dragon was delayed from its initial premieres by four day because of
the actors death.
1973 - July 25 (Age 33): Hong Kong - A funeral ceremony is held for friends and
fans in Hong Kong consisting of over 25,000 people. Bruce is dressed in the
Chinese outfit he wore in Enter the Dragon.
1973 - July 30 (Age 33): Seattle - After a smaller second ceremony in Seattle,
Washington at Butterworth Funeral Home on East Pine Street, Bruce Lee is buried
at Lake View Cemetery. His pallbearers included Steve McQueen, James Coburn,
Danny Inosanto, Taky Kimura, Peter Chin, and his brother, Robert Lee.
1973 - August 24 Hollywood - Enter The Dragon premiers at Graumann's Chinese
Theater. The movie is a success, and Bruce Lee achieves world-wide fame.