[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bruce_lee.jpg]]

->''"I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times."''

The quintessential martial arts film star, particularly for action films set in contemporary times, and is widely considered to be the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.

Born in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco on November 27, 1940 (in a Year of the Dragon, appropriately), his time growing up was split between Hong Kong and America, specifically Los Angeles and UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}}. This resulted in having a strong command of English that helped distance himself from the stereotype of the halted Asian accent. His first real break was playing Kato in ''Franchise/TheGreenHornet'' TV series as a HypercompetentSidekick. Kato became a BreakoutCharacter, and in Asia the show was was [[MarketBasedTitle renamed]] ''The Kato Show''. He proceeded to gain a strong fanbase for Asian MartialArtsMovie films until he was made an international star with the (internationally-produced) legendary film ''EnterTheDragon.'' ''Time'' named him a person of the 20th century as the shining example of personal improvement through physical fitness while he is universally recognized as one of the ultimate film star tough guys.

He achieved this status with only one TV series, a scattering of TV guest appearances, and five martial arts films done in his adulthood, one of which, ''[[GameOfDeath The Game of Death]]'', was unfinished by the time of his death. The affectionate biographical film ''Film/DragonTheBruceLeeStory'', where he was played by Jason Scott Lee (no relation), suggests that his success in America helped to reduce the offensive levels of the AsianAndNerdy and [[AsianRudeness rude Asian]] stereotypes.

Lee was, and continues to be, a revered figure in the world of martial arts. He espoused a CombatPragmatist fighting style and created his own approach, Jeet Kune Do (Way of the Intercepting Fist), in order to create more practical martial arts. This style and the philosophy behind it (the most well-known tenet being "Absorb what is useful") has led some to call him the founding father of UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts, though this is hardly unanimous. The popularity of ''[[FightingWithChucks nunchaku]]'' ("nunchuks") is directly tied to his use of them in several films. This didn't mean he was a slouch in intellectual matters, either: Lee graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology (though he also studied philosophy extensively). Lee used that latter knowledge to write a book about the philosophy behind his martial art. In short, this Asian man embodied the Greek ideal of having a sound mind in a sound body.

Said to be a DanceBattler, since he was both a badass WarriorPoet ''and'' an award-winning chachacha dancer. Also? He was always ready to take a challenge from martial artists -- but the time one of them scared his kids, Brandon and Shannon, [[PapaWolf Lee]] [[CurbStompBattle had no mercy on him]].

Died tragically young on July 20, 1973 at the age of 32, from a brain aneurysm caused by a reaction between painkillers and brain swelling medication. His death sparked urban legends about his "true" cause of death, ranging from suicide to being a target of the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]]. And like with Elvis Presley, there are those who still believe he never died [[ElvisLives and faked his own death]].

His death so devastated the Hong Kong film industry that producers began casting numerous {{Bruce Lee Clone}}s in their movies, with the hope that audiences, starved for Lee, would simply accept the poor imitations. [[EpicFail While, by and large, it didn't work]], there are a few renowned martial arts stars who managed to get their first break during this period, Creator/JetLi and Creator/JackieChan among the most famous.

Also tragically, his son Brandon [[FatalMethodActing died from a prop gun accident]] on the set of ''Film/TheCrow''.

Truly, father and son both, TooCoolToLive.

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!!Notable roles:

* Kato in ''Franchise/TheGreenHornet''
* ''Film/TheBigBoss''
* ''Film/FistOfFury''
* ''Film/WayOfTheDragon''
* ''Film/EnterTheDragon''
* ''Film/GameOfDeath''
* ''Tower of Death'' a.k.a. ''Game of Death II'' (sorta)

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!!Bruce Lee is the {{trope namer}} of:

* BruceLeeClone
* DontThinkFeel
* FunnyBruceLeeNoises

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!!Tropes associated with his work include:

