Bruce Lee’s Family Photos Reveal the Quiet Life of the Kung Fu Star

Los AngelesLos Angeles, September 1971: Bruce and Shannon Lee during family photo shoot before the family temporarily moved to Hong Kong; Credit: Linda Palmer

While most know Bruce Lee from his bad­ass fight scenes in kung fu movies, his daughter, Shannon Lee, says that too few realize he was also a writer and philosopher, adapting ancient Chinese wisdom with his own accessible, modern phrasing. He wanted everyone to find enlightenment, not just the philosophers.

Bruce died when Shannon was 4. After his death, she and her brother, Brandon, were raised by her mother, Linda, who sold the rights to Lee's films and likeness for a pittance so they could pay the bills. In the 1970s and '80s, there wasn't a developed market for the exploitation of dead celebrities' images. But by the following decade, there was money to be made, and it definitely was not going to Bruce's family.
Shannon recently launched a years-long battle to regain the rights to Bruce Lee's archive, which consists of file cabinets of poems, love notes and planners, plus 10 large metal shelves housing things such as his nunchucks and a tiger-skin rug.
Check out these photos culled from the archive, showing Bruce Lee and his family, including early pictures of Brandon Lee, who died in an accident during the filming of the 1994 film The Crow. 

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