Lee Jun-fan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, was a Hong Kong and American actor, film director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, philosopher and founder of the martial art Jeet Kune Do. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fun facts about Bruce Lee.
1. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen.
2. He is widely considered by commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century.
3. He’s often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American movies.
4. Lee was born in Chinatown, San Francisco, on November 27, 1940, to parents from Hong Kong, and was raised with his family in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
5. He was introduced to the movie industry by his father and appeared in several movies as a child actor.
6. Lee moved to the United States at the age of 18 to receive his higher education at the University of Washington in Seattle, and it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts.
7. His Hong Kong and Hollywood produced movies 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.
8. The direction and tone of his movies dramatically changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts movies in the U.S., Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
9. Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, based upon his portrayal of Chinese nationalism in his movies.
10. He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources into the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do, which means The Way of the Intercepting Fist.
11. Lee held dual nationalist in Hong Kong and the United States.
12. He died in Kowloon Tong on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32.
13. Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Chuck Norris were among the pallbearers at Lee’s funeral.
14. He had the ability to snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
15. In 1962, Lee landed 15 punches, a kick and knocked his opponent out in a fight that lasted only 11 seconds.
16. His kicks were so fast that while filming for one scene in Enter the Dragon, they had to re-film it in slow motion so that it wouldn’t appear fake.
17. Lee was a fan of The Great Gama, who was the only undefeated wrestler in the world. The Great Gama’s career spanned for 50 years.
18. Lee was known to be a great Cha-Cha dancer. He had won the Hong Kong Cha-Cha Championship in 1958.
19. A statue of Bruce Lee was placed in Mostar, Bosnia because he was something that all ethnicities liked and could agree on. The statue was later vandalized and destroyed.
20. His speed in terms of reacting and punching from a distance of three feet away was found to be around five hundredths of a second.
21. Lee was a big Muhammad Ali fan and used to watch his fights on film obsessively.
22. Yip Man, who taught Bruce Lee, opened his own martial arts school so that he could afford opium.
23. Lee had the ability to catch a grain of rice in mid-air with chopsticks.
24. Lee kicked a man so hard that it broke a bystander’s arm when the man fell into him.
25. His last movie, Game of Death, contains footage of his actual funeral with close ups of Lee in his coffin.
26. When asked who would win in a fight to the death, Chuck Norris once said, “Bruce Lee of course, nobody can beat him.”
27. Lee was able to perform 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups and it has been said that he performed push-ups with up to 120 pounds of weight on his back. He only weighed approximately 130 pounds.
28. Jackie Chan began his film career as a stuntman in the Bruce Lee movies, Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon.
29. Lee’s first notable film, Golden Gate Girl, was shot in the United States, but wasn’t released in the United States until 5 years after it was released in China.
30. There was a cultural phenomenon called Bruceploitation, in which many Bruce Lee look-alikes starred in cheap knock-off movies to cash in on the obsession with Lee after he died.