My friend Aaron Kai mentioned to me that a seven-foot tall statue of Bruce Lee has been unveiled in L.A.’s Chinatown. According to THR, the bronze statue is the first of its kind in the U.S. to honor the late actor and martial arts expert. The statue was unveiled this past Saturday to a crowd of several hundred people in historic Central Plaza. Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon, attended the unveiling.
The statue likeness was created by an artist in Guangzhou, China and the dedication comes on the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death – as well as the 75th anniversary of Chinatown. The event was part of an annual celebration called Chinatown Summer Nights. It was was donated by the Bruce Lee Foundation, the nonprofit organized by Lee’s family to honor his legacy. According to the THR report, the statue hasn’t yet been permanently installed. Local business leaders are aiming to raise $150,000 for seating and a concrete base.
San Francisco-born Lee moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and landed a role playing Kato on TV’s The Green Hornet. During that time, he opened his third martial arts academy in Chinatown and worked out at the Alpine Recreation Center in the area. He went on enjoy a brief but memorable film career that included such movies as The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Return of the Dragon and the cult martial arts classic Enter the Dragon before passing away at age 32 in 1973.