BRUCE LEE™ was born in San Francisco in 1940. He returned to Hong Kong with his parents at the age of three-months. While growing up in Hong Kong, Lee made a total of 18 films. At the age of 18, he boarded a ship that returned him to America. After staying briefly in San Francisco, Lee finally settled in Seattle where he went on to study philosophy at the University of Washington. Lee published his first book in 1963 entitled Chinese Gung Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense. After thoroughly researching the human sciences of kinesiology and physiology, Lee began to create his own method of self-defense – predicated for the first time in the history of combat on unconditional freedom of expression for the individual practitioner.
As a direct result of his personal applications of his research, Bruce Lee™ quickly emerged as the leading martial artist of his generation, eventually opening three schools located in Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles. He married in 1964 to American Linda Emery, then a student in one of his Seattle gung fu classes. Their union also brought forth two children; Brandon Bruce Lee, (born February 1, 1965) and Shannon Emery Lee (born April 19, 1969).
After a particularly electrifying demonstration at a Long Beach karate tournament in 1964, Lee was offered the role of “Kato” in The Green Hornet television series. The syndication of the show gave Lee a substantial following, and after continuing to ply his trade both as an actor and a teacher in America, he accepted an offer to star in two movies in Hong Kong. The films were huge box-office successes in Southeast Asia (The Big Boss and Fist of Fury).
The financial success of his first two films gave Lee the creative latitude to direct his next film The Way of the Dragon, which he also scripted, co-produced and starred in. Immediately upon completion of “The Way of the Dragon,” Lee began filming portions of his next film, The Game of Death (a film that he would never complete). It was during the filming of “The Game of Death” that Lee accepted an offer to star in Enter the Dragon, his last film, and the first co-production between American and Hong Kong film studios. The film proved to be an international hit, famous as much for its pearls of wisdom:
“It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon – [but] don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory”
as it was for its spectacular martial art action sequences.
During his lifetime, Bruce Lee™ cultivated a personal philosophy, a synthesis of Eastern and Western insights into the human condition, which helped him overcome many adversities and to achieve unparalleled greatness in his career.
Lee passed away at age 32 on July 20, 1973, the result of hypersensitivity to a pain medication he had taken to alleviate a headache. Despite his passing, Lee’s thought continues to inspire and influence thousands of individuals from all walks of life, while Lee’s contributions to the action film genre opened the door for all of the action films and action film stars that have followed in the years since his passing.
November 27, 1940. San Francisco.
Bruce “Jun Fan” Lee™ is born in the “hour of the dragon” (between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.) and the “year of the dragon.”
February, 1941. San Francisco.
Journeys from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Appears in his first film. He is three months old.
1948. Hong Kong.
Begins to film the first of what will total 18 twenty Cantonese-language films before he reaches the age of 18.
1952. Hong Kong.
Bruce Lee™ enters La Salle College, a Catholic boys school.
1953. Hong Kong.
Begins to study Gung Fu under the venerated grandmaster Yip Man of the Wing Chun system.
1958. Hong Kong.
Wins the “Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship.”
March 29, 1958. Hong Kong.
Enters St. Francis Xavier high school.
April 29, 1959. Hong Kong.
Departs Hong Kong for America.
May 17, 1959. San Francisco.
Arrives in America.
September 3, 1959. Seattle.
Arrives in Seattle, Washington. Enters Edison Technical School – Fall quarter.
December 2, 1960. Seattle.
Graduates from Edison Technical School.
March 27, 1961. Seattle.
Enters the University of Washington – Spring quarter.
March 26, 1963. Hong Kong.
Returns to visit his family for the first time in four years.
August, 1963. Seattle.
Returns from Hong Kong. Leaves the University of Washington after Spring quarter 1964.
July 19, 1964. Oakland.
Leaves Seattle to establish a Gung Fu Institute in Oakland, California.
August 2, 1964. Long Beach.
