Movie star Jackie Chan is a renowned global actor who has dominated Hollywood with his movies for decades. Sadly, his upbringing was more painful than anything else.
Jackie Chan’s parents abandoned him when he was only a child. The Guardian reported in April 2003 about a film called “Traces of the Dragon: Jackie Chan and His Lost Family,” which revealed his family's deepest and darkest secrets that he was not aware of until later in his life.
The movie was directed by Hong Kong film director Mabel Cheung. The documentary revealed that when Jackie's parents fled from China to Hong Kong after the Communists came to power in 1949, they left their brood behind.
Actor Jackie Chan during the release of the film 'Shanghai Kid' on August 7, 2000 in France | Photo: Getty Images
His father, Charles Chan, had two sons, and his mother, Lee-Lee Chan, had two daughters. No one knew whether the couple was alive or not for years. Cheung explained the pair fled in order to survive, stating the idea was common in China at the time. She said:
“It’s a common thing to do, abandon your children. In every family, there were abandoned children.”
Jackie Chan visits at SiriusXM Studios on October 10, 2017 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
While he was gaining fame worldwide, rumors made rounds back in Jackie’s home country for years that he was living under a false name and was adopted.
In turn, no one knew the star had two brothers, Shide and Shishen, who are still alive and are living anonymous lives back in China.
Nor did they have any idea that his mother was once a gambler in the Shanghai underworld, or that his father had been a Nationalist spy and gangland boss.
Cheung found these revelations staggering and said the fact that Lee-Lee was an opium smuggler, a gambler, and a big sister in the underworld was shocking to many people, including her son Jackie, 67.
She explained why it came as a shock to everyone in Hong Kong, stating it was because she was known as an ordinary housewife who was kind and gentle.
Jackie permanently reunited with his parents in the Land Down Under when he was in his teens.
GETTING TO KNOW CHARLES
As for his father, Charles, Cheung described him as a dignified man who was very forceful. He liked drinking whiskey on a daily basis and smoking pipe.
Cheung added that when she interviewed him, he appeared to be a funny man who was straightforward. During an interview, when she questioned him about the past, that is when his son first learned the truth about his brothers, whom he never knew existed.
That was also how the martial artist found out about how his parents met. His father previously arrested his mother for smuggling opium.
Seeing she had two daughters to support, she resorted to gambling and racketeering. In addition, his father, whom he knew as Chan Chi-Long, was instead Fang Daolang.
Despite Charles agreeing to talk about his family history for a doccie, he appeared somewhat guarded when filmmakers probed more into his past life. Moreover, he was reluctant to talk about his wife being an opium smuggler.
THE BIG REVEAL
In September 2017, Jackie revealed during an interview that his father was a spy hiding at the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia. At the time, he was promoting his animated film “The Lego Ninjago Movie.”
He explained his connection to Canberra, sharing that his dad was in hiding because he was a Chinese nationalist agent who fled home to avoid being captured by rival communists.
Jackie spent most of his childhood away from his parents while they resided in Canberra. He grew up at a Hong Kong boarding school.
Jackie permanently reunited with his parents in the Land Down Under when he was in his teens. The couple settled in Canberra in the early 1970s, where Charles found a job as the head chef at the United States Embassy.
Sadly, his wife died in February 2002, and almost six years later, he also passed away in February 2008 at age 93. He had a long battle with prostate cancer.
His son brought his body back to Canberra, where he laid him to rest next to his spouse. Talking about his passing, Jackie said he loved his father very much because he did a lot for him when he was young.
HONORING MOM & DAD
He told reporters that they came from a low-income family, and his dad upped and left his homeland to support himself, adding that he was the greatest for him.
That same month, he honored his late parents in Australia by funding a new science education center at the country's top cancer research institution.
He and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd opened the Jackie Chan Science Center at the Australian National University to honor them. He thanked the country for taking care of his parents for 46 years.
Previously, the father of two divulged he would not have been known as "Jackie" today if it weren’t for living in Australia. The actor said he was initially referred to as "Steve" when attending Dickson College in the Australian Capital Territory.
Courtesy of a friend at the US Embassy, he then went by the name "Jack." When he went looking for a job, a guy asked him what his English name was, and he told him he did not have one.
His pal was a driver for the embassy, and his name was Jack, so the guy agreed to call him Jack. The Academy Honorary Award winner then revealed he added an "ie" to his name to give it more rhythm when he returned home to Hong Kong to pursue an acting career.
Jackie began studying martial arts, drama, acrobatics, and singing at age seven. He studied at the Chinese Opera Research Institute.
Once considered a Bruce Lee successor, the director developed his martial arts style and fused it with screwball physical comedy.
Jackie made his movie debut at age eight in “Big and Little Wong Tin Bar” in 1962. His big movie break came after the release of the classic film “Drunken Master.”
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