Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍; pinyin: Lǐ Xiăolóng, born Lee Jun-fan (Chinese: 李振藩; pinyin: Lǐ Zhènfān); 27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was a Chinese American and Hong Kong actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement. He is considered one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century, and a cultural icon.
Lee was born in San Francisco, California in the United States, to parents of Hong Kong heritage but raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. Upon reaching the age of 18, Lee emigrated to the United States to claim his U.S. Citizenship and receive his higher education. It was during this time he began teaching martial arts, which soon led to film and television roles.
His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, and sparked a major 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 Hong Kong and the rest of the world as well. He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films, Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973), directed by Robert Clouse; and The Game of Death (1978), directed by Lee.
Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world and remains very popular among Asian audience and in particular among the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese nationalism through his films. While Lee initially trained in Wing Chun, he later rejected well-defined martial art styles, favoring instead to utilize useful techniques from various sources in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).