Bruce Lee: The Dragon's Story
In 1959 a short, skinny, bespectacled 18-year-old kid from Hong Kong traveled to America and declared himself to be John Wayne, James Dean, Charles Atlas and the guy who kicked your butt in junior high.
In an America where the Chinese were still stereotyped as meek house servants and railroad workers, Bruce Lee was all steely sinew, threatening stare and cocky, pointed finger — a Clark Kent who didn't need to change outfits. He was the redeemer, not only for the Chinese but for all the geeks and dorks and pimpled teenage masses that washed up at the theaters to see his action movies. He was David, with spin-kicks and flying leaps more captivating than any slingshot.
Bruce Lee: Childhood
He came from a family of entertainers - his father (Lee Hoi-chuen) was a Cantonese opera clown and along with his wife he was touring the North American Chinatowns when Bruce was born in San Francisco - thus making him a U.S. citizen. They soon returned to HK and Bruce became a child actor and made 18 films betwwen The Kid in 1950 (being considered one of his best) and The Orphan (1958). The Orphan made him a star and the film is still held in high regard to this day. In it he plays an angry juvenile delinquent in the mode of a sullen James Dean. Afterwards though, apparently the fame made him difficult to deal with and he was soon getting into constant fights.
Bruce Lee: in America and Stardom
So his parents sent him to the U.S. where he began to seriously study martial arts and soon formulated his own school of martial arts that he termed Jeet Kune Do. He was noticed by some Hollywood actors who had an interest in martial arts and he was cast as Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet. He also appeared in some other TV shows and made an incredible cameo in the film Marlowe which starred James Garner (lets forget how Garner defeats him!). He desperately wanted to star in another TV series that he helped put together - but the producers thought that a Chinese actor would not attract an audience and so chose a Caucasian (David Carradine) to play the character in Kung Fu. Can you imagine how incredible and valuable those shows would be today if Bruce had starred in them?
Greatly disappointed and hurt, he returned to HK where he discovered that he was considered a major star for what he had done in America. A bidding war broke out between the Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest - with Golden Harvest winning. Over a period of only a few years he made four films - The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon. He died of a brain hemorrage while making his fifth film in 1973.