Jackie Chan is a versatile Hong Kong-born film actor, martial artist, and director who was the top-grossing actor in China and Hong Kong. He has been described by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino as “legendary” and is considered a cultural icon.
Jackie Chan was born on April 7, 1954, in Beijing. At the age of three, he already suffered many injuries from attempting his stunts for fun as well as accidentally breaking some objects around him.
About Jackie Chan
Jackie was an honest, hard-working, and smart student who was good at sports and excelled in his studies. He grew up with his three older brothers, Sam, Sammo, and Steve. As a former martial arts expert himself, he helped others learn the skills he had mastered through many years of practice.
Jackie had asthma while in school but decided to pursue acting when he realized that the absence of a doctor or nurse on a film set would not affect the movie’s filming schedule.
Life of Jackie
Jackie Chan was born in the Chen family, a working-class family of Hakka descent with four children. The Chan family owned several restaurants and a tailor shop. Jackie’s mother, Lee-Lee, was a housewife. His father, Chan Kwok Kei, worked for the government. Jackie’s parents were originally from Guangdong province but had immigrated to Hong Kong to work in the restaurant business three years earlier and had decided to stay there.
Jackie attended Mizpah Christian College, a private independent school in Hong Kong. He was a mischievous boy in his childhood. His teachers had to discipline him many times. Jackie’s mother wanted him to become a primary school teacher, but he did not like the idea and disliked studying in a secondary school as well. After graduating from junior high school, he trained in the Pek Kio Police Secondary School but quit after three months because he felt that it was not challenging enough for him.
His personal life
Jackie Chan is a devoted Christian. He married Lin Feng-Jiao in 1982, who gave birth to two sons and a daughter. His eldest son was born on October 6, 1983, and his second son was born on February 3, 1989. His daughter was born on April 24, 1993.
Career of Chan
Chan is a versatile martial artist as well as an actor, director, and stuntman. He learned the basic fighting styles from his father, who was a teacher in Beijing Opera. Jackie began to practice kung fu when he was only four years old. As a child, he often got into fights with other people in the streets, which made him want to become famous and respected through martial arts. He learned from the veteran Chinese actors when he was 10 years old and performed his first role at the age of 15 as a stuntman.
1962–1975: Early small appearances
Jackie Chan made his first TV appearance in the Chinese-language children’s show “The Flying Tigers”, as one of the fighters. When he was 18 years old, he was one of the leading actors in a Hong Kong movie titled “The Kid with a Bike” (1965). He played the role of a character called “Chan”.
In 1968, Jackie filmed his first kung fu movie. He performed his own stunts, but at that time only Chinese movies used traditional gunfights with real firearms. His first film with a gun was “Drunken Master” (1978). Jackie then received his nickname “Lion of Bruce Lee”. In addition to performing his own stunts, Chan was also given the role of a director in some movies.
1976–1980: Start-up leading roles
By the time Jackie was in his late 20s, his film career had begun to take off. He starred in several martial arts films and took on a serious character for the first time. He learned how to do stunts by himself and trained in other styles of martial arts throughout the decade. One of Chan’s most memorable movie productions is “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow”, where he played “Lung”. It also stars Yuen Biao as a rival thief from another school who wants to destroy Lung’s dojo. The movie was released in 1980 and became one of Jackie’s most successful.
1980–1987: Commercial success in the action-comedy genre
Jackie Chan experienced his most fruitful years in the early 1980s when he took on several box-office hits and began to appear in western films. In his first appearance in an American movie, “The Big Brawl” (1980), Jackie plays “Jackie”, a kung fu expert who fights Bruce Lee’s character. The movie made a hefty profit of over $1 million. Despite their success after working with Bruce Lee, Jackie did not want to be compared to him and strived to create his own style of kung fu and drama.
In 1985, Chan’s work as a stuntman and action star resulted in his nomination for Best Actor at the 5th Hong Kong Film Awards. Jackie was also nominated for Best Original Film Song for “Yuen Ling Sing”. Jackie was nominated for Best Supporting Actor two years later and won Best Supporting Actor at the 4th Hong Kong Film Awards. He continued to make films in the United States and Asia.
