Born on this day in 1940, Bruce Lee would go on to become one of the best-known martial artists in modern history and a trailblazing figure for Asian and Asian-American representation in Hollywood. Lee starred in more than 30 films before he died at 32 in 1973. He also appeared as Kato in the American TV series The Green Hornet. Lee is also credited with founding his own form of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, and with a series of philosophical and practical quotes that flooded Twitter when users realized that he would have been 80 today and remembered Lee's contribution to pop culture, cinema, and martial arts.
Prior to his movie career fame, Lee took up martial arts under the Wing Chun teacher, Yip Man, in 1954. He would go on to popularize Kung-fu in the Western world with his movies and eventually create Jeet Kune Do, and train some of the best-known American martial artists as well as celebrity students like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Steve McQueen.
Lee passed away following a cerebral edema in 1973. Months before his death, he had a seizure and was diagnosed to the hospital, where they found an edema. The same happened again on the day of his death, after he complained of a headache, was given an unfamiliar medication, and left to take a nap.
His iconic life and young death fueled a never-ending enthusiasm for his work, as well as conspiracy theories surrounding his death. These continue to this day, and are only further fueled by the tragic passing of Lee's son Brandon, who was killed by a malfunctioning stunt weapon on the set of the comic book movie The Crow.
We gathered up a number of responses to Lee's 80th birthday, which you can check out below.
Forever an inspirationprevnext
"A real life anime character"
We're not even sure what that means, but it sounds good.
Bruce Lee was a real life anime character. RIP and happy bday to a legend 🙏🏼 https://t.co/WfW67hKi9U— Spaghetti Mafia Dro 🇵🇷🌹 (@DroInTheWind_) November 27, 2020
A pretty cool bass
Happy birthday to the legend. Watching Bruce Lee’s movies with my dad is one the most vivid memories of my childhood that I can remember. His jumpsuit actually inspired my bass that you see in the Dreamville doc too✨ pic.twitter.com/RvKfEBSf9f— lu (@OLANSOUND) November 27, 2020
Filmed in slow motion
I freaking love Bruce Lee. He was long gone b4 I was born but his movies are amazing. They had to film this guy in slow motion! He was a sidekick on a show, and in his country that gave him top billing! He was a ballroom dancer! Legendary!— Latoya Collins (@Fandomoverload) November 27, 2020
(VOLUME UP)— Sketches From Frank (@sketchesf_frank) November 27, 2020
Happy birthday to the Martial Arts legend himself, Bruce Lee! @brucelee #BruceLee #JeetKuneDo #MartialArts #Art #Drawing #Sketch #Sketches #FigureDrawing #Charcoal #Divergent #Contemporary #Sketchwork #followme #sketchbook #MiamiArtist pic.twitter.com/cMyGcw7MtF
Remembering some favorite moments
There's an underappreciated art in stunt coordination of making a group fight look like it could actually occur without it looking too scripted, and this is one of the very best ones. Part of it is just how fast Bruce Lee was, but leaving all of this in a wide shot was ballsy. https://t.co/67YoN48QqI— Jacob Ethington (@JacobTalks4ever) November 27, 2020
This whole fight sequence owns harder than the grand majority of action scenes of its ilk. Minus some stock sound effects and some poor fake blood, this sequence is just seven minutes of watching Bruce Lee decimate souls. It's pretty close to perfect: https://t.co/epHqOOWszH— Jacob Ethington (@JacobTalks4ever) November 27, 2020
Growing up as an Asian American, Bruce Lee had quite an effect on me. To think this cultural icon would have been 80 today is beyond words.November 27, 2020
Middle school art project
Happy birthday to the legendary Bruce Lee! This was my middle school art project 40 years ago. Bruce Lee was my first hero. pic.twitter.com/nvfWYlBCO9— #HelpYouGetGAINS (@helpYOUgetGAINS) November 27, 2020
Yes, there's a Mandalorian connection
Watched it after Breakfast, "oh cool, Ahsoka is in this" -- "Nice, Baby Yoda's name is finally revealed." --"Oh look, Dan Inosanto's daughter/Bruce Lee's goddaughter plays the Magistrate, and Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese among other characters) has a duel with Mando"— Felix Lazaro (@F3LiXtheII) November 27, 2020
There's always new content
Very cool! Shannon Lee has a new book called "Be Water, My Friend" based on Bruce Lee’s philosophy and advice! We talked about her book (and the TV series Warrior) last month. @brucelee https://t.co/EzAZ2bw0D6— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) November 27, 2020