Brandon Bruce Lee was born on February 1, 1965 in Oakland, California. His father was legendary martial artist and film star, Bruce Lee, and his mother is Linda Emery Lee Caldwell. At the age of 5, Brandon moved to Hong Kong with his family. Bruce’s career options became limited in the United States and the move was out of necessity.
Brandon learned to speak and write Chinese while attending school in Hong Kong. He and his sister, Shannon, began to have problems in school due to Bruce’s fame. They even had to be escorted to and from school to prevent them from being kidnapped.
In July, 1973, Bruce died of a cerebral edema at the age of 32. Shortly after his private funeral in Seattle, Washington, Linda moved the children back to Los Angeles. A 9 year old Brandon was enrolled in the IBM Academy where he met Jeff Imada. Brandon and Jeff became friends and worked together on Brandon’s American made feature films.
Brandon struggled to try and become an actor in his own right rather than live in the shadow of Bruce. He made his acting debut in Kung Fu: The Movie. His next role was in a Hong Kong film entitled Legacy of Rage. He still struggled to achieve success in the American film industry and decided to return to his Martial Arts studies instead. He successfully completed the test to become a Martial Arts instructor in 1990.
Brandon met his future fiancée, Eliza Hutton in 1990. She was Renny Harlin's personal assistant. The director shared an agent with Brandon.
Brandon’s next film was Showdown in Little Tokyo. This was his first starring role in an American made major motion picture. His acting abilities were beginning to be noticed. After the work for Showdown in Little Tokyo was completed, Brandon returned to working on Rapid Fire. It would be the first American made film in which he had the leading role.
In 1992, Brandon read the script for The Crow. It was the film adaptation of James O’Barr’s comic book with the same name. Brandon was taken with the script and asked his agent to get him the leading role in the film. After several meetings with Jeff Most and Ed Pressman, Brandon was cast as Eric Draven.
Filming of The Crow began in January, 1993. As time went on and things became more hurried, accidents began to occur on the set. Concerned for everyone’s safety, Brandon lodged a complaint with his manager but nothing seemed to change.
On March 30, 1993, Brandon Lee was the victim of a tragic accident on the set of The Crow. The scene called for another character to shoot his character. When Michael Masse pointed the gun in Brandon’s direction and fired, Brandon slumped to the ground. This was not part of the script, but members of the cast and crew thought Brandon was just playing a practical joke on them as he had done in the past. Stunt Coordinator and friend, Jeff Imada, walked over to Brandon to see why he didn’t get up after the scene was complete and discovered that Brandon was not conscious. The set medic arrived and tried to determine what was wrong, but was unable to find the wound due to the fact that Brandon was covered with fake blood from the squibs.
An ambulance was called but it took 15 minutes before it was allowed in to the back lot. When it finally arrived, Brandon had no pulse. He was rushed to the hospital where x-rays revealed that he had a foreign object wedged near his spine. He had sustained arterial damage and lost a great deal of blood as well. His major organs were shutting down and he needed transfusions and surgery if he were going to survive. Brandon’s made it through the surgery but his prognosis was not good. On March 31, his heart stopped again and they were not able to revive him. He was pronounced dead on March 31, 1993 at 1:40 PM.
Brandon’s death caused the safety regulations in the film industry to become more stringent.