November 27 San Francisco- In the The Year of the Dragon between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (the hour of the dragon), Lee Jun Fan (meaning return again Lee), Bruce Lee is born at the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco?s Chinatown. Lee Hoi Chuen, Bruce’s father, was performing with the Cantonese Opera Company in America. At three months old, Bruce debuts in “Golden Gate Girl” in San Francisco. He plays role of a female baby, carried by his father.
(Age 1) Hong Kong – Bruce and his parents return to Kowloon, their family home. They move into an apartment at 218 Nathan Road, Kowloon district. The apartment is located on the second floor of a building containing a store on the first floor.
1946 (Age 6) Hong Kong – Bruce makes his first major childhood movie in The Beginning of a Boy. He also performs in The Birth of Mankind, and My Son, Ah Cheun. During the later years of his childhood, Bruce appears in 20 more films. At this time Lee also becomes nearsighted and starts to wear glasses. (He will later wear contacts, suggested to him by a friend who is an optometrist.)
1952 (Age 12) Hong Kong – Lee begins attending La Salle College, a Catholic Boys school.
1953 (Age 13) Attended St. Xavier College- a high school. Hong Kong – After being beaten up in a street gang altercation, Bruce begins to take Gung-Fu lessons. He begins to train under Yip Man, master of the Wing Chun system of Gung-Fu.
1954 (Age 14) Hong Kong – Bruce takes up cha-cha dancing.
1958 (Age 18) Studied Wing Chun with Wong Shun Leung. Hong Kong – Bruce wins the Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship. Bruce has a leading role in the film The Orphan. This is the last movie Bruce makes as a child actor. This is the only movie where Bruce does not fight. Hong Kong – Bruce enters the 1958 Boxing Championships and defeats the reigning three year champion, Gary Elms.
1959 (Age 19) Hong Kong – Bruce’s street fighting was becoming a problem. Bruce’s father and mother decide that Bruce should take a three week voyage to the United States. San Francisco California, Chinatown. Lee returns to his birth-place to claim his American Citizenship. San Francisco – Seattle – With $15 from his father, and $100 from his mother, Bruce arrives in the United States, living with an old friend of his father. He works odd jobs around the various Chinese communities. Moved to Seattle to work for Ruby Chow, another friend of his father. He lives in a room above her restaurant while working as a waiter downstairs. He eventually enrolls in Edison Technical School and earns his high school diploma. Bruce begins to teach his Martial Arts.
1961 (Age 21) Seattle- Bruce enrolls at the University of Washington, studying Philosophy. He teaches Gung-Fu to students at school.
1963 Summer (Age 23) Hong Kong – Bruce proposes to Amy Sanbo but is turned down. Bruce returns to Hong Kong with friend Doug Palmer for the first time since his arrival in the U.S. to visit family. He then returns to Seattle at the end of summer to continue his education.
1963 October 25 (Age 23) Seattle – Bruce takes out Linda Emery (his future wife) for their first date. They have dinner at the Space Needle. Bruce gives notice to Ruby Chow and leaves her restaurant. He starts the first Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute.
1963 Fall (Age 23) Seattle – Bruce moves his Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute into a building (4750 University Way) near the university campus. Wrote the book Chinese Gung Fu: The philosophical art of self defense. Lee teaches anyone of any race, (Asian Martial Arts schools would only teach people of their own race) At Garfield High School, Bruce demonstrates the “One-Inch Punch”. This is the punch he would later make famous at the 64′ Long Beach Internationals.
1964(Age 24) Bruce meets Jhoon Rhee at the International Karate Championships. The two would remain good friends and Lee would use the high flashy kicks that Rhee taught him in the Green Hornet series and in the rest of his movies. While he believed that kicking a man in the head was like punching him in the foot, he knew the kicks looked good on film even if they were impractical for real self defense. (Jhoon Rhee will invite Bruce to Washington, D.C. to appear at tournaments.)
1964 June (Age 24) Oakland – Bruce discusses with James Yimm Lee plans to open a second Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute in Oakland, CA.
1964 Summer (Age 24) Oakland – Plans are finalized, and Bruce leaves Seattle to start a second Jun Fan Gung-Fu school in Oakland. James Yimm Lee is Co Instructor, the only person who ever received equal with Bruce Lee teaching status.
