||Bruce Lee (1940-1973)|
"I don't want such a role as usual Chinese whose front teeth are
prominent and slant-eyed. I'd rather be dead than do that."
Perhaps no other Chinese entertainer is as internationally known as Bruce Lee. During his lifetime, he was the most famous movie star in China, with fans flocking to theaters to see his movies and skits. People knew his name and films around the world, but even such Bruce Lee felt set back in his youth in the USA, facing what he felt was a racial barrier. His famous bursts of anger dazzled audiences. To the Chinese he was a kind of warrior; one that represented the spirit and vitality of their country.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco, California, in 1940. His family moved to Hong Kong the following year. Movies and kung fu had always been close to Bruce Lee since his early childhood in Hong Kong. He was an average child who often got into a lot of mischief with his friends. He dressed vividly and wandered around the city, usually causing trouble wherever they went, and often getting into fights. Deciding to protect himself, he started kung fu around the age of thirteen. A man who had practiced Kung fu with him said, "He practiced Kung-fu very hard, even when he was walking, he was practicing Kung-fu."
Life and Personality
Because Bruce Lee was so out of control by the age of eighteen, his parents felt they had no choice but to send him off alone to the United States. He entered the department of philosophy at Washington University, and in his spare time taught students the art of kung fu. Among the students there was Linda, who would marry him in the near future. In those days he also studied boxing, establishing a style all to his own. He was so absorbed in his extracurricular activities that he eventually dropped out of Washington University. When he demonstrated his kung fu in a competition, he got the attention of Hollywood. Initially he was used in supporting actor roles in various TV programs and movies. However, Bruce Lee was often deprived roles that fit him perfectly because of the color of his skin. He stated once that in his early carrier he often his role by white actor, then he said, "I don't want such a role as usual Chinese whose front teeth are prominent and slant-eyed. I'd rather be dead than do that." Breaking his heart, he returned to Hong Kong, there he became a big star by featuring in three movies. It was the common pattern in his movies to have a repressed and timid man suddenly burst into anger at his enemies that the crowds loved. He must have felt at once a pride as the Chinese and anger came from the setback in the USA. Finally, he became the hero intoxicated by the "repressed people" throughout the world. His movie succeeded especially in Southeast Asia. But just after the completion of one of his movies, he died of a massive brain edema. The reasons are still mysterious however, and many speculate it could have been suicide or even murder.
In death Bruce Lee became legendary. Today, he is not a simple movie star. It can be said that he is a hero to the people to this very day. Continuing to this day, his legendary skills are often seen on TV, in movies, and in dramas. Many actors and films emulate his style, and the style in itself is always easily recognizable. In bookstores, his new biography is being sold. What made him a hero were not only his Kung Fu skills, but also the historical background that his works represented. He often played a character fighting against the Japanese or White society, therefore triumphing the Chinese people over their enemies. Japan occupied Hong Kong on 25 December 1941. The date was said to be a 'Black Christmas" in Hong Kong. At that time, Bruce Lee was just one year old, but he understood what grasped the people's heart, so he played a role expressing the anger of his people. So in Hong Kong, "Fire Dragon" was not as popular as it was in the USA or Japan, for although this movie was highly sophisticated, it had more meaning for those living in China. Ironically, it was "Dragon, Fist of Rage" that beating the Japanese and "The Road to Dragon" that grasps the hearts of the people in Hong Kong most.