Clothing and Costumes Worn by Child Actors: Bruce Lee (Hong Kong-China/US, 1940-73)

Figure 1.--This is Bruce Lee in 1946 just after World War II. The Lees had spent the War in Hong Kong under Japanese occupation. He appeared in many Hong Kong films as a baby and child. He had not yet begin to take lessons in martial arts, but you aleady get a felling of intensity from the portrait.

Lee Jun-fan (李振藩) better known as Bruce Lee (李小龍) was born in Chinatown, San Francisco (November 1940). He became a noted movie actor, film director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. Although he dies at a very young age, he stands as th most influnetial Chinese individual in the movie industry. While born in America, he grew up in Hong Kong. His parents especially his mother were from prominent Hong Kong fmilies. She was the prominent Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen of uncertain Eurasian parentage. Incredably they decided to return to Hong Kong only a few months after Pearl Harbor and the Japanese seizure of Hong Kong (December 1941). The Lee family thus lived under Japanese occupation for over 3 years. Because of the families show business connections, Bruce appeared in many low-budget Hong Kong films beggining as a baby. He was not a good student and misbehaved in school. He got into fights at school and on the street. His father decided he better learn martial arts. Here he had a problem because many martial arts enthususts believed that only pure-blooded Chinese people should be taught the discipline. He would have the same problem in America. When Lee beat uo the son of a Tong fmily leader (gangster) his parents sent him back to America to get him out of trouble and complete his education. There he made his name, not only in martialrts, but the fikm industry. He is widely credited to be the most influential martial artists of all time. In addition he bcame a pop culture icon, helped popularize martial arts with non Asian Americns and helped change the way Asians were depicted in Hollywood films. He died in Kowloon Tong (July 1973, only 32 years old.


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Created: 4:57 AM 4/7/2018
Last updated: 4:57 AM 4/7/2018