Bruce Lee only featured in six films during the all-too-brief martial arts movie career he enjoyed prior to his death.
Yet the legacy left behind by the Kung-Fu legend is still be felt today thanks in no small part to iconic efforts like Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon.
Part of what makes Lee so compelling are the sheer number of incredible stories, fan theories and folklore that surrounds the man.
With that in mind, loaded has compiled 10 incredible and, at times unbelievable, facts on Bruce Lee, the original Kung-Fu hero. Let’s have a look.
His own corpse starred in a film
Lee died during film on Game of Death and despite filming over 100 minutes of footage prior to his passing, just over 10 minutes ended up in the finished movie. In a bizarre twist, Lee’s actual corpse appears in a scene involving an open-topped casket.
Bruce Lee rip-offs are a genre it themselves
Bruce Lee’s popularity reached such a point that an entire sub-genre, dubbed Bruceploitation, emerged. These films, made mostly in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan attempted to cash-in on Lee’s popularity by casting lookalike actors to appear in imitation martial arts films.
Lee should have worn glasses
Though he came across as the perfect human specimen in his prime, Lee was far from perfect. He needed to wear glasses for one thing, becoming one of the first people to try contact lenses, and even failed a physical exam with the US Army Draft Board in 1963.
The Kung-Fu hero trained to one specific song
Bruce Lee used to train to the Mission Impossible theme tune because it helped him to develop and hone a less predictable rhythm when show boxing and training ahead of a fight.
Bruce Lee chewed something a little stronger than gum
Lee was an avid cannabis user though he opted to chew the drug rather than smoke it. His cannabis of choice was Nepal Hashish, which is an extremely potent strain and one later incorrectly blamed for his death.
Lee was too fast for conventional cameras
The Kung-Fu hero’s speed was the stuff of legend. Lee used to demonstrate it by placing a coin in someone’s hand. He would usually be able to snatch it and replace the coin with another before the person could clench their fist and stop him. He was also asked to slow his punches and kicks down on film, because the cameras were struggling to pick his movements up.
He had his sweat glands surgically removed
Bruce Lee got so fed up of sweat stains, he opted to have his sweat glands surgically removed in 1972. Purely for aesthetic reasons.
Bruce Lee inspired a lot of video game characters
A lot of video game developers took inspiration from Bruce Lee when it came to creating their characters. Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat, Law from Tekken and Fei Long from Street Fighter II were all based on the martial arts master.
He used to charge big bucks for private lessons
Bruce trained a number of celebrities, including Steve McQueen, James Coburn, George Lazenby, Kareem Abdul Jabaar and Chuck Norris. He used used to charge (and get) $275 an hour for private martial arts lessons in the 60’s – the equivalent of $1800 per hour by today’s currency.
His daughter is in the Wesley Snipes movie Blade
While Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon, had his life tragically cut short during a stunt gone wrong on the film, The Crow his daughter Shannon Lee is still very much alive and has featured, briefly, in a few films down the years. Those credits include a small role as a “resident” in the 1998 superhero movie Blade, starring Wesley Snipes.
Birth of the Dragon comes to cinemas Friday 23rd February
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