The transcript below is from the video “Bruce Lee – The Bitter Truth About the Tragic Death” by Strong Five.

Strong Five:

Bruce Lee could flow like water and twist nunchucks like no other. With mind-blowing blows, enlightening speed, he became the star of world cinema in just a few years. Unfortunately, Bruce Lee did not live to enjoy his fame and legendary status. Here’s the whole truth about the tragic death of Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee was practically made for cinema. As a kid growing up in Hong Kong, Lee was a prolific young actor who has starred in nearly 20 films. Upon returning home from a trip to the United States, he opened martial arts schools, trained celebrities including Steve McQueen and even wore a black mask and began fighting crime, while playing Kato in The Green Hornet. Lee introduced the Americans to Kung Fu. Unfortunately, the series only lasted for 26 episodes and was unable to launch on a massive scale. Frustrated by Hollywood executives who only gave him small roles, Lee packed his bags and returned to Hong Kong, where he found himself the most famous person of all. The Green Hornet was so popular in his homeland that he was called “the Kato show”. And Lee soon began starring in Hong Kong films.

Strong Five:

The first film starring Lee was Big Boss which became the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong history. He held that record until Lee’s second film Fist of Fury appeared shortly thereafter. Bruce even had the opportunity to take up the director’s post working on both sides of the camera for Way of the Dragon. After just 3 films, Lee suddenly became the king of Asian cinema and Hollywood finally decided it wanted to do business with him thoroughly. When Lee started hitting Asian box office records, he got a call from Warner Bros. It was a major Hollywood breakthrough for Lee and the result was the Enter the Dragon movie. It was his first English language film and it was an idyllic showcase of Lee’s philosophy, charisma and fighting skills. The plot featured the actor in the guise of a Shaolin warrior, tasked with sailing to an island fortress, joining a martial arts competition and destroying the drug lord who holds the place. With the help of a supporting actor, super awesome Jim Kelly and this is backed up by an excellent review by Lalo Schifrin.

Strong Five:

Lee created a Kung Fu film that is still considered one of the best action films ever made. And when the film hit theaters in August of 1973, it was a huge box office success, grossing $20 million and going to number one worldwide. Bruce Lee finally achieved great success. But by then, he was no longer alive to enjoy his incredible new fame.

Bruce Lee, with all his sculpted biceps and incredible abs, was what you might call a physical model. Lee jumped rope, did circuit training and did isometric exercises. He constantly worked on his superhero physique. The man seemed completely unstoppable but despite his physical form and incredible speed, the actor actually suffered from some serious health problems.

On May 10 of 1973, an exhausted Lee was working on the Enter the Dragon post production. He was doing some post-voice acting in a studio in Hong Kong when he suddenly started shaking and vomiting. The actor was rushed to the hospital and took several days to regain his ability to speak. After he got better, he underwent a full examination. But the doctors were not sure what happened to him. More precisely, they found out that he suffered from cerebral edema, which is when fluid builds up around the brain causing it to swell. But they did not know what caused it. It was a shocking discovery for 32-year-old Lee, who has always looked invincible on the big screen. Unfortunately, this was a harbinger of things to come.

Strong Five:

Bruce Lee died on July 20th, 1973, when he was only 32 years old. And this is how he spent his last day on earth. Lee was busy with his upcoming film The Game of Death. And also that day, he had a meeting with George Lazenby, hoping to bring James Bond’s character on board. After talking with Lazenby, Lee argued a bit with a friend and then drove to the apartment of his mistress Betty Ting Pei. They spent the next few hours in bed getting high and only stopped when Lee’s producer Raymond Chow showed up at their door. Lee began to willingly act out scenes from The Game of Death in front of him. It was then that everything turned out tragically. Lee felt dizzy and had a headache. After which, Ting Pei offered Lee a pill called Equagesic, a prescription drug that is both a pain reliever and a tranquilizer. After drinking it, Lee went to rest in the bedroom. Raymond left, leaving the two alone. And Ting Pei let her lover sleep for several hours. Unfortunately, when she finally decided to wake him up, he was already unconscious. Horrified, the girl called Chow for help. And even if the doctors quickly got to the scene, it was already too late. Bruce Lee, the great movie star and martial artist, died in his sleep.

