Bruce Lee: From the Big Boss to the Game of Death

bruce lee hong kongBruce Lee, (Lee Jun-fan), was born on November 27, 1940, at the Chinese Hospital, in San Francisco’s Chinatown; the fourth son of Han Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen. According to the Chinese zodiac, Lee was born in both the hour and the year of the Dragon, which according to tradition is a strong and fortuitous omen. Bruce Lee became a Hong Kong/American martial artist; action film actor and filmmaker. He was raised in Kowloon with his family until his late teens and introduced to the film industry by his father. Soon after, he appeared in several films as a child actor.  At the age of 18, Lee moved to the United States to receive his higher education at the University of Washington; and it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts.

Lee held dual nationality of Hong Kong and the United States. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films:

  1. Lo Wei’s The Big Boss (1971);
  2. Fist of Fury (1972);
  3. Golden Harvest’s Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee;
  4. Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers’ Enter the Dragon (1973); and
  5. The Game of Death (1973) both directed by Robert Clouse.

However, on May 10, 1973, whilst filming was taking place for his 4th movie, Lee collapsed during a session for Enter the Dragon at Golden Harvest in Hong Kong. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema.  Luckily, they were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol.

These same symptoms reoccurred on the day of his death, two months and 10 days later, on July 20, 1973; when Bruce Lee died at the tender age of 32.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it”. – Bruce Lee

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