Bruce Lee (continued)

 

Also, in 1966, Bruce landed an acting role on the TV show "The Green Hornet." He played Kato. He received this role after screen testing for William Dozier. Bruce's luck was short-lived because the show only ran for six months during the 1966-67 season. The show did not catch on as much as TV executives would have liked. Shortly after Bruce was contacted by Warner Brothers to help develop a television series based on the martial arts. Bruce worked with the studio to develop the show that eventually would be called "Kung Fu." However, Bruce was not asked to star in the production. The TV executives first choice for a Chinese Master of Kung Fu was David Carradine. Warner Brothers and ABC-TV both thought that Bruce was too small, too Chinese, too inexperienced, and that he was not a big enough name. At this time Bruce was fed up with television. Friend James Coburn suggested that Bruce should not waste his time on television and that he should set his sights on Asia and build up his name and experience in Asia. Bruce would then be able to come back and have the projects that he deserved.

 

Sijo Bruce Lee with Sifu Dan InosantoIn 1969 Linda gave birth to their second child, a daughter they named Shannon.

When Bruce left for Hong Kong he made his Assistant Instructor, Dan Inosanto, the Head Instructor for the Los Angeles school. This would make Dan Inosanto the third and final person to ever be certified by Bruce Lee to teach. Dan Inosanto was also the only person to receive instructor's rank in all three of the following arts that Bruce taught over the years: Tao of Chinese Gung Fu, Jun Fan Gung Fu, and Jeet Kune Do.

 

During the summer of 1971 Bruce signed a two picture deal with Golden Harvest's Raymond Chow. He flew to Thailand to make his first major motion picture, "The Big Boss" (a.k.a. "Fist of Fury"). "The Big Boss" opened as a huge success and broke box office records. Bruce's second picture, "Fist of Fury" (a.k.a. "The Chinese Connection") was even a bigger success and broke box office records.

 

At this time Bruce was no longer under contract with anyone and everyone wanted him to join their studio. Bruce was fed up with how movies were made in Hong Kong so he started his own production company, Concord, and he partnered with Raymond Chow. With his new freedom Bruce did things different. His third motion picture was named "The Way of the Dragon" (a.k.a. "Return of the Dragon") and Bruce wrote, directed, and played the lead role. It also include a classic fight scene with Bruce and Chuck Norris going at it in the Roman coliseum. Once again Bruce had a huge hit.

 

Scene from "Game Of Death".  Sijo Bruce Lee takes on Sifu Dan Inosanto.At this time Bruce was no longer under contract with anyone and everyone wanted him to join their studio. Bruce was fed up with how movies were made in Hong Kong so he started his own production company, Concord, and he partnered with Raymond Chow. With his new freedom Bruce did things different. His third motion picture was named "The Way of the Dragon" (a.k.a. "Return of the Dragon") and Bruce wrote, directed, and played the lead role. It also include a classic fight scene with Bruce and Chuck Norris going at it in the Roman coliseum. Once again Bruce had a huge hit.

Bruce then started on his next movie project, "Game of Death". Bruce first filmed the movie's finale. It took place in a pagoda where, on each floor, Bruce met a new opponent. The first opponent was played by good friend and protégé, Dan Inosanto. They went at it with sticks and nunchaku. The second level had pitted Bruce against a Korean martial artist. The third and final level Bruce fought against his friend and student Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. After those few scenes were completed, the film was put on hold for another movie project. This new movie project would be distributed internationally and make Bruce Lee a household name.

 

Animated GIF - Bruce Lee from "Enter The Dragon"In February 1973, Bruce started filming "Enter The Dragon." It took several weeks and Bruce survived a snake bite, a cut hand from glass, and problems associated with a multi-lingual cast and crew that had different procedures in making films. The movie was a great success. It has been said to be Bruce Lee's best film. Other martial arts movies must live up to the standard that Bruce Lee set.

 

Sadly Bruce never got to see his film on the big screen. On July 20, 1973 Bruce developed a headached during a meeting with producer Raymond Chow and actress Betty Ting-pei. Bruce took an Equagesic, super aspirin, to counter the headached and had an allergic reaction and went into a coma while taking a nap. His brain swelled and passed away shortly there after. There was a service held in Hong Kong and one in Seattle, Washington where he was buried.

A few years later Bruce's unfinished movie "Game of Death" was completed with Bruce appearing only in the last 15 minutes of the picture.

 

This was a very brief summary of Bruce Lee's complex life. In the mid-1990s there was a movie called "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story." While this movie was entertaining it omitted and changed a lot of the facts about Bruce's life. To find out more information on Bruce Lee I would suggest reading "The Bruce Lee Story" written by his wife Linda Lee.

To learn more about Bruce Lee you can check out the following sections of the MAK Bookstore: Bruce Lee , and Jun Fan Gung Fu and Jeet Kune Do . Also, take a look at the MAK Video store's Bruce Lee section.

 

 

 


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