The son of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee and his wife Linda, Brandon Lee did not plan to become an action star like his father. A professionally trained actor, he hoped to play mostly dramatic roles. But, like the older Lee, he was a skilled martial artist and used this talent to break into the movie business. Brandon's tragic death on the eve of his dramatic film breakthrough was both eerily reminiscent of his father's untimely demise and a tremendous loss to movie fans.
Born on February 1, 1965 in Oakland, CA, Lee spent his early years in Hong Kong, where he learned Cantonese and studied the martial art of Jeet Kun Do. He was only eight when his father died suddenly of a brain edema, and his mother moved Lee and his younger sister Shannon back to the States. They settled first in Seattle and then in Rolling Hills, CA, where Lee acquired the reputation of a troubled, wild child. He dropped out of high school twice, and was expelled from the private Chadwick School in Palos Verdes only months before graduation. After finally receiving his diploma from Miraleste High School, he studied drama at Boston's Emerson College and commuted to New York for private acting lessons at the Lee Strasberg Institute.