1964 August 2 (Age 24) Long Beach, CA – Ed Parker, known as the Father of American Kenpo and also Elvis Presley?s body-guard and karate teacher, invites Bruce to give a demonstration. Bruce shows off his “one-inch punch,” and his two-finger push-ups. At his first International Karate Championships, Jay Sebring, the hair stylist for Batman, William Dozier, a producer, who is looking to cast a part in a TV series he was developing. Sebring then gives a film of Bruce’s demo to Dozier who is impressed with Bruce?s abilities. Bruce flies down to Los Angeles for a screen test.
1964 August 4 (Age 24) Oakland – Bruce leaves for Seattle. He will propose to Linda.
1964 August 17 (Age 24) Bruce returns to Seattle to marry Linda. They soon move to Oakland, living with his good friend and Co Instructor at the Oakland school James Lee.
1965 (Age 24) Oakland – Several months after he begins teaching, he is challenged by, Wong Jack Man, a Gung-Fu practitioner in the Chinatown Community. They agree: If Bruce looses, he will, either close his school, or stop teaching non Asians or white ghosts; and if Jack looses, he will stop teaching all together. Jack Man thinking Lee is a blow hard, feels he will back down and delays the match. Bruce becomes angered and insists that they not wait. Wong then tries to put limitations on techniques. Bruce refuses “rules” and the two go no holds barred. Bruce begins to pound his opponent in only a couple of seconds. As Bruce pounds him, Wong attempts to run, but is caught by Bruce. Bruce begins to beat him on the ground. Students of the other teacher attempted to step in and help their teacher, James Lee, Bruce’s good friend and body builder prevents this. Later he is bothered on why the fight took so long and begins to re-evaluate his style. He is determined to fix the problems with gung fu. Jeet Kune Do (JKD), “The art of the intercepting fist” is born. JKD is an art including techniques from American Boxing, Wing Chun, and French Fencing. Bruce is signed to a one-year option for The Green Hornet. He is paid an $1800 retainer.
1965 February 1 (Age 25) Oakland, CA – Brandon Bruce Lee is born.
1965 February 8 (Age 25) Hong Kong – Bruce’s father passes away in Hong Kong. Bruce returns to Hong Kong for his father?s funeral. As tradition dictates, in order to obtain forgiveness for not being present when his father died, Bruce crawls on his knees across the floor of the funeral home towards the casket wailing loudly and crying.
1965 May (Age 25) Bruce uses the retainer money from the Green Hornet and flies himself, Linda, and Brandon back to Hong Kong in order to settle his father’s estate affairs. While in Hong Kong, Bruce takes Brandon to see Yip Man to persuade him to perform on tape. Bruce wants to take the footage back to Seattle and show his students what the man looks like in action. Yip man declines the offer.
1965 September (Age 25) Seattle – Bruce, Linda, Brandon return to Seattle.
1966 (Age 26) Los Angeles – Bruce and family move to Los Angeles to an apartment on Wilshire and Gayley in Westwood. This is where he begins working on a new TV series called The Green Hornet as Kato. The Green Hornet series starts filming and Bruce is Paid $400 per episode, where Lee perfects his famous flashy kicks taught to him by Jhoon Rhee. Bruce buys a 1966 blue Chevy Nova. He later opens third branch of the Jun Fan Gung-Fu Institute in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
1966 September 9 (Age 26) Los Angeles – The Green Hornet series premiers. 1967-1971 (Age 27-31) Hollywood – During this time, Bruce lands bit parts in various films and T.V. series. He also gives private lessons for up to $250 an hour to personalities Steve McQueen, James Coburn, James Garner, Lee Marvin, Roman Polanski, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Bruce meets Chuck Norris in New York at the All American Karate Championships in Washington D.C. Chuck fights Joe Lewis and wins.
1967 (Age 27) Washington, D.C. – Bruce meets Joe Lewis at The Mayflower Hotel while both were guests at the 67′ National Karate Championships. Joe is competing in the tournament and Bruce is making special appearances as Kato.
1967 February (Age 27) Los Angeles – Bruce opens a 3rd school at 628 College Street, Los Angeles, CA. Dan Inosanto serves as assistant instructor.
