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Bruce Lee and Son Brandon Both Died before 33 —inside the 2 Tragedies of 1 Acting Dynasty

Manuela Cardiga
Jun 24, 2021
10:50 A.M.
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Twenty years after martial arts legend Bruce Lee passed away, his son Brandon Lee died in eerily similar circumstances at the age of 28.


On March 31, 1993, actor Brandon Lee, the son of iconic Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee was filming one of the last films of the movie "The Crow" in which his character is shot at close range and killed.

Unbeknownst to Brandon or the actor who discharged the gun, a bullet without its powder charge was inadvertently left in the chamber. When the trigger was pulled, instead of a blank round, the bullet was fired at close range to devastating effect,

Brandon Lee in Century City Premiere in 1992 | Source: Getty Images



The bullet, fired at close range, was as deadly as a live round and entered Brandon's abdomen. The director and the filming crew saw Brandon collapse as expected but in the wrong direction.

Their first reaction was that it was one of practical joker Brandon's funny stunts, but when he failed to react, one of the stuntmen realized that Brandon wasn't acting and he was immediately rushed to hospital.

Brandon Lee was buried alongside his father at the Lake View Cemetery in Seattle.

Actor Bruce Lee, his wife Linda Emery, and son Brandon Lee in 1973 | Source: Getty Images



Brandon was rushed into surgery, but doctors were unable to save his life. The 28-year-old actor, who had been following in his famous father's footsteps had died as unexpectedly and mysteriously as Bruce Lee.

With his mother Linda Lee Cadwell's approval, director Alex Proyas completed "The Crow" using then-innovative CGI techniques to shoot the few scenes Brandon had yet to complete. Caldwell later sued the production company over her son's death.

Actor Bruce Lee on the set of the 1971 film, "Big Boss" | Source: Getty Images



Like his father Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee's death catapulted him into superstar status, and the film "The Crow" is considered by critics to have been his best work ever.

In the film, Brandon, who started his career in action movies like his father, played a musician who returns from the dead to avenge his fiancée's murder. Curiously, Brandon was to have married his fiancée Eliza Hutton just weeks after his death.

Bruce Lee's wax figure at Madame Tussauds in New York in 2014 | Source: Getty Images



Brandon was the eldest child of martial arts practitioner and teacher turned actor Bruce Lee. Bruce revolutionized action films and martial arts and is considered by many to have been the first practitioner of MMA.

Bruce was a rising star when his son Brandon was born in 1965. Bruce had fallen in love with fellow University of Washington student Linda Emery and the two had married in 1964. Bruce started teaching Brandon martial arts as soon he could walk.

The widow of Bruce Lee, Linda Lee Cadwell, at The Asian Awards in 2013 in London | Source: Getty Images



Bruce was at the height of his career as a movie actor when he passed away on July 20, 1973, after complaining of a severe headache. The star collapsed and was rushed to hospital and pronounced DOA.

At the time of his death rumors attributed his death to a blow received during the rehearsal for a movie scene, but an autopsy revealed that Bruce had died from cerebral edema.

The graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ FLJuJitsu, Bruce Lee 1, Public Domain



Bruce was just 32 at the time of his death and left behind his wife Linda and his two children, son Brandon, then eight years old, and daughter Shannon Lee, then three. His death shocked fans, who attributed the tragedy to sinister causes.

Because he died in Hong Kong, some said to have been killed by the Chinese Mafia or had been poisoned by persons unknown. As it later transpired, Bruce had been hospitalized with Los Angeles after suffering from seizures just weeks earlier.


The movie star had been treated for cerebral edema. for which no cause had been found and released from the hospital, only to die a few weeks later in Hong Kong.

When his son Brandon passed away tragically 20 years later, the deaths of the Lees passed into legend. Today, nearly half a century after Bruce Lee's death, and 28 years after Brandon Lee's passing, the multi-generational tragedy fascinates millions.

Brandon Lee was buried alongside his father at the Lake View Cemetery in Seattle, and the two graves are to this day visited by thousands of fans who mourn the passing of the legendary father and son.

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