Bruce Lee Death true story

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Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)
Starring Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly   Directed by Rob Cohen
based on the books "Bruce Lee: The Biography" by Robert Clouse and "Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew" by Linda Lee Cadwell
Reel Face: Real Face:
Jason Scott Lee Jason Scott Lee

November 19, 1966
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Bruce Lee Bruce Lee

November 27, 1940
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Died: July 20, 1973, Hong Kong (cerebral edema)

Lauren Holly Lauren Holly

October 28, 1963
Birthplace: Bristol, Pennsylvania, USA
Linda Lee Emery Linda Lee

March 21, 1945
Birthplace: Munich, Bavaria, Germany

"Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend."
-Bruce Lee

Questioning the Story:

(Bruce Lee's Death)

Were demons the real cause of Bruce Lee's death?
No. The movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story suggests that a family curse was the cause of Bruce Lee's demise. The movie shows Bruce (Jason Scott Lee) battling an all to real demon that comes to him in his dreams. Was the real Bruce dreaming about this demon shortly before his death, as he lay unconscious on the couch in Betty Ting Pei's Hong Kong apartment? Likely not.

In reality, Lee's rumored mistress Betty Ting Pei claims that on July 20, 1973, Bruce lay down on her couch to take a nap after she gave him a prescription analgesic (painkiller) for a headache. When Bruce failed to show up for a dinner meeting, producer Raymond Chow, who had been at Betty's apartment earlier, came back and tried to wake Lee up. Chow was not successful and a doctor was then summoned who spent close to ten minutes trying to revive Lee. When he could not be revived, Bruce Lee was then taken by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He was dead before the ambulance arrived.

An autopsy revealed that Bruce Lee most likely died from an adverse reaction to an ingredient in the prescription Equagesic tablet given to him by Betty Ting Pei. The presence of cannabis (marijuana leaves) was also found in his stomach, but not in an amount that could kill him (it is believed that he chewed it). Yet, it may have been this combination of cannabis with one or more of the ingredients in the Equagesic tablet that caused his brain to swell from 1,400 to 1,575 grams (13%), leading to a cerebral edema, a condition that is defined as an excess accumulation of water in the intra- and/or extra-cellular spaces of the brain. The condition can be brought on by an allergic reaction, such as in Bruce's case.

Although it is uncommon, it is possible that Bruce was allergic to cannabis (marijuana). This allergic reaction could have been heightened by the Equagesic tablet that he ingested. Doctors officially declared Bruce Lee's passing as "death by misadventure," but the doctors who had treated Bruce for a similar prior incident (see below) believe that Bruce died from the marijuana he ingested. The type of marijuana he was taking (Nepal hashish) was one of the most near-lethal strains of unrefined hashish.

(The analgesic known as Equagesic is a painkiller that combines Aspirin and the muscle relaxant meprobamate. Some forms may contain the opioid ethoheptazine. The drug can be taken to relieve tension headaches, however it was banned from use in the UK in 2002, as less toxic alternatives became available.)

Bruce Lee Tao of Jeet Kune Do Book
Purchase the Best-Selling Martial Arts Book of All-Time

This must-have work includes hundreds of Bruce Lee's illustrations and descriptions regarding technique (grappling, striking, kicking, etc.). It is the book that Lee was working on when he was laid up in bed due to his back injury.

Had Bruce Lee been previously taken to the hospital for the same condition that led to his death?
Yes. On May 10, 1973, a little over two months before his death, Bruce passed out at Golden Harvest Studios in Hong Kong while dubbing his voice for Enter the Dragon. The air conditioners at the studio had been turned off, because the noise they made interfered with the dubbing process. The extreme heat was a likely factor in Bruce's collapse. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated by his family doctor, Dr. "Don" Langford and neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Wu. Both physicians believe that the cause of Bruce Lee's death approximately two months later was the result of his use of cannabis (marijuana leaves), particularly through his preferred method of consuming the substance, not by smoking it, but instead by chewing it or eating hash brownies and cookies.
-Fighting Words

