Not only was Bruce Lee a fierce fighter, but he also had a charming presence, according to Linda Lee Cadwell, his wife of nine years.
In the 656-page biography “Bruce Lee: A Life,” written by Matthew Polly and published in 2018, Cadwell shares that her mother never liked the thought of her dating an Asian man, but it was fine if she had an Asian American best friend.
Cadwell’s life changed one fateful day in 1961 when she, at the age of 18, first saw the then-26-year-old Lee, who visited her college to give a lecture on Chinese philosophy.
At the time, he was dating a woman named Amy Sunboo, Cadwell’s best friend and their college’s homecoming queen.
After seeing Lee hanging out with Sunboo, Cadwell asked her about him. She even complimented the martial artist, saying, “Yes, he looks like George Chakiris … suave, debonair, big city.”
Cadwell also shares in the biography that her school’s cheerleading squad fawned over the superstar as well, thinking that “he walked straight out of ‘West Side Story.'” She eventually became a starstruck admirer-turned-student after deciding to take kung fu lessons from Lee.
“I don’t know if I was more interested in kung fu or the teacher,” she shares.
Born in San Francisco on Nov. 27, 1940, Lee said in a rare unearthed interview sometime around 1966 that he was originally from Hong Kong.
Besides acting in hit movies such as “Fist of Fury” and “Way of the Dragon,” the international superstar was also a martial arts teacher who had three schools in Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland, California. He notably developed his own martial art, which he named Jeet Kune Do.
Lee died of cerebral oedema, or a swelling of the brain, on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32. Kidney specialists from Spain claim in a research paper published in Clinical Kidney Journal last month that the oedema was brought on by hyponatraemia, which occurs when sodium gets diluted in the body after a person drinks too much water.