He would have turned 80 this year. But instead, July 20, 2020 marks the 47th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s death. Still—the dragon lives on. The legend of Bruce Lee is still kicking in hearts all over the world.
Everyone has their own favorite Bruce Lee fight scene. Mine was when he fought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death. As an Asian-American kid and basketball fanatic growing up, it didn’t get much better than that.
Bruce Lee was a remarkable person, and he led an even more remarkable life. Most people only remember him for kicking butt on the camera. But that only tells part of his story.
Here are 7 surprising facts about Bruce Lee that you probably didn’t know:
1. He was a dancing machine.
Back in Hong Kong, he won several Cha Cha dance competitions. This would explain why he had such good footwork and moved so smoothly in his fight scenes.
2. His father sent him to America with only $100 in his pocket.
It was a tough time for Bruce Lee, but it helped shape the rest of his life. It all started back in Hong Kong. Growing up he kept getting into trouble. He was always fighting with the other kids. Usually coming home with black eyes, cuts and bruises all over. Eventually it got so bad that his father sent him to live in America.
From there, he moved to Seattle and even attended the University of Washington. He majored in Philosophy. During his time there he built a reputation as an amazing martial artist. This led to him opening his own martial arts school and teaching anyone who was interested. It’s also where he met his wife, Linda.
3. He was the ultimate freelancer. Charging upwards of $200 per hour.
If you adjust the amount to today’s value, that means he was charging over $1000 an hour for private martial arts lessons. It’s an incredible feat and I expect nothing less from the dragon himself.
4. He had 4 siblings that you’ve probably never heard about.
Everyone knows about Bruce Lee, but not many people knew he had siblings. He had 2 older sisters, Phoebe and Agnes, an older brother, Peter, and a younger brother, Robert. You don’t hear about them much, but when you have a Bruce Lee in the family, it’s easy to understand who gets all the attention from the media.
5. He starred in his first movie role at only 3 months old.
He made an appearance in the 1941 movie, Golden Gate Girl. He was a child star—okay baby star. By the time he turned 18 years old, he had starred in twenty movies—most notably in the 1950s movie, The Kid, where he would co-star alongside his father.
6. He almost played Robin in the 1960s American live-action tv series, Batman.
Film Producer Willian Dozier was friends with Bruce and considered him for the role of Robin in the 1960s tv series Batman. Ultimately the role of Robin would be played by American actor, Burt Ward.
Instead, Dozier would cast Bruce as Kato in The Green Hornet tv series. This would prove more beneficial to Bruce’s career in the long run. In America, the show did decently. But back in Hong Kong, it was a hit. They loved it so much that it was better known as “The Kato Show”.
7. He’s listed in Time’s Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People of the Century.
Yes it’s true. His name is listed right up there next to the likes of Gandhi, the Pope, Princess Diana, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa herself.