[[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 popularly considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.

Born in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco on 27th November 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 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 Magazine 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.

Bruce 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: Bruce 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 Bruce [[CurbStompBattle had no mercy on him]].

Died tragically young on July 20th, 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 Bruce, 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, JetLi and 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''
* ''TheBigBoss''
* ''FistOfFury''
* ''WayOfTheDragon''
* ''EnterTheDragon''
* ''GameOfDeath''
* ''Tower Of Death'', AKA ''Game Of Death II'' (sorta.)

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!!Bruce Lee is the TropeNamer for:

* BruceLeeClone
* DontThinkFeel
* FunnyBruceLeeNoises

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!!Tropes associated with him include:

* ActionHero: His standard character, though he [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] it in ''Fist of Fury''.
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Legend holds that Lee was persecuted by his classmates for being mixed-race. Lee's mother Grace Ho had some European ancestry.
* 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: Believe it or not, Bruce played this role once on film, as a teenager in Hong Kong. Excerpts can be found on the ''The Real Bruce Lee 2'' DVD.
* {{Badass}}: Both on screen and off.
* BigOlEyebrows
* BloodUpgrade: A mainstay in his fight scenes.
* BMovie
* BoringButPractical / CombatPragmatist: He loved these tropes, up to the point where he developed his own fighting style based entirely around them called Jeet Kun Do (way of the intercepting fist). However, in practice, everything he did off-screen ended up falling under AwesomeYetPractical, anyway.
* 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 HongKong, 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 as the ability to punch so quickly that 24 frames per second cannot capture his movement. 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.
* TheComicallySerious: Once or twice. [[http://forgifs.com/gallery/d/152745-2/Bruce_Lee_reaction.gif Specially here.]]
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Any one of his movies, where he's outnumbered 80:1; and when they use weapons, he whips out his nunchucks to do things the lazy way.
* DanceBattler: Lee was also an award winner in cha-cha. It's this expertise in dancing that gave him his expertise in martial arts footwork. Or possibly the other way round.
* 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.
* MrFanservice: Has quite a following of fangirls for being athletic ''and'' good looking, particularly in his younger days.
* FightingWithChucks: He made the Nunchaku famous, with such sequences like the big fight in Han's basement from ''EnterTheDragon''. He also fought with a single [[ChuckNorris Chuck]] in ''WayOfTheDragon''.
* FountainOfExpies: To the point it [[BruceLeeClone got its own trope]].
* GeniusBruiser: He had a college degree in philosophy.
* 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 ChuckNorris fight, where after a series of rapid punches and kicks, he knocks him over with haymakers.
* GunsAreWorthless: Averted. Bruce had no illusions about the supremacy of an armed man against an unarmed one. One of the reasons he signed on to ''EnterTheDragon'' 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.
* HalfBreedDiscrimination: He suffered discrimination growing up, because his mother was half-German.
* 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]]. Bruce 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:
** Lee would sometimes attack friends randomly with grappling moves just to prove they couldn't get out of it.
** Before he became famous, he was known to throw temper tantrums when people had differing opinions on what to do.
** 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 imitates them.
* LightningBruiser: His characters and in real life. When the song said "Those kicks were fast as lightning", this is why.
* MalignedMixedMarriage: Him and his wife Linda Lee faced opposition to their marriage in both the U.S and Hong Kong.
* MusclesAreMeaningless: Lee was very skinny, but with great muscle tone. He weighed about 160 pounds at his heaviest, and slimmed down in later years. By his movie-making prime, he was about 135-140 pounds, 5'7, and could do pushups with a 250 pound man standing on his back.
* PapaWolf: One popular anecdote told by a friend of his claims that a man broke into his house to challenge him to a fight, scaring his family, so he hospitalized the man with one kick.
* PintSizedPowerhouse: He really was a short guy, but of course underestimating him by his height was a ''really'' bad idea in a fight.
* PowerCopying: He built his personal martial arts style by "absorbing what is useful" from multiple styles.
* RapidFireFisticuffs: Good lord, he could hit quickly. Some scenes in his movies had to actually be ''slowed down'' in editing so that you could tell what was going on.
* RatedMForManly: All of his movies, all of them the noble variation.
* RealMenWearPink: According to his wife, Bruce loved soap operas, especially ''Series/GeneralHospital''. He was also a highly skilled ballroom dancer, with cha-cha being his favorite.
* RenownedSelectiveMentor: Even before he hit the big time as a movie star, he was able to charge $1000 an hour for his martial arts lessons and still be able to pick and choose his students.
* 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.
* SomeCallMeTim: Lee Jun-Fan is one of his many Chinese given names.
* StatingTheSimpleSolution: In an interview, Bruce cited the presence of guns as the reason why most martial-arts films were set in centuries other than the 20th.
-->'''Bruce:''' Nowadays, you can't just go around kicking people, or punching people, because if you do...''*he pantomimes pulling out a pistol and shooting it*''...that's it.
* TooDumbToLive: The thief who scared his family got sent to the hospital with a single punch.
* TrainingFromHell: Not only could he do one-finger pushups, he spent hours punching a stool to toughen up his fists.
* 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.
* UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny: Invoked by Bruce himself. He would spend hours studying Muhammad Ali's fights in books and film, analyzing the most minute details. When asked why his only answer was [[BadassBoast "Because one day I am going to fight him."]]
* 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.''
* WarriorPoet: Lee studied philosophy extensively and wrote books about his own philosophy of martial arts. He also wrote quite a bit of poetry during his lifetime, the list of his poems is there on TheOtherWiki.

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