Bruce Lee’s 70th Birthday Celebration was an extraordinary event held on November 27th 2010 in the city of his birth, San Francisco, at the Empress of China, Grant Street in Chinatown. I was invited to attend by Bruce’s wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, and daughter, Shannon Lee, along with other friends, family, martial artists and fans from all over the world. We gathered to honour the most famous martial artist of our time. During the early 60’s Bruce Lee lived about 2 miles from my family home near San Francisco and would often come to visit and train with my father, Wally Jay, the founder of Small Circle Jujitsu. Bruce and Linda Lee would later move to Southern California where Bruce took on the part of Kato in the television series “The Green Hornet” before building his movie career and becoming a successful writer, director and international movie star famous for his lead role in Enter the Dragon.
The Bruce Lee Foundation hosted a 70th birthday celebration at the Empress of China on Grant Avenue San Francisco Chinatown and guests from far and wide came for the event guided by Linda Lee Cadwell and Shannon Lee. Events began with a traditional Lion Dance display by highly skilled artists before Shannon Lee Cadwell gave a warm welcome to all those in attendance, a gathering that included Grandmasters, actors and dignitaries. Throughout the evening there were martial arts demonstrations and speeches by friends and family of Bruce, sharing their memories and experiences of him. Also featured was ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ star John Smith performing a special dance routine in honor of Bruce Lee.
Grandmaster William Cheung from Melbourne Australia spoke and showed his skills in the art of Wing Chun while Tommy Carruthers and his wife from Scotland demonstrated their abilities in Jeet Kune Do. Bob Wall, martial artist and actor from Enter the Dragon, spoke of his friendship with Bruce and shared stories and Richard Bustillo also shared his experiences of Bruce.
Shannon Lee spoke of the Bruce Lee Foundation, it`s projects and educational programme and gave a special singing performance whilst Linda Lee Cadwell gave us a deeper insight into the man and his family through her memories of her life together with Bruce.
The evening ended with a 70th Birthday Cake, a live auction of memorabilia and hand crafted jewellery and an intimate video of Bruce’s life. This was a rare event for people to share and speak with the friends and family of Bruce Lee.
Professor Leon Jay