Could foul play have been the reason for Bruce Lee's death?
There is no evidence to support foul play as the reason for Bruce's death. However, Bruce's younger brother Robert Lee believes that some sort of foul play was involved in his brother's death. Robert believes that his brother's eroding physical condition and emotional symptoms were evidence of poisoning. Others have raised the idea that competing professional interests and dealings with Raymond Chow may have led to Bruce being murdered. Still, evidence has yet to surface to provide support for these theories. -Fighting Words

Was Bruce Lee's death the result of a family curse, as implied in the movie?
The movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story implies that a family curse was after Bruce for much of his life, and that he was given the American name Bruce to help evade the evil spirits. In reality, at the time of Bruce's birth a physician by the name of Dr. Mary Glover baby Bruce Lee small phoenix thought of the name Bruce, and she suggested it to his mother Grace Lee. His father was away performing in New York at the time. His mother liked the sound of the name and it stuck.

Shortly after his birth, Bruce's parents gave him the additional feminine name Li Saifung Pinyin: Li Xfng, which literally meant "small phoenix". It was Chinese custom to give such names to children in order to hide them from evil spirits. The name was used throughout Bruce's early childhood. The filmmakers embraced the notion of this Chinese custom and exaggerated it for the story. Many people who saw the 1993 film left the theater believing that a family curse took the life of Bruce Lee. It didn't help, of course, that the film failed to investigate or focus on any other possible causes for his death.

Was Bruce Lee on steroids?
Linda Lee's second husband, Tom Bleeker, believes that it was Bruce's abuse of anabolic steroids that damaged him both physically and emotionally. Tom Bleeker makes these claims in his book Unsettled Matters, which he wrote after his divorce with Linda. Bleeker believes that Bruce's steroid abuse may have begun in the late sixties. He is the only one to ever make such claims, and in his book he attempts to defend his accusations, "The issue of Lee's steroid use is complex," says Bleeker. "But the main thing that I wanted to get across was that steroids damaged Bruce physically and emotionally. Like so many other athletes who have used them Bruce paid a heavy price. I know that there will be those who will scream and yell that never in a million years would Bruce use steroids." Steroids however, may be one explanation for Lee's often erratic behavior and violent outbursts (roid rage) during the final years of his life. Tom Bleeker concludes that in the end, he believes that Bruce was either poisoned or suffered a massive adrenal failure from steroid or drug abuse.

Where is Bruce Lee buried?
Bruce is buried next to his son Brandon Lee in Seattle's Lake View Cemetery. The pallbearers at Bruce's funeral included his younger brother Robert Lee, and actors James Coburn and Steve McQueen. At the Hong Kong funeral ceremony over 25,000 mourners gathered in the streets. Bruce's four-foot red marble headstone reads "Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation." Engraved on his son Brandon Lee's tombstone is a passage from Paul Bowles' book The Sheltering Sky. It is a fitting excerpt for Bruce as well (Brandon had originally intended it to be on his wedding invitations):

"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless..."

Questioning the Story (Bruce Lee's Life):

Did a childhood nightmare really prompt Bruce to begin his martial arts training?
No. Unlike what we see in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Bruce actually began his martial arts training at the age of thirteen after being beaten up by a street gang. He took Kung-Fu lessons and began to train under Sifu Yip Man, a master of the Wing Chun system of Kung-Fu.

When did Bruce Lee's acting career really begin?
Young Bruce Lee in ThunderstormIn the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, a producer discovers Bruce after witnessing his martial arts abilities. In real life, Bruce had acted sporadically since his early childhood. He first appeared in The Golden Gate Girl (1941) when he was only 3 months old, showing up in a scene where he is carried by his real life father, Lee Hoi-Chuen. Bruce's family connections to the world of show business originated through his father, who was a native Hong Kong actor and a singer with the Cantonese Opera Company. This is the reason why Bruce was born in San Francisco and not in Hong Kong, because his father was on a one-year U.S. tour with the Opera Company.

When Bruce was six-years-old the director of one of his father's films offered Bruce a part, telling Bruce's father that there was something very special about his young son. This marked the true beginning of Bruce's career as an actor, which led to roles in over twenty films, including the 1957 Hong Kong movie The Thunderstorm (Lei yu), in which Lee is pictured above.

