Imprint has come across one of the few interviews of the late Bruce Lee. Soon after the release of his first film, Hong Kong mega-hit The Big Boss, Lee sat down to talk about his life philosophy, super stardom, and of course, martial arts with Canadian television personality, Pierre Berton.
In the first section, Lee talks about how martial arts drives his life, being dubbed in Mandarin and his school in the U.S., which graduated the likes of Steve McQueen and James Garner. Parts two and three are below.
Lee tells Berton about Tai Qi, which Berton compares pretty hilariously to “belly dancing.” Even better, at around 2:05, Lee starts talking about his students. McQueen was apparently better at fighting (because “that son of a gun got the toughness in him,” as Lee says) but James Coburn took more time to understood the philosophy behind it all.
Lee takes issue with being called a “star,” saying he prefers much more to be recognized as an “actor” or “martial artist.” He also laments how hard it is to bring the “true orient” to Hollywood… and this was before the Green Hornet was canceled and his role in Kung Fu was given to David Carradine. Unfortunately, the struggle to get Asian actors in America (or really, any minority actor) non-stereotyped screen time is far from over.