Bruce Lee was the film industry’s first martial arts hero and a cinematic bridge between the East and West. The Chinese-American martial artist who helped put Hong Kong’s movie industry on the world map died 40 years ago at age 32 from swelling of the brain.
Fans of Lee can take the “Bruce Lee trail” tour around Hong Kong, where the star spent his childhood. Stops include his alma mater, the Bruce Lee Club house, his statue on the Avenue of the Stars, and the monastery featured in his most famous film, “Enter the Dragon”.
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum has opened a five-year Bruce Lee exhibition featuring memorabilia from his life and movies, including his famed yellow jumpsuit.
Lee was born in San Francisco to parents from Hong Kong, and was raised in Kowloon. He moved back to the United States at age 18 to receive his higher education.
He began teaching martial arts in the U.S., and his Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced movies brought a new level of popularity to the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film.
He became a 20th century cultural icon, and his sudden death at such a young age in 1973 came as a shock to his fans around the world.
But his legacy lived on, breaking down barriers for Asian actors in Hollywood, and inspiring a new generation of martial arts actors like Jackie Chan.
“He won his fame from Kung Fu, which does not need language to deliver,” said Lee’s biographer Roger Lo. “Just like dance and music. You can watch it whoever you are. It is like Charlie Chaplin whose silent movies were borderless.”
Chaplin Chang, author of a new biography “The Bruce Lee They Knew”, said that “People may give him god-like status. But he is just a human.”
“He was not only (about) movies, nor was he only (about) martial arts. With his philosophy, his legacy lives on for generations. Therefore, he is admired by many even now,” explained Chang. Image/Google Images