Bruce Lee was born as Lee Jun-fan in Chinatown, San Francisco, on November 27, 1940. He lived only to the young age of 32, passing on July 20, 1973. Even in such a short life, he remains the most famous martial artist and Asian/American film actor today.
He was the son of Hong Kong actor Lee Hoi Chuen, a leading Cantonese opera and film actor of the day. His father brought him into the film industry early where he became one of Hong Kong’s most prominent child actors. Raised in Kowloon with his family, Lee had 20 movies under his Chinese screen name Li Xiaolong (李小龍) – meaning “little dragon” – by the age of 18.
Lee moved to America in 1959, abandoning a film career in favour of pursuing martial arts and higher education. In early 1961, he enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he met his future wife Linda Emery, a fellow student studying to become a teacher.
His largest martial arts influence came as he studied the art of Wing Chun under the most famous teachers in Hong Kong, Ip Man and Wong Shun Leung. Soon, Lee began teaching what he called Jun Fan Gung Fu (literally Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu). It was basically his approach to Wing Chun. He opened his first martial arts school, named the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, in Seattle.
Lee returned to film in 1964 when a martial arts exhibition on Long Beach led to the the role of Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet. His fame grew when he partnered with Raymond Chow in five feature-length films: The Big Boss (1971) Fist of Fury (1972), Way of the Dragon (1972), Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978).
These action-packed films made Lee appear nearly superhuman, and he became known worldwide as he portrayed Chinese nationalism in his films. Now, the star is considered to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century.
This musical has been written with respect to the Legend that is Bruce Lee.