1967 July 14 (Age 27) Los Angeles – The last episode of The Green Hornet Series airs.
1969 April 19 (Age 29) Santa Monica, CA Shannon Lee is born.
1969 (Age 29) A scriptwriter is hired and paid $12K by Stirling Silliphant and James Coburn to write a script for the Silent Flute. (Later to be played by David Caradine) The script produced is unacceptable, and no other scriptwriter could seen to do the job. They then decide to write it themselves. 1970 (Age 30) Los Angeles – Bruce injures his sacral nerve lifting weights and experiences severe muscle spasms in his back.. Doctors told him that he would never kick again. They were wrong, but Lee suffered pain almost constantly. During the months of recovery he starts to document his training methods and his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. Later published as The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.
1970 (Age 30) Hong Kong – Bruce and Brandon fly to Hong Kong and are welcomed by fans of The Green Hornet Show. Bruce sends Unicorn to talk to Run Run Shaw on his behalf and inform Shaw that he would be willing to do a movie for him for $10K. Shaw makes counter-offer of a seven year contract and $2K per film which Bruce declines.
1971 February (Age 31) India – Bruce, James Coburn, Stirling Silliphant fly to India to scout locations for The Silent Flute. They spend one month searching but are forced to call off the search as Coburn backs out of the project. This trip gives Bruce the idea for Game of Death, where a fighter, mastering in several techniques, will go from one level to the next in a temple: the first level (the level of weaponry), the second level (the level of the nine degree black belt), and the third level ( “The level of the unknown.”)
1971 (Age 31) Hong Kong. – Bruce takes a short trip back to Hong Kong to arrange for his mother to live in the U.S. Unknowingly to him, he had become a superstar for The Green Hornet was one of the most popular TV shows in Hong Kong. Later, he is approached by Raymond Chow, owner of a new production company, and offered the lead role in a new film called The Big Boss. Bruce accepts. Bruce is supplied with small apartment at 2 Man Wan Road – Kowloon, HK. Brandon attends La Salle College. The same school Bruce attended only 15 years before. Bruce is interviewed by Canadian talk show host Pierre Berton for a TV program being filmed in Hong Kong.
1971 July (Age 31) Thailand – Filming begins for The Big Boss (released in the U.S. as Fists of Fury). The Big Boss opens in Hong Kong to great reviews and mobs of fans. Proceeds to gross more than $3.5 million in little than three weeks.
1971 December 7 (Age 31) Hong Kong – Bruce receives telegram, notifying him that he had not been chosen for the part in the upcoming series, The Warrior. This series was later released as Kung-Fu, staring David Caradine, as the studios felt that the American public would not accept an Asian in a leading role on television. Kung Fu aired as ABC-TVs Movie of the Week on February 21, 1972.
1972 (Age 32) Hong Kong – Fist of Fury (released in the U.S. as The Chinese Connection) is released. It grosses more than The Big Boss and further establishes Bruce as a Hong Kong superstar. Bruce gets a larger budget, a larger salary, and more power of directing in this film. Bruce begins work on Game of Death and films several fight scenes including Dan Inosanto and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bruce appears on Hong Kong’s TVB channel for a hurricane disaster relief benefit. In a demo Bruce performs, he breaks 4 out of 5 boards, one of which is hanging in the air with a line of string. Brandon even performs and breaks a board with a sidekick!
1972 (Age 32) Rome, Italy – Location shots are made for Bruce’s third film The Way of the Dragon (released in the U.S. as The Return of the Dragon). This time Bruce gets almost complete control the movie, which he writes, directs, and stars. Chuck Norris is Bruce’s adversary in the final fight scene. Again, this film surpasses all records set by his previous two films.
1972 December 30 (Age 32) Oakland ? James Yimm Lee, dies of Black Lung disease from his years of welding.
1973 February (Age 33) Hong Kong – Bruce gets his chance at American stardom as filming of Enter the Dragon begins while Game of Death is put on hold. It is the first-ever production between the U.S. and Hong Kong film industries. On February 20, Bruce is guest of honor at St. Francis Xavier’s school for Sports Day ceremonies.
