What does Bruce Lee have to do with Wing Chun? It's not just martial arts name-dropping. In fact, long before he became famous as a Hollywood actor, he helped make Wing Chun famous in Hong Kong.
1940 - Born in San Francisco, California, USA at the Jackson Street Hospital on November 27. Son of Lee Hoi-Chuen and Grace Lee. Named Lee Jun-Fan, meaning "Return again Lee" in hopes he'd return to the United States some day. The family name Lee is pronounced "lay" in Bruce's native Cantonese dialect.
1941 Returned with family to Kowloon, Hong Kong.
1952 Entered La Salle College, a Catholic boy's school. Bruce was not of the Catholic faith, but it was hoped he would get a better education by attending this school.
1952-1959 Attended St. Francis Xavier College. This isn't a college as the word is used in the USA, but a high school.
1954-1957 Studied Wing Chun under the instruction of Ip Man where he learned as far as the second hand form and part of the wooden dummy form. He didn't finish the wooden dummy form, learn the third hand form or weapons forms. Bruce with Wong Sheun-Leung, William Cheung, and others, made Wing Chun famous in Hong Kong by winning numerous challenge matches against other martial artists.
1957-1958 Continued Wing Chun under the instruction of Wong Shun-Leung.
1957-1959 Continued Wing Chun under the instruction of William Cheung.
1958 Appeared in Movie "The Orphan." Won Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship.
1959 Returned to San Francisco, California, USA in April.
1959-1963 Moved to Seattle, Washington. Finished High School, then majored in Philosophy at the University of Washington. Since he hadn't completed his study of Wing Chun and faced now with larger opponents, he began to examine and incorporate aspects of other martial arts into his fighting style. This eventually led him to create and teach his own personal system.
1963 Wrote "Chinese Gung Fu: the philosophical art of self defense" (Burbank: Ohara, 1963) [this book isn't about Wing Chun]. Trip to Hong Kong.
1963-1964 Returned to Seattle. Moved to Oakland, California.
1964 Gave first major demonstration at Ed Parker's Long Beach Karate Internationals in August.
Married Linda C. Emery in Seattle. Lived with James Yimm Lee family in Oakland.
1965 Son Brandon born on February 1. Visited Hong Kong. Returned from Hong Kong to Seattle in September.
1966 Moved to Los Angeles in March.
1966-1967 Appeared as Kato in the television series "The Green Hornet" between 9 September 1966 and 14 July 1967. What you see in his TV and movie roles is not Wing Chun--instead this is his "movie" style.
1969 Appeared in "Marlowe" with James Garner. Daughter Shannon born April 19.
1971 Moved to Hong Kong in October. Starred in "The Big Boss" and "Fist of Fury."
1972 Starred in "Way of the Dragon" and "Game of Death" (unfinished). Assisted in the publication of "Wing Chun Kung Fu" with James Yimm Lee. Death of his Wing Chun Sifu Ip Man in Hong Kong on December 1. Bruce did not attend the funeral--conflicting reasons have been given.
1973 Starred in "Enter the Dragon." Died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on July 28. Survived by Linda Lee, his widow. Buried at Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle north of Volunteer Park, in the Capitol Hill area east of downtown Seattle. After entering the cemetery, follow the road straight ahead towards the top of the hill. Then turn north from there and within a few feet you should find the gravesite of Bruce and his son Brandon just to your right (east) of the road. Gates are open from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M.