Did Bruce Lee really have a passion for dancing?
Yes. When Bruce was fourteen he discovered dancing and he immediately fell in love with the art. His natural agility and grace made it easy for him to learn all of the popular dances of the day. He preferred the Cha Cha, and he eventually became the Hong Kong Cha Cha champion. He would later reveal that dancing helped him with his movement and his footwork when he was developing his fighting style.

Why and when did Bruce Lee come to America?
As a teenager, Bruce continually found himself in street fights. In high school, he was picked up by the police for fighting. His mother Grace could not take anymore of her son's unruly behavior, and in 1959 she shipped him off to America to live with friends of the family. It was in America that Bruce finished high school and continued to nurture his love for the martial arts.

Did Bruce Lee really work as a dishwasher when he came to America?
This part of the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is somewhat true. After finishing high school in the United States, Bruce attended the University of Washington, and it was then that he worked nights as a busboy and waiter at Ruby Chow's, a Seattle restaurant (in the film he worked at the fictional Gussier Yang's restaurant in San Francisco). In real life, Bruce lived in the restaurant's attic and worked there as a way to pay rent. Although, it wasn't long before he quit the job to start teaching Kung-Fu for a living.

Where did Bruce Lee and future wife Linda Emery go on their first date?
On October 25, 1963, Bruce took Linda Emery to dinner at Seattle's Space Needle (See Space Needle Google Map). They were married the following year on August 17, 1964.

Had Bruce previously proposed to someone else before Linda?
Yes. Around the summer of 1963, at age 23, Bruce proposed marriage to a Japanese woman named Amy Sanbo. She turned him down. Rejected, he returned to Hong Kong with friend Doug Palmer to visit his family, before having to resume his education in the fall at the University of Washington, where he had been studying philosophy.

Did Bruce open his own kung-fu school at Linda's suggestion?
No. Contrary to what is shown in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Bruce had opened his school sometime around March of 1961, close to a year and a half before he started dating Linda. His early teachings to students at the University of Washington were the beginnings of his creation of a new version of Kung Fu that he would later name "Jeet Kune Do". Other instructors only taught people of their own race, while Bruce welcomed anyone who was willing to learn. In late 1963, around the time he and Linda began dating, Bruce moved his Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute into a building at 4750 University Way in Seattle (See Google Map).

Who were some of Bruce Lee's celebrity students?
Perhaps the most well known teaching relationship that Bruce had was with NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who co-starred with Bruce in his final film Game of Death. Bruce Lee also taught Steve McQueen (who Lee vowed he would one day be more famous than), actor James Coburn, film director Roman Polanski, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. His private students included his first ever Los Angeles student Ted Wong, in addition to karate champions Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, and Chuck Norris (who co-starred with Lee in Way of the Dragon (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973).

I heard that Bruce Lee was nearly drafted by the army, is this true?
Yes. In 1963 Bruce appeared before the U.S. Army Draft Board. They deemed him unfit for military service due to an un-descended testicle along with the fact that one of Bruce's legs was an inch longer than the other.

Did Bruce really get into a fight on the set of The Big Boss (aka Fists of Fury) like we see in the movie?
No. In Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story we see a staged fight on a movie set turn real and a director scrambling to get the action on film. In reality, there was no real fight on the set of The Big Boss (aka Fists of Fury). Bruce was, however, challenged several times on the set of Enter the Dragon. He mostly declined, but he would occasionally accept an opponent's challenge, only to toy with the less skilled martial artist.

Was Betty Ting Pei really Bruce Lee's mistress?
Betty Ting PeiIt is almost universally believed that Betty Ting Pei was in fact Bruce Lee's mistress. The press quoted Bruce as having said to his wife, Linda Emery, that Betty was "the one shining light on an otherwise dull film set". He was also quoted as saying: "Betty quite makes my day. She's a revelation with her cleverness". Betty Ting Pei's notoriety skyrocketed after the public discovered that it was at her apartment where Bruce had been found unconscious.