1988–1998: Acclaimed film sequels and Hollywood breakthrough
Jackie Chan was given the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor in 1988. He portrayed the character of “Liu Jianfei” in “Dragons Forever”, which was one of his most famous movies. In 1993, he played “Wong Fei Hung” again in the movie “Once Upon a Time in China II”, where he had to imitate Bruce Lee’s style of kung fu. In 1995, Jackie made his first film with famous American actor and martial artist, Jet Li. The movie is titled “Rise of the Legend.”
In 1998, Jackie made an appearance in “Rush Hour”, an action-comedy film that was released in May of that year. The movie was set in Los Angeles and starred Jackie Chan as a police officer from Hong Kong who teams up with a detective from the LAPD to investigate the kidnapping of the Chinese consul’s daughter.
1999–2007: Fame in Hollywood and dramatization
In 1999, Jackie made his first movie in Hollywood with the famous director Brett Ratner. He played the character “Mantis” in “Rush Hour 2”. The movie became Jackie’s first film to earn more than $100 million at the box office worldwide.
Later that year, he appeared in a Christmas TV show and sang a duet titled “Fairytale of New York”. In 2000, he played the character of “Lan Yu” again in the swordplay comedy film “The Cannonball Run II”. In 2002, Jackie starred in the action film “The Forbidden Kingdom,” which is part of a series of films called “The X-Men” or “X-Men 2”. The film was about the struggle between two mutant groups over the control of an object that has large destructive power. He played the character “The Black Snake”, one of the main characters from his earlier movies. In 2003, he also played the character “Goldie” in the comedy movie “What Happens in Vegas”.
2008–present: New experiments and change in acting style
Jackie has not been active in the film industry in recent years. In 2008, he had small roles in the American crime drama film “Death Sentence” and the short film “Stick It.” Most recently, he appeared in the American comedy movie “Max Payne” (2008) as a character named “Da Silva.” He also starred in another movie called “Shanghai Knights” which was released on October 23, 2010. The role was that of a secondary villain named Chang. He was also cast in the Hong Kong action movie “The Karate Kid” (2010). In 2012, he made a cameo appearance in the action film, which starred Jackie’s wife, Michelle Yeoh. He then starred in an American detective film called “Kung Fu Panda 2” as the character Kai.
Jackie Chan also has the ambition to direct a film. In 2008, he was working on the script of his first directorial project with RatPac Entertainment. In 2009, Jackie mentioned his intention to be the first non-American director of a large action movie with a budget over $100 million. He also started work on his next film with RatPac Entertainments.
In 2010, Jackie Chan was named on the Forbes list as the richest actor in Asia but it was second in terms of gross box office success. He is known for training hard and taking risks to achieve stunts and action scenes.
Jackie Chan has composed a number of songs, including “Stir Crazy,” “Election Song”, and “Beijing Born”. Besides, he has performed with pop singers such as Andy Lau for the song “Oriental Woman” (1999) and Faye Wong for the song “Sleeping Bomb” (2003).
Chan received an honorary degree from the University of Central Lancashire in 2007. In 2008, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
In October 2008, Jackie Chan was awarded an honorary fellowship by the City, University of London, and was invited to speak at the university’s graduation ceremony. He received an honorary doctorate degree in Business Management on 11 June 2009 at the University of East London.
In 2009, he was presented with the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Medal for his outstanding contributions to classical music at a concert in Vienna and also received another honorary doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from the City University of Hong Kong.
Awards and honor
Chan has received a total of five awards in his lifetime, and five of his films have won seven Oscars. In 1999, Chan was honored with the Honorary Oscar for his outstanding achievements in popular cinema. In 2007, Chan was conferred the Outstanding Artist Award by the Chinese Government. He became the first Asian to be awarded this honor by a foreign country.
On 25 July 2011, Chan was named as a member of the jury of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, held in Berlin, Germany. In 2011, Jackie was also nominated for an Honorary Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Jackie Chan has agreed to be awarded an honorary degree from University College Dublin on 16 November 2012. He is a frequent visitor and has previously attended many events at UCD.