Strong Five:

About a month before the Enter the Dragon film hit theaters and turned him into an international star, the news of Bruce Lee’s death swept across the world like a shock wave. But what exactly killed him? After an autopsy at the hospital, doctors found that Lee’s brain was swollen by nearly 13%. According to the official report, Lee died “because of blockage and brain edema”, for the same reason that he was hospitalized back in May of that year. The edema was initially attributed to marijuana in the actor’s body but this theory was questioned when Donald Teare appeared, a forensic expert recommended by Scotland Yard. Teare had previously performed an autopsy on Jimi Hendrix. So, he knew a thing or two about the drug overdose. And after he finished his investigation, he concluded that Lee had an allergic reaction to the Equagesic pill that Betty Ting Pei gave him for a headache. However, Ting Pei said that it was not the first time she had given it to Lee and apparently, it was not the drug that killed him. However, Donald Teare’s version of events was widely accepted.

Strong Five:

Unfortunately, when big celebrities die under strange circumstances, even incredibly insane conspiracy theories are bound to emerge. And there are still several similar ones circling around Bruce Lee. Raymond Chow made a big mistake after the death of Bruce Lee. In hopes of protecting the actor’s image, Chow’s production company said he died at home with his wife Linda. But as soon as the press found out the truth, the tabloids began to spread at lightning speed. In fact, many people have pointed the finger at Betty, claiming she was responsible for Lee’s death. With some even suggesting that she poisoned him on purpose. And this was not the only rumor of a rigged death. One of the most popular theories is that martial artists were sharpening their teeth on Lee for teaching his secrets to Westerners, so they decided to take him out. Some creatives say ninjas were responsible for this. While others claim that Lee was killed by the help of the Dim Mak, a mythical combat move that supposedly kills the victim with a single blow. Some believe that he was killed after refusing to pay money to the triads. While others claim that the mafia got to him as Lee did not allow them to control his career. There are even mystical conspiracy theories, which say that the curse lay on the family, which took the lives of Bruce Lee and his son Brandon Lee. But despite all these crazy assumptions, Lee was not killed by the mobster and was not poisoned by his mistress. The one-inch punch master fell victim to one tiny pill.




Strong Five:

Game of Death could be the greatest martial arts movie ever. Bruce Lee starred in his glorious sportswear. And the plot told about a hero who fights with opponents in search of some valuable item, while at each level he is met by a new boss and each of them was a master of a particular style of martial art. Lee had to demonstrate various principles of his Jeet Kune Do philosophy in order to defeat all of his opponents. Unfortunately, the shooting of the film was only partially completed and the team managed to shoot only 40 minutes. So, to complete the film, they hired Bruce Lee’s look-alike who played the main character. To make matters worse, during one scene in which the look-alike is looking in the mirror, the filmmakers glued a cardboard cutout of Lee’s face onto the mirror as a reflection of him. This is not even counting the fact that scenes from other Bruce Lee films appeared in the finished version. The plot was also completely redone and the main character became a movie star whose girlfriend was kidnapped by the mafia. The worst moment of all, however, comes when the film uses footage of Bruce Lee’s actual funeral, even revealing the actor’s real corpse, adding insult to his death. The theatrical version of Game of Death includes just 11 minutes of Lee’s original film. Thankfully the 40-minute version with Lee still exists. And at least this short film gave us an iconic fight scene. Martial arts legend vs NBA giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Strong Five:

In the immediate aftermath of Lee’s death, Hong Kong filmmakers seized the moment by spawning an entire genre called Bruceploitation, in hopes of capitalizing on Lee’s posthumous fame. Studios hired actors who vaguely resembled movie stars, gave them brand names such as Bruce Le with one e or Dragon Lee and put them in fake films of no importance that were executed simply and tasteless. For instance, there is the Bruce Lee and I, a dirty second-rate drama about Lee’s relationship with Betty Ting Pei, in which Ting Pei plays herself. One of the really bizarre films of that era was The Bruce Lee Clones, where an evil scientist forces three Lee clones to fight to the death and from the Exit of the Dragon, Enter the Tiger movie, we learned that the so-called real Bruce Lee was an unwitting drug dealer for the triads and was eventually killed. So, now the successor named Bruce Li, with the letter i instead of two e’s in the original, is eager to take revenge on the gangsters. But without a doubt, Bruceploitation’s strangest movie was The Dragon Lives Again, where the recently deceased Bruce wakes up in the afterlife and battles pop culture characters like James Bond and the Man with No Name, even Popeye appears there, just like Dracula with a whole gang of mummies, why not?

Strong Five:

Bruce Lee’s son Brandon reluctantly accepted his father’s mantle. Brandon was only 8 years old when his father died and for a time he refused to have anything to do with martial arts. Apparently, Brandon was very angry which caused him to be kicked out of two high schools. After which, he himself quit the third one. Brandon admitted that he felt a lot of pressure from trying to match his father’s image and at the time, he was not going to follow in his footsteps, as according to him, he had no voting power. His mother, Linda Lee, admitted that being the son of Bruce Lee was extremely difficult. She told the New York Times that it was a blessing because Bruce was a wonderful father but it was a burden for Brandon to meet the expectations of other people who depend on the personality of his father.

