Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Akash. Akash Wonders, “Who was Bruce Lee” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Akash!

Do you know karate? How about jujitsu? Maybe you’ve seen people in movies use kung fu or aikido. If you’ve spent much time at all learning about martial arts, you’ve likely at least heard of the person we’re talking about today. That’s right—today’s Wonder of the Day is all about Bruce Lee!

Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco, California on November 27, 1940. His father was part of the Chinese Opera, which was touring in America when Lee was born. His parents gave him the Chinese name Lee Jun Fan, and he also went by the American name Bruce.

Lee grew up in Hong Kong, where he appeared in over 20 films as a child. As a teen, he became involved in a gang. After being injured in a street fight, Lee began studying martial arts to better defend himself. Concerned about their son’s activities, his parents sent him to live with family members in America when he turned 18.

In the U.S., Lee settled in Seattle. There, he finished high school and entered the University of Washington. He studied philosophy and drama in college. While in Seattle, Lee also opened his first martial arts academy. In 1964, he moved and opened his second school in Oakland, California. 

Lee saw much success as a martial arts teacher. Soon, he took his practice a step further. He developed his own technique and named it Jeet Kune Do (English: “The Way of the Intercepting Fist”). Lee’s creation was a mixture of kung fu, fencing, boxing, and philosophy.

As his martial arts career continued to grow, Lee also continued to pursue a career in film. He appeared in the 1966 movie “The Green Hornet” but was frustrated by a lack of further roles. In 1971, he moved back to Hong Kong with his wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, and children, Brandon and Shannon.

In Hong Kong, Lee starred in “The Big Boss” and “Fist of Fury,” both big hits in both Hong Kong and the U.S. Lee’s next big project? He wrote, directed, and starred in “Return of the Dragon” and “The Way of the Dragon.” Both films also met with success.

Sadly, Lee passed away just six days before the release of his final movie, “Enter the Dragon.” He fell asleep after taking pain medication on July 20, 1973. After an allergic reaction to the medicine, he died at 32 years old. 

After his death, Bruce Lee only grew in fame. Today, he’s remembered as a talented martial artist who left his mark on the film industry. Have you ever seen a Bruce Lee film? If not, give one a try sometime. You never know—you could discover a new favorite!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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