Gone But Not Forgotten

| April 1, 2013 | 3 Comments

This Easter marked 20 years since the death of  the young rising star Brandon Lee in what was then the Carolco Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina. Brandon was the son of Chinese American martial arts legend, actor,  instructor, philosopher, and filmmaker Bruce Lee . Both had died too early in their lives leaving some who are more superstitious to speculate that there was something of a curse on this clan.  Fame, fortune and sudden death would inexplicably collide in the lives of the talented men. Bruce Lee’s father, a Cantonese Opera Singer was the first in the lineage of famous Lees and would not live to a very advanced age himself, dying just days after the birth of his grandson Brandon.

Brandon Lee’s tragic death, which to this day is still surround by rumors of Chinese mafia and revenge killings, was decidedly accidental. An investigation by the Wilmington Police department, determined that a fragment from a dummy bullet struck Lee in the side, causing his death. He was rushed to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC where he underwent 6 hours of surgery before being pronounced dead at 1:03pm on March 31, 1993. In the end it was mere carelessness that ended the trajectory of this rising star at 28 years of age. His father, Bruce Lee had died suddenly of  cerebral edema at the age of 32 when Brandon was 8.

Lee, like his father had the attributes of stardom and even studied acting at the famed Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.  Sadly,  just having scratched the surface of what was seen by many as great potential, another Lee had stepped into this familial legend.  His death coincided with the release of biopic - Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.  ”Dragon” was released two months after Brandon Lee’s death, it included a dedication to his memory in the end credits. In the film, his father was portrayed by actor Jason Scott Lee (no relation)

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  1. I vividly remember being in school one day 20 years ago and one of my good Mates asked me if I heard about what happened to Brandon Lee the previous night and I told him I had not? At the time I was interested in Martial Arts and the Local Film Industry and I was bummed that I wasn’t involved with “The Crow”. I assumed that my friend was going to tell me that he had broken his leg or jaw or had hurt someone I never in a thousand years would have thought he was going to tell me that Brandon Lee was accidentally killed on set! It was devastaing news especially for someone who hoped that he would continue the Legacy of his father, Bruce Lee. Then over the days, weeks, months, years and even today I have heard stories of how he died and the common conclusion is how unnecessary and preventable his death was…

    I have heard before that in all tragedies there is a silver lining and being a Black Belt and an Actor myself I keep his death in the back of my mind and that has translated into Vigilance on set. Though I trust all Crews that I work with and I know they are talented professionals I try not to put myself or anyone else in dangerous situations!

  2. Barbara Pickett says:

    My husband was part of the crew working on the Crow at the time of this tragedy. Everyone on the crew was deeply affected by the death of Brandon Lee and the tragic way his life ended. Lots of training sessions have been held and more safety measures have been put into place in the industry to hopefully no have this tragedy happen again.

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