Nevertheless, eventually Brandon decided to become an actor and partly owing to his martial arts skills acquired from his father who actually had an opportunity to teach him, and partly owing to his last name, Brandon Lee landed his first role in the television movie called the Kung Fu: The Movie. His first art project was Legacy of Rage in 1986, shot in Hong Kong. And in 1991, he teamed up with Dolph Lundgren in his first American film the Showdown in Little Tokyo. But obviously, the movie that proclaimed his name to the whole world was The Crow, still. Unfortunately, Brandon died on set during filming, even before the end of the film due to improperly loaded prop guns. Brandon Lee died on March 31, 1993, at the age of 28, just on the cusp of world fame just like his father.

Chuck Norris about Bruce Lee and his Death:

Well, it’s really a pleasure being here at the Comic-Con today and I’m glad you enjoyed the movie. Bruce, who I’ve known about 10 years now, in fact, first time I met Bruce was in New York City about 9 years ago when I was fighting. In fact, I was fighting for the world title and that’s when Bruce was doing The Green Hornets series and he came back there as a celebrity guest. And after I won the title, the promoter introduced me to Bruce and so we started talking about our philosophies of the martial arts and so forth.

And anyway, we were both at the same hotel, The Americana in New York and we started walking over to the hotel. As we got going up the elevator, I remember Bruce was staying on the 7th floor and I was on the 9th, as we got to his floor, we were really getting pretty involved into our conversation. So, instead of me going up I stepped out in the hallway with him and it’s like 11-11:30 at night and we started working out in the hallway. And next time I looked at my watch it was 7 o’clock the next morning. And it was amazing because the guy had so much knowledge and as you know on the screen ability that it seemed like an hour had gone by as far as us working out and exchanging ideas. So, he said, “Well, when we get back to Los Angeles, why don’t we start working out together?” Which we did. When I got back, we started training together.

Chuck Norris:

And then the series was canceled and he went to Hong Kong to pursue a movie career. When he went to Hong Kong, his first movie- the biggest grossing movie in Asia before Bruce went over there was The Sound of Music. It had grossed $2.4 million which again was the biggest movie ever grossed in the orient. Bruce did the first movie called The Big Boss, which over here was the Fist of Fury and that one grossed $3.2 million, which is 800,000 more than The Sound of Music. Then he did Fist of Fury which over here was called The Chinese Connection and that one grossed $4.3 million. And then, he called me up and said he’d like to do a movie with a real good fight scene in the movie. I said well, the only way to have a fight scene is if I get to hit you once in a while because. And he said, well, yeah, naturally you know we’d make it a back and forth tight fight. So, anyway, that fight scene that you saw took us 5 days to do. And in Asia alone, the movie grossed over $11 million. It’s the biggest grossing movie in the history of Asia and they don’t think anything will surpass it for a long time.

Then, Bruce naturally did Enter the Dragon which was his last movie and probably the biggest grossing movie as far as martial movies go. But, Bruce is, you know, was 32 years old. Let me explain something about his death too because there’s… I guess so many, you know, rumors that are going about how he passed away and so forth, of a touch of death and drugs and so forth. And so, I’d like to clarify that before we get on with the demonstration.

Chuck Norris:

It is Bruce in 1968. Well, you know, he’s pretty heavy in weight lifting as you could tell. He was very well built. And he was lifting weights one night with Kareem Jabbar, who was a student of his, when he was in Los Angeles playing at UCLA, and he tried to lift too many too heavy weights and he ruptured the discs in his back and he was laid up in the hospital for three weeks. In fact, the doctor said that they didn’t know if he’d be able to walk again or not. But of course, with a person like Bruce who got the drive and determination to achieve anything in life, he was up in about a month and within 3 months he was as strong as he ever was. But he had constant back pains. From that day on, he was having to take medication to keep the muscles in the back loose and relaxed. So, what happened is that when he was in Hong Kong, preparing for his next movie, he was working with a girl named Betty who’s gonna co-star with him and he got a severe headache. So, Betty gave him some antibiotics for the headache and with the medication they had taken for his back and the medication he’d taken for his headache, they reacted to each other and made his brain swell up and created an aneurysm or ruptured blood cells in his brain. That’s actually what happened. So, if anyone asks what happened, you can tell the true story.

Strong Five:

That’s all for now, friends. Please write in the comments what you think of all this. What do you believe in? And be sure to press thumbs up and share this video. Thanks for watching. Stay tuned.




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