* ActionHero: His standard character, though he [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] it in ''Fist of Fury''.
* ArtisticLicenseMartialArts: In spite of his reputation as the world's greatest martial artist, his movies feature a lot of this. He's admitted that jumping high kicks are only good for movies, and he would never use them in a real fight. However, Lee's films did not rely on the WireFu and hyperactive pace that was strongly associated with the genre at the time.
* AsianAndNerdy: He also does a bit of it in ''Fist of Fury'', when he impersonates a telephone repairman to infiltrate the enemy headquarters. As the Podcast/{{Rifftrax}} guys point out, he seems like a Chinese man doing Jerry Lewis doing a Chinese man.
* {{Badass}}: Always an action hero.
* BigOlEyebrows: An unintentional example, given that Lee was born with them.
* BloodUpgrade: A mainstay in his fight scenes.
* BMovie: His early movies were treated as B-movies in America.
* BrickBreak: Lee would demonstrate his famous "one inch punch" on boards, though he would criticize board breaking later on.
* BrieferThanTheyThink: His film career included work as a child and teenager, as well as many bit parts in Hong Kong, but he only starred in 4 complete films over a 3 year period (plus ''Game of Death'', which was unfinished).
* BringIt: Common in his movies, and frequently homaged.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower: Lee's followers often ascribe him abilities that border on superhuman, such that the viral video (falsified by the ad company) of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqGQ72bre30 Bruce Lee playing ping pong]] using [[FightingWithChucks nunchuks]] was done well enough and Lee's own superhuman reputation was such that many believed wholeheartedly that it was all true.
* CombatPragmatist: Lee put this into his fight scenes based on his own fighting philosophy, called Jeet Kun Do (Way of the Intercepting Fist).
* TheComicallySerious: Once or twice. [[http://forgifs.com/gallery/d/152745-2/Bruce_Lee_reaction.gif Specially here.]]
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Cuts through crowds of [[MookChivalry chivalrous mooks]], usually with only a few blows each, but his one-on-one fights last much longer.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: Dying in his prime almost certainly aided his legendary reputation.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: His first "big" film, ''The Big Boss'', is very different from his other films. It's a little more cartoony (cut-out wall punch), cheesey (the big bad's demise), very bloody and Lee's character has a lot more trouble against his final opponent, rather than curbstomping the second half, than those that would follow.
* FightingWithChucks: He made the nunchaku famous, with such sequences like the big fight in Han's basement from ''Enter the Dragon''. He also fought with a single [[ChuckNorris Chuck]] in ''Way of the Dragon''.
* FountainOfExpies: To the point it [[BruceLeeClone got its own trope]].
* GeniusBruiser: His characters are always as intelligent as they are powerful.
* GoodOldFisticuffs: While much of his movements are more along the lines of LightningBruiser territory, he dabbles into this at his slowest moments. A good example would be the Chuck Norris fight, where after a series of rapid punches and kicks, he knocks him over with haymakers.
* GunsAreWorthless: Averted. Lee had no illusions about the supremacy of an armed man against an unarmed one. One of the reasons he signed on to ''Enter the Dragon'' was the possibility that, since he was playing a badass SecretAgent, he might get to carry a gun in a few scenes; he was disappointed when he learned that the script required his character to go in unarmed, and he changed the script slightly so that the character's annoyance at the rules would reflect his own.
* HeCleansUpNicely: Ever seen him in a suit and tie, all groomed up? No? Then, [[http://supercoolitude.fr/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/bruce-lee%20%2811%29.jpg just see]]. Lee was pretty famous for being a stylish fellow. A number of years ago, Japanese toy company Medicom released an entire line of Bruce Lee 12" dolls based on the various stylish attires he wore. In another example, Bruce's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtfBaLEo2qY only English role where martial arts wasn't involved]] (an episode of ''HereComeTheBrides'' called "Marriage Chinese Style"). Likewise, his only turn as an antagonist when he played Winslow Wong in ''Marlowe'' in two different but just as stylish suits.
* IAmNotLeonardNimoy
* IHaveManyNames: Bruce Lee, Lee Junfan, Sai-fon, Li Yuanxin, Li Yuanjian and Li Xiaolong. The fact that he has so many names just boosts his legendary status.
* InsufferableGenius:
** During the ''Franchise/{{The Green Hornet}}''[=/=]''[[{{Series/Batman}} Batman]]'' crossover, Bruce apparently flew off the handle at the revelation that Robin was supposed to beat Kato and threatened to beat the actor to within an inch of his life if the script wasn't changed. Supposedly, Bruce even chased Robin's actor Burt Ward around the set until someone made a joke about "the black panther and the yellow canary," after which everyone broke down laughing.
** And there's the original cut of ''Game of Death''. He fights through the world masters of all martial arts, kills them, and finally fights the only foe who can match him...someone who practices Jeet Kun Do.
* {{Kiai}}: Lee's whooping kiais were intended to convey the power of his attacks and became a signature of his fight scenes. Just about anyone who parodies kung fu films will imitate them.
* LightningBruiser: His characters and in real life. When the song said "Those kicks were fast as lightning", this is why.
* MookChivalry: Lee's films include lots of scenes where mooks surrounding him and attack one at a time.
* MrFanservice: Has quite a following of fangirls for being athletic ''and'' good looking, particularly in his younger days.
* RapidFireFisticuffs: Most of his fight scenes focus on the speed at which Lee could deliver his attacks.
* RatedMForManly: All of his movies, all of them the noble variation.
* ShirtlessScene: Every single one of his movies has at least one. You can count on him kicking a lot more ass if his top is torn or removed.
* SilentSnarker: In most films or even in interviews, you could always tell what he was thinking without him saying anything.
* ShortLivedBigImpact: He didn't star in very many films, and died at the age of 32, but Bruce Lee is widely credited with introducing martial-arts films to the United States, and popularizing East Asian culture. His fighting philosophy still lives on to this day, and he has inspired dozens upon dozens of Bruce Lee clones.
* TranquilFury: Most of his films often portray his anger this way, the only time he ever expresses a berserk style reaction is when he strikes a blow to someone.
* TypeCasting: As the Asian version of JohnWayne.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: In many of his movies, the only times his torso is fully covered is when he's in one of his disguises. This suggests that ''his chest is more distinctive identification than his face.''
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