Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940 in the year of the Dragon while his father was on tour with the Chinese Opera.
Lee was raised, however, in Hong Kong, where he began his first formal training in martial arts with Wing Chung master Yip Man when he was 13. At the age of 18, Lee returned to the United States and attended the University of Washington in Seattle. As a philosophy student at the University, he began to train students in the art of the Chinese Gung Fu. Lee met his wife Linda during this time and opened his first school, the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.
Lee later opened schools in Oakland and Los Angeles while he and Linda raised their son Brandon and daughter Shannon. Lee quickly began to develop new ideas about martial arts and training based on many of his experiences, leading him to the creation of his own art called Jeet Kune Do. He went on to train many private celebrity students, such as Steve McQueen and James Coburn, and became a celebrity in his own right with his entree into American media via The Green Hornet. His later films catapulted him into iconic status.
Bruce Lee’s life was cut short when he died in 1973 from a cerebral edema caused by an allergic reaction to pain medication. One of TIME magazine’s 100 most important people of the 20th century, a Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee, and with a well-deserved Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lee’s contributions to many fields continue to be strong. Even four decades after his passing, he remains one of the most relevant sources of inspiration and motivation to millions around the world. Bruce Lee will be represented at the Asian Hall of Fame by the Bruce Lee Foundation.