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Bruce Lee Biography

Death: 20 July 1973, Hong Kong

Bruce Jun Fan Lee (李振藩, 李小龍; pinyin: Lǐ Zhènfān, Lǐ Xiăolóng; Cantonese:lei5 zan3 faan4,lei5 siu2 lung4 27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was an American-born Chinese Hong Kong martial artist, philosopher, instructor, martial arts actor and the founder of the Jeet Kune Do combat form. He is widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the twentieth century and a cultural icon. He was also the father of actor Brandon Lee and of actress Shannon Lee. His baby brother Robert was a musician and member of a popular Hong Kong beat band called The Thunderbirds was something of heart throb in Hong Kong in the 1960's .

Lee was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, and sparked the first major surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong and the rest of the world as well.

Lee became an iconic figure particularly to the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese national pride and Chinese nationalism in his movies.[3] He primarily practiced Chinese martial arts (Kung fu), particularly Wing Chun.

Early life
Bruce Lee was born in the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac calendar, November 27, 1940, at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco’s Chinatown. His father, Lee Hoi-Chuen (李海泉), was Chinese, and his Catholic mother, Grace Ho (何愛瑜), was of Chinese and German ancestry. Lee and his parents returned to Hong Kong when he was three months old. There is uncertainty about his citizenship; he was definitely a US citizen, and he may have been a Chinese citizen and a British subject as well (as Hong Kong people were British subjects during his childhood).

Lee Hoi Chuen was one of the leading Cantonese opera and film actors at the time, and he was embarking on a year-long Cantonese opera performing tour, with his family, amongst the US Chinese communities on the eve of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during the Second World War. As touring was an extremely profitable business back then, Lee had been touring the US for many years. Although a number of his peers decided to stay in the US this time to ride out the storm, Lee decided to go back to Hong Kong after his wife gave birth to their fourth child, due partially to homesickness and partially to a miscalculation on his part. Within months, Hong Kong was invaded (at the same time of the Pearl Harbor attack) and the Lees lived the ensuing 3 years and 8 months under brutal Japanese occupation. The Lee family managed to survive the war and actually had done reasonably well. Lee Hoi Chuen would resume his acting career and become even a bigger star during the ensuing rebuilding years.

Bruce Lee's mother Grace had an even more impressive background. She belonged to one of wealthiest and most powerful clans in Hong Kong, the Ho Tungs, Hong Kong's answer to the Rockefellers and the Kennedys. She was the niece of Sir Robert Ho Tung, patriarch of the clan. As such, the young Bruce Lee grew up in an affluent and privileged environment.
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