1973(Age 33) Bruce orders all three of his Jeet Kune Do schools closed in six months. He did not approve of some teaching methods in his absence and he felt others were taking advantage of him in some way. Hong Kong – Filming of Enter the Dragon is completed. Bruce is at Golden Harvest Studios in Hong Kong dubbing his voice for “Enter The Dragon”. The air conditioners had been turned off, so the microphones won’t pick them up. The temperature soared. Bruce takes a break looping lines to go to the bathroom and splash water on his face. In he bathroom, he passes out on the bathroom floor. He revives twenty minutes later just as assistant sent to find out what was keeping him walks in and discovers him on the ground. He tries to conceal his collapse by acting as though he has dropped his glasses on the floor and is searching for them and is helped up by the assistant. As they are walking back to the dubbing room, Bruce collapses again and is rushed to a nearby hospital.
1973 July 10 (Age 33) Hong Kong – Bruce Lee is walking through the Golden Harvest Studios and overhears Lo Wei in a nearby room bad mouthing him. He confronts Lo Wei who retreats and summons the local police. When the police arrive Lo Wei falsely accuses Bruce of threatened him with a knife concealed in his belt buckle. He further insists that Bruce sign a statement that he will not harm him. Bruce signs the statement to get Lo Wei off his back although Lo Wei lied to the police and Bruce never had a knife nor threatened to kill him. That same day, Bruce appears on the Hong Kong TV show, Enjoy Yourself Tonight with host Ho Sho Shin. Bruce alludes to his problems with director Lo Wei, but does not mention him by name. Bruce is asked to display his physical prowess and demonstrates his abilities. Bruce demonstrates a technique and Shin is knocked across the stage.
1973 July 16 (Age 33) Hong Kong – Heavy rains fall caused by a typhoon off the coast of Hong Kong. Bruce makes a $200 phone call to speak to Unicorn in his hotel room, who is filming a movie in Manila. Bruce tells Unicorn that he is worried about the many headaches he is experiencing.
1973 July 20 (Age 33) Hong Kong – Early that morning Bruce types a letter to his attorney, Adrian Marshall, detailing business ventures he wants to discuss on his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Bruce had tickets already set to return to the US for a publicity tour and was scheduled to appear on the Johnny Carson show. Raymond Chow goes by Bruce’s house and the two discuss plans for their upcoming movie Game of Death. Linda kisses Bruce good-bye and says she is going out to run some errands and will see him later that night. Raymond and Bruce visit Betty Ting Pei at her apartment to discuss her role in Game of Death. That evening plans had been made for them all to meet George Lazenby over dinner and enlist him for a part. Bruce explains that he has a headache, takes a prescription pain killer offered by Betty, and lies down on her bed to rest prior to dinner. Raymond Chow departs and says that he will meet them later. Raymond Chow and George Lazenby meet at a restaurant and await Bruce and Betty’s arrival, but the two never show up. At 9:00 p.m. Chow receives a call from Betty; she said that she has tried to wake Bruce up but he won’t come to. Betty summons her personal physician who fails to revive Bruce and who has Bruce taken to the hospital. Bruce does not revive and is pronounced dead. Bruce Lee dies in Hong Kong of an apparent cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). Doctors declared the death of Bruce Lee as “death by misadventure.” The premier of Enter the Dragon was pushed back by four days due to the actors death.
1973 July 25(Age 33) Hong Kong – A funeral ceremony is held for in Hong Kong over 25,000 people were in attendance. Bruce is dressed in the Hifu he wore in Enter the Dragon.
1973 July 30 (Age 32) After a smaller second ceremony in Seattle, Washington at Butterworth Funeral Home on East Pine Street, Bruce Lee is buried at Lake View Cemetery. His pallbearers included Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Dan Inosanto, Taky Kimura, Peter Chin, and Robert Lee his brother.
1973 August 24 Hollywood California- Enter The Dragon premiers at Graumann’s Chinese Theater.
After Bruce Lee?s Death
Tao of Jeet Kune Do published. Main Chinese Gung Fu Associations grant Lee their highest honor, the title and rank of Sijo Founder of Jeet Kune Do. Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Bruce Lee Part 2
To pay your respects to Bruce or Brandon Lee:
Lakeview Cemetery 1554 15th. Ave. E Seattle, WA
(about two miles northeast of downtown Seattle) Specific Interment Location: lot 276, east side of circular driveway in center of cemetery. GPS coordinates: 47.6333, -122.3158 (hddd.dddd)
206-322-1582 Lakeview Office