Jet Li

Jet Li- His Rise to Fame

Jet Li
Jet Li

Jet Li, born as Li Lian Jie on April 26, 1963 is a Chinese martial artist, actor, Wushu champion, film producer and an international film star. He was born in a poor family in Beijing and was the youngest among his other five siblings. At only the age of two he loosed his father and then his family faced many hardships. He debuted in movies with the film Shaolin Temple and kept working in different others. Presently he has Singaporean citizenship.

His early life

His talent for Wushu was noticed when he was only 8 years old and he practiced in the school summer course. This form of martial arts helped him gain his flexibility. After his family noticed his talent they send him to continue his studies from a special school. He had once shared that being from a poor family he did not had the opportunity to go to a good school but the sports school was like a blessing for him. He used to get good food as well as an opportunity to move out of China.

He won his first national championship at the age of 11. Li Junfeng and Wu Bin were renowned coaches who after noticing his talent helped the young boy to develop his skills. The result was good and he became a part of the Beijing Wushu Team. As a member of the team he travelled to 45 and more countries. He had even given a martial art demonstration to President Richard M. Nixon in 1974 when he was in United States. That year he became the All-Around National Wushu Champion and he was able to hold this title for coming 5 consecutive years.

He had become master in different styles of Wushu that included Fānziquán, Chángquán and others. At the age of 17 he retired from sports. Then he started working with Director Chang Hsin Yen and made his first film debut in 1982. With the film Shaolin Temple where he debuted he became a star in his native country. After relocating to Hong Kong in 1980 he started doing martial arts film scenes.

His life as an actor

In his professional career Li Lian Jie changed his name to Jet Li as per suggestion by a publicity company in Philippines who thought that his real name was