Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan- the life of a star, from dust to gold

Jackie Chan wears many hats- producer, director, actor, singer and stuntman. All over the world, he is known for his impeccable martial arts and comedy acts.

Image Eva Rinaldi

Early beginnings

Born in Hong Kong, on April 7, 1954, the actor was named as Chan Kong-sang. From the very young age of 7, he devoted his time and energy to learning singing, acrobatics, drama and martial arts.

It is little wonder that his genius and talent prodded him to achieve excellence in the entertainment industry.

The international star was much acclaimed for his originality, and in spite of being considered as a successor of the legendary Bruce Lee, he forged ahead to establish his very own style of martial arts combined with screwball physical comedy.

Schooling and first films

Jackie Chan studied at the Chinese Opera Research Institute, a boarding school in Hong Kong.

As early as 7, the actor learnt to live without the protective comfort of his parents, who had to leave him behind at the boarding house and move to Australia to look for jobs.

This new found independence proved to be beneficial for the young artist as he diligently pursued the arts of singing, acrobatic, drama and martial arts.

The school was hard on its pupils and even inflicted harsh punishments on those who performed poorly.

Under these difficult circumstances, Jackie Chan excelled in all the arts, and in 1962, at the age of 8, his first film, the Cantonese feature Big and Little Wong Tin Bar, was released.

After this, there was no looking back, and he went on to work on a good number of musical films.

The famous stunt

After enjoying a great stint in his school days, and much enjoying the fruits of his labours, he finally graduated from the school in Hong Kong. In 1971, he found a job as a movie stuntman and an acrobat.

The most famous part was played for “Fist of Fury,” which also featured Bruce Lee. The well-known stunt of achieving the highest fall in the history of Chinese film making, and repeating the stunt for many more movies, won him the appreciation of many famous stars, including the superstar Lee.

The major breakthrough

In 1973, much to the dismay of his fans, the legendary Bruce Lee passed away. This was the time everyone looked up to Jackie Chan as the likely successor of the legend, and continue burning the flame of the Hong Kong Cinemas.

What followed were a series of Kung Fu movies, with producer and director, Lo Wei. Unfortunately, most of these films failed to leave a mark with the eager and expecting audience, and a result Chan ended his long tie-up with Wei.

The realisation came to the rising star that he need not follow in the shadows of Lee and that it was time to create a bold new image of himself.

After all, given his phenomenal talents, he was more than just a successor, and in good time, he proved his worth on the big screen.

Performing his own stunts

One of the original professional moves adapted by Chan was that he would do all of his movie stunts. Combining his unique martial arts style with unparalleled confidence, he set about creating a splash on the screen.

A new type of cinema was born, and he successfully broke out of the Bruce Lee formula that had so long held him captive, and he was now liberated with his singular style of martial arts and screwball comedy.

The first hit

The sweet taste of success came to Jackie Chan in 1978, with the release of “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow.” It was a comedy in the true Kung Fu style and greatly impressed the martial arts-loving audience.

In 1978, his fortunes turned to Gold with the release of the mega-hit, “Drunken Master.” Later on, movies such as, “The Young Master,” “Half a Loaf of Kung Fu,” and “The Fearless Hyena,” went on to establish Chan as the true hero of the big screen martial arts.

He was not only the most sough-after actor in all of Hong Kong, but the Asian audience was beginning to notice him as well.

The initial stint with Hollywood

Chan enjoyed taking charge of most of the aspects of his films, from producing to directing to music. In the beginning phase of the 1980s, Jackie Chan tried his luck with Hollywood.

However, this early stint in Hollywood did not measure up to the success he had won in his homeland.

In 1980, the “Big Brawl,” produced by Golden Harvest, was released, and miserably failed to win over an appreciative audience.

Success at home

Chan’s movies, despite their initial failure in Hollywood, continued to enjoy tremendous success back in Asia.

The year 1986 found the actor establishing his own production company, Golden Way.

His fans also had a glimpse of his philanthropic and compassionate nature when he founded the Jackie Chan Stuntmen Association.

Here the stuntmen benefitted wonderfully not just from personal training by Chan himself, but also from valuable medical coverage in case of accidents, which were very frequent in the martial arts film industry.

Broken bones but an unrelenting spirit

In the course of his acting career, Chan has broken his nose as good as three times and broken his ankle once.

What is more, he has also broken his skull, most of the fingers in his hands, and both of his cheekbones.

Rise into Hollywood

Chan found his much-awaited fame and appreciation in Hollywood after multiple events.

In 1995, Chan caught the attention of movie critics with the creation of his own comic book character, the central figure in Jackie Chan’s Spartan X.

That very same year, director, Quentin Tarantino, of Pulp Fiction fame, presented Chan with a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Movie Awards.

And then came, his very first hit in America, “Rumble in the Bronx.” After which, there was no looking back, with major hits such as, Drunken Master II, Crime story, Mr Nice guy, Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and the list goes on.

Jackie Chan is known the world over not just for his impressive talents and show of fist and fury, but also for his big heart.

In 2006, he told the world of his decision to donate half of his assets to charity when he dies. That is indeed what we call as, generosity with power.

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