Bruce Lee was my first hero. I saw Enter the Dragon for the first time when I was either five or six, and I immediately became enthralled with Lee's thrilling physical abilities. I didn't think there was anything or anyone that could beat him. Sadly, right after riding the wave of elation that the film had induced, my dad told me that Bruce Lee was dead. Although I was crestfallen after the revelation, I assumed that Lee had at least left behind an immense catalog of flicks to his name, but I soon discovered that wasn't the case.
I often wonder what Hollywood would've looked like had Lee lived to at least see the 1990s. Would he have played Morpheus in The Matrix? When would he have played a villain? Or, even more pertinent, how would the film industry regard Asian Americans today if Lee had been around to help dispel people's racism and xenophobia further?
On this day in 1973, Bruce Lee collapsed while working on what would be his follow-up to Enter the Dragon in Game of Death. It's important to realize that Enter the Dragon, the film that turned Lee into a household name in the West, was still a few months away from release at the time. Although many conspiracy theories about Lee's death persist, the official cause was listed as cerebral edema- a swelling of the brain caused by an allergic reaction to penicillin. Since it's also Asian American and Pacific American Islander heritage month, I thought it'd be cool to show Lee some love.