Bruce performs at the International Karate Tournament in Long Beach, California.
August 3, 1964. Oakland.
Bruce starts Gung Fu instruction in Oakland.
August 17, 1964. Seattle.
Bruce marries Linda Emery.
February 1, 1965. Oakland.
Bruce and Linda’s son, Brandon Bruce Lee, is born on Chinese New Year’s Eve day in the “year of the dragon.”
February 8, 1965. Hong Kong.
Bruce’s father, Lee Hoi Chuen, passes away.
March, 1966. Los Angeles.
The Lee family moves to Los Angeles, California.
June 6, 1966. Los Angeles.
The shooting of The Green Hornet TV series begins.
January 8, 1967. Los Angeles.
The first written indication that Lee has decided to call his way of martial art “the Stopping Fist Way” appears in his daytimer entry (written in Chinese) for this day. It will be close to seven months before he officially determines the correct English language spelling of the phonetic of the art: “Jeet Kune Do.”
February 5, 1967. Los Angeles.
Officially opens the Los Angeles chapter of the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute™.
July 1967. Los Angeles.
The first appearance of the English words “Jeet Kune Do” appear in his daytime diary.
May 6, 1967. Washington, D.C.
Performs at National Karate Championships in Washington, D.C.
June 24, 1967. New York.
Appears at All-American Open Karate Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York.
July 14, 1967. Los Angeles.
Hired to appear in one episode of the Ironside TV series.
July 30, 1967. Long Beach.
Performs at the Long Beach International Karate Tournament.
June 23, 1968. Washington, D.C.
Attends the National Karate Championships in Washington, D.C.
July 5, 1968. Los Angeles.
Hired as the technical director for the movie The Wrecking Crew.
August 1, 1968. Los Angeles.
Hired to play a bad guy in MGM’s “Little Sister” (later renamed “Marlowe”).
October 1, 1968. Los Angeles.
Moves to Bel Air.
November 12, 1968. Los Angeles.
Films an episode of the television series Blondie for Universal.
April 19, 1969. Santa Monica.
Bruce and Linda’s daughter, Shannon Emery Lee, is born.
Late March, 1970. Hong Kong.
Returns to Hong Kong with his son, Brandon, to visit his family.
1970-1971. Los Angeles.
Works with actor James Coburn and screenwriter Stirling Silliphant on a screenplay about the philosophy of the martial arts entitled The Silent Flute.
June 27, 1971. Los Angeles.
Films the first episode of the television series Longstreet for Paramount.
1971. Los Angeles.
Begins to collaborate with Warner Bros. on developing a TV series called The Warrior (later renamed Kung Fu).
July 1971. Thailand.
Films The Big Boss (called Fists of Fury in North America) for Golden Harvest Studios, which breaks all previous box office records in Hong Kong.
December 7,1971. Hong Kong.
Receives official word that he will not star in The Warrior TV series and that the part has been given to American Caucasian David Carradine.
1972. Hong Kong.
Completes second film for Golden Harvest, Fist of Fury (called The Chinese Connection in North America), which breaks all records set by his last film, The Big Boss.
1972. Hong Kong.
Forms his own production company, Concord, and makes his directorial debut in his next film, The Way of the Dragon (called Return of the Dragon in North America), which, again, shatters all previous box office records in Hong Kong.
September- November, 1972. Hong Kong.
Begins preliminary filming of fight sequences for his next film, The Game of Death. This project would be put on hold while Bruce Lee™ prepares to film Enter the Dragon.
January, 1973. Hong Kong.
Begins filming a feature film for Warner Bros. entitled Enter the Dragon.
July 20, 1973. Hong Kong.
Bruce Lee™ passes away in Hong Kong, his death the result of a cerebral edema caused by hypersensitivity to a prescription medication.
July 31, 1973. Seattle.
Laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery. His pallbearers are friends and students, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Dan Inosanto, Peter Chin, Taky Kimura, and his younger brother, Robert Lee.