On the evening of his death, Betty and Bruce were supposed to have a dinner meeting with Raymond Chow and James Bond actor George Lazenby to discuss Bruce's upcoming film The Game of Death, in which Betty supposedly had a role, even though some people believe that she visited the film set only to see Bruce, not to take part in the film. Betty's friends openly supported the idea of a love affair between Betty and Bruce, as Felix Dennis states in his book King of Kung Fu. In 1976, Betty attempted to clarify her intimate relationship with Bruce by producing and starring in Bruce Lee and I, a film that was scrutinized for it's inappropriate sex scenes.

Did Bruce Lee really suffer a severe back injury during a fight like in the movie?
No. Though a similar fight to what we see in the movie did happen at Lee's school, he did not hurt his back during the fight. Instead, Bruce suffered the severe back injury in 1970 while exercising with weights. He injured his back doing Good Mornings, an exercise where you place a barbell on your shoulders and lean forward until your torso is at a ninety degree angle with your legs, repeating this motion for multiple reps. Doctors told Bruce that he would never be able to practice martial arts again. Confined to a bed, Bruce began to formulate his ideas into a series of notes encompassing eight two-inch thick binders. These writings were eventually published after his death (with the help of his wife Linda Lee) as The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Bruce also spent his recovery time looking after his son Brandon and his new daughter Shannon. He began to train again at six months, and after about a year he appeared to be fully recovered. In private however, he continued to suffer from chronic back pain.

Was the role of Bruce Lee originally offered to his son Brandon Lee?
Yes. The role of Bruce Lee was originally offered to Bruce's son Brandon Lee, who turned the part down. Brandon had been establishing himself as a rising action star at the time.Brandon Lee He had starred in films like Showdown in Little Tokyo with Dolph Lundgren and 1992's Rapid Fire. However, Brandon Lee is most remembered for his role as Eric Draven in 1993's cult hit The Crow. With only eight days of shooting left on The Crow, Brandon tragically lost his life after being shot with a prop gun that accidentally had a real bullet stuck in the chamber. Brandon's mother Linda and his Fiancee Eliza Hutton told director Alex Proyas that they both supported his decision to complete the movie. Proyas shot the remaining scenes using stunt double Chad Stahelski. A computer was then used to digitally render Brandon's face over Chad's.

Did either of Bruce Lee's children have a cameo in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story?
Yes. Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee has a cameo appearance as a singer in the party scene where Linda tells Bruce she is pregnant (with Shannon).

Tao of Jeet Kune Do

Bruce Lee Poem (from a Letter to Jhoon Rhee)

Bruce included the following poem in a handwritten letter to his friend Jhoon Rhee, who was responsible for helping to popularize Martial Arts in North America. Bruce wrote the poem to help encourage Rhee in his life. The poem can be found in the Jhoon Rhee Archives, and it is presented here as it appeared in Bruce Thomas' book Bruce Lee: Fighting Words.

Who am I?
That is the age-old question
Asked by every man
At one time or another.

Though he looks into a mirror
And recognizes the face,
Though he knows his own name
And age and history,
Still he wonders, deep down,
Who am I?

Am I a giant among men,
Master of all I survey,
Or an ineffectual pygmy
Who clumsily blocks his own 

Am I the self-assured gentleman
With a winning style,
The natural born leader
Who makes friends instantly,
Or the frightened heart
Tiptoeing among strangers,
Who, behind a frozen smile
Like a little boy lost in a dark

Most of us yearn to be one
But fear we are the other.
Yet we CAN be
What we aspire to be.

Those who cultivate
Their natural instincts,
Who set their sights
On the good, the admirable,
    the excellent,
And believe they can achieve it
Will find their confidence
And, in the process,
They will discover the true
Of him who looks back from
    the mirror.

Play the Bruce Lee Video Game

Video game coder Mark Rosten used the Blitz Basic programming language to recreate the classic Commodore 64 Bruce Lee video game for the modern PC. Here you can download the game and discover it either for the first time or all over again. Minimum Requirements: Windows 9x/Me/XP, DirectX 7.1, 3.1mb disk space, Sound card.

bruce lee video game commodore 64 DOWNLOAD - Bruce Lee Video Game

Link-to-Learn More:
Bruce Lee Foundation Website
Roger Ebert Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story Movie Review

Watch the Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story Movie Trailer:

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story movie trailer - SPLYCED



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