Martial Art Icon Bruce Lee’s Biography

Bruce Lee (1940-1973)

Bruce Lee, the legendary film icon ruling from Hong Kong to Hollywood, was an extraordinary actor who with his martial art skills and acting talent, managed to won the hearts of millions around the world. Within his very short film career, Bruce Lee created everlasting impact on audience through films like ‘Fist of Fury’ or ‘Enter the Dragon’.

Early Life

Bruce Lee was born on 27 November 1940 in San Fransisco. His family name was Lee Jun-fan. His father Lee Hoi Chuen was an opera singer in Hong Kong. He with his wife and children shifted to United States in 1939.

Bruce Lee as a child actor in ‘The Kid’ (1950)

But in the early 1940s, the Lee family returned back to Hong Kong. Bruce Lee, who had a natural talent for acting, worked there as a child artist in around 20 films starting from 1946. Later Lee started to learn dancing and even won a local Cha-Cha championship. Lee showed his talent in poem writing too.

At the age of 16, Bruce Lee enrolled himself in kung fu training under the legendary Master Yip Man. However Lee choosed to learn kung fu to get advantage over the rival teenage gangs in his locality. But as his fights against those teens kept growing day by day, Lee’s father became anxious about him and decided to send his son to United States. In 1959, Bruce Lee once again put his feet in US.

There Bruce Lee finished his schooling in Edison, Washington. Later he studied philosophy in the University of Washington. After completing his studies, Bruce Lee joined in a local martial art school as a trainer. There he met Linda Emery. The couple get married in 1964. Within this period, Bruce Lee opened his own school of martial art in Seattle.

Bruce Lee at the age of 18 with the legendary martial art trainer Ip Man

Lee later moved to California with Linda. There he opened two more martial art schools in Oakland and Los Angeles.

In 1965, Brandon, the first child of Bruce Lee and Linda Emery was born. They welcomed their second child Shanon in 1969.

In 1966 and 1967, Bruce Lee acted in a television series called ‘The Green Hornet’. There as the sidekick role of the lead character, Lee showed his unique fighting skills. He continued to work in some more minor roles in other television shows in next 2 years.

Bruce Lee got his first film role in the 1969 movie ‘Marlowe’. In this detective movie too, Lee had to satisfy himself in a small character. After appearing in few more movies like this in later months, Bruce Lee returned back to Hong Kong in 1971.

Upon getting back to Hong Kong, with the experience of working in multiple Hollywood projects by then, Bruce Lee started getting major offers for films there. He signed two movies having the lead characters for the first time.

In 1971 the first movie ‘The Big Boss’ was released. Not only in Hong Kong, the film got a grand success in entire Asian market. Bruce Lee overnight became a star through this. Next year, the second film ‘Fist of Fury’ was released. It broke the records of the first film and became one of the mega hits in Bruce Lee’s career. The film strengthened Lee’s position in the industry further.

Later Bruce Lee opened his own production house jointly with Hong Kong’s note film producer Raymond Chow. In 1972, two more films of Bruce Lee ‘The way of the Dragon’ and ‘The Game of Death’ were released. Both were hits as well.

Bruce Lee in his iconic film ‘Enter the Dragon’ (1973)

At the same year, production of ‘Enter the Dragon’, considered by many as the best movie in Bruce Lee’s filmography, began. It was the first joint venture of Hollywood and Hong Kong. Along with Lee, the film was starred by other American and Hong Kong actors like John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Shih Kain.

Just a week before the initial release date of ‘Enter the Dragon’, the world became shocked by the news of Bruce Lee’s sudden death. He was just 32.

‘Enter the Dragon’ was released after a month of the previous date. The film got phenomenal success throughout the globe. Combining the emotion for late Lee, being the first Hong Kong, Hollywood joint project and having a great storyline with an excellent making, the film created history by earning $350 million worldwide.


Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong in 20 July 1973 at the age of only 32. His viscera report showed that the medicine Lee took for reducing pain affected and eventually deactivated his brain causing the death.

Days later, Linda Emery brought her husband’s body back to United States. Lee’s funeral was held in Seattle on 25 July. Later in the Lake View cemetery, Bruce Lee, one of the greatest action heroes of all time was laid in rest for ever.