Bruce Lee (born Lee Jun-fan; 27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was a Chinese American Hong Kong actor, martial artsinstructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement. He is widely considered by many commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist and pop culture icon of the 20th Century. He is often credited with changing the way Asians were presented in American films.
Lee was born in San Francisco but was raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. Lee returned to the United States at the age of 18 to claim his U.S. citizenship and receive his higher education. It was during this time that he began teaching martial arts, which soon led to film and television roles.
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 a major surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. 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. He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei‘s The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee;Warner Brothers‘ Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978), both directed by Robert Clouse.
Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese nationalism in his films. He initially trained in Wing Chun, but later rejected well-defined martial art styles, favouring instead the use of techniques from various sources, in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).
Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong on 20 July 1973.