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 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 preschool 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.

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 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 a clan ultimately choosing the world of cinema as a career so as not to unduly commercialize teaching.

He 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. 

He went on to make guest appearances in such TV shows as Ironside and Longstreet while a notable film role came in 1969's Marlowe starring James Garner as the notable detective created by Raymond Chandler. Lee who was devoted to a variety of workouts and physical training activities suffered a major back injury that he gradually recovered from taking time for self care and writing.

He also came up with the idea that became the basis for the Buddhist monk TV series Kung Fu however David Carradine would get the starring role initially slated for Lee due to the belief that an Asian actor wouldn't pull in audiences as the lead. Confronted with a dearth of meaty roles and the prevalence of stereotypes regarding Asian performers Lee left Los Angeles for Hong Kong in the summer of 1971.

Lee signed a two film contract eventually bringing his family over to Hong Kong as well. Fists of Fury was released in late 1971 featuring Lee as a vengeful fighter chasing the villains who had killed his kung fu master. Combining his smooth Jeet Kune Do athleticism with the high energy theatrics of his performance in The Green Hornet, Lee was the charismatic center of the film which set new box office records in Hong Kong.

Those records were broken by Lee's next film The Chinese Connection which like Fists of Fury received poor reviews from critics upon the U.S. release. By the end of 1972 Lee was a major movie star in Asia.

He had co founded with Raymond Chow his own company Concord Productions and had released his first directorial feature Return of the Dragon. Though he had not yet gained stardom in America he was poised on the brink with his first major Hollywood project Enter the Dragon.

On July 20, 1973 just one month before the premiere of Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong, China at the age of 32. The official cause of his sudden and utterly unexpected death was a brain edema found in an autopsy to have been caused by a strange reaction to a prescription painkiller he was reportedly taking for a back injury.

Controversy surrounded Lee's death from the beginning as some claimed he had been murdered. There was also the belief that he might have been cursed a conclusion driven by Lee's obsession with his own early death. More rumors of the so called curse circulated in 1993 when Brandon Lee was killed under mysterious circumstances during the filming of The Crow. 

The 28 year old actor was fatally shot with a gun that supposedly contained blanks but somehow had a live round lodged deep within its barrel.

With the release of Enter the Dragon, Lee's status as a film icon was confirmed. The film said to have a budget of $1 million went on to gross more than $200 million. Lee's legacy helped pave the way for broader depictions of Asian Americans in cinema and created a whole new breed of action hero a mold filled with varying degrees of success by actors like Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Jackie Chan.

Lee's life has been depicted in the 1993 film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story based on the 1975 Linda Lee memoir Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew and the 2009 documentary How Bruce Lee Changed the World. And in the summer of 2013, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum opened the exhibition "Bruce Lee: Kung Fu. Art. Life." Lee's legacy as a premier martial artist continues to be revered as well. Daughter Shannon Lee was largely involved in the 2011 update of her father's instructional guide Tao of Jeet Kune Do. 

Bruce had a shot removed from the Big Boss where he cut into an opponents head with a handheld saw. Apparently he was a terrible driver. Many of Bruce’s American friends have said in interviews in the past that Bruce Lee wasn’t a gifted driver and would occasionally ask his buddy Steve Golden to drive for him because Bruce was near sighted.

His bad eye sight is one of the reasons he appreciated Wing Chun’s contact style of movement because he could rely more on touch than sight. Bruce Lee hoped to one day fight Muhammad Ali.

Bruce thought of Muhammad Ali as a superior fighter with his speed and technicality. He used to watch footage of Ali constantly to learn his style and also adapt some of his footwork and movements for that inevitable fight that would unfortunately never happen.

Bruce beat up Jackie Chan in Enter the Dragon in a scene he grabs him by the hair and snaps his neck. Jackie also did stunts in some of Bruce’s other movies including a fall for the villain in Fist of Fury’s final fight. Bruce was the inspiration behind a lot of big Video Game characters such as Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat, Law from Tekken and Fei Long from Street Fighter II.

Bruce personally trained a number of celebrities including: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, George Lazenby, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Joe Lewis, Roman Polanski, Mike Stone, Chuck Norris (they trained together).
"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."
"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done."
"To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities."
"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at."
"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."
"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."
"Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind."
"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it."
"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own."
"The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."
"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of."
"As you think, so shall you become."
"A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough."
"Knowledge will give you power, but character respect."

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