BRUCE LEE 李小龍

Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍; born Lee Jun-fan, Chinese: 李振藩) November 27, 1940 in Chinatown, San Francisco. He was a Hong Kong American martial artist, action film actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film maker, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen. He is widely considered by commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time, and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.

He was introduced to the film industry by his father and appeared in several films as a child actor. His Hong Kong and Hollywood- produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in the United States, Hong Kong and the rest of the world. He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest's Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1973), both directed by Robert Clouse. On May 10, 1973, Lee collapsed whilst working on Enter the Dragon. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. They were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol. The headache and cerebral edema that occurred in his first collapse were later repeated on the day of his death.

On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, to have dinner with James Bond star George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee's wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film 'Game of Death'. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee's colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting's home.

When Lee failed to attend a dinner later that evening, producer Raymond Chow went to his apartment and discovered that he was unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital after a doctor failed to revive him after ten minutes.

According to autopsy reports, at the time of Lee’s death his brain had swollen to 13%. Traces of Equagesic, a painkiller, were also found in his blood, this was both an aspirin and a muscle relaxant. Controversy sparked however when Don Langford, the doctor who treated Lee at the time of his first collapse, stated that the painkiller that supposedly caused Lee’s death was absent at the time of the

first collapse. There was no visible external injuries on his body.

Dr. Donald Langford, (Lee’s doctor in Hong Kong) said, "Nobody dies from one tablet of Equagesic. No analgesic killed Bruce." He added: "People weren't about to step up and say Bruce Lee had died from eating cannabis [which was found in his stomach, and which he had consumed regularly for some time due to the stress of his fame] or some related product. At the beginning of the inquest proceedings, Dr. Wu and a couple of other doctors and I were pulled to the side and asked to play down the role of cannabis in Bruce’s death."

The preliminary opinion of Dr. Peter Wu, the neurosurgeon who treated Lee during his first seizure in May 1973, was that the cause of death should have been attributed to either a reaction to cannabis or Equagesic. He has stated that "We removed quite a lot of hashish from his stomach [in May]. In Nepal there have been all kinds of neurological problems associated with hashish, especially cerebral edema." However, Wu officially backed off from his position.

Professor Teare was a forensic scientist recommended by Scotland Yard who was brought in as an expert on cannabis. Stating "The dosage of cannabis is neither precise nor predictable, but I've never known of anyone dying simply from taking it". When the doctors announced Lee's death officially, it was ruled a "death by misadventure".

At the 1975 San Diego Comic-Con convention, Bruce Lee's friend Chuck Norris attributed his death to a reaction between the muscle-relaxant medication he had been taking since 1968 for a ruptured disk in his back, and an "antibiotic" he was given for his headache on the night of his death.

Different rumours also started to arise as to the reason of Lee’s death. One of the most prevalent theories was that the actor might have received a Dim-Mak, or a “Touch of Death”, weeks prior to Lee’s death. Dim-Mak was supposedly, according to oral tradition, a martial arts technique that can kill using seemingly less than lethal force by attacking focal pressure points of the body. Another rumour was that Lee was murdered by the triads.

Lee's wife Linda returned to her hometown of Seattle, and had him buried at lot 276 of Lakeview Cemetery. Pallbearers at his funeral on July 31, 1973 included Taky Kimura, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Chuck Norris, George Lazenby, Dan Inosanto, Peter Chin, and Lee's brother Robert.

Bruce Lee’s untimely demise was a huge loss for the film industry, especially that of the martial arts scene. He was regarded by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. At such a young age, he was able to contribute so much-who knows what else he could have done if he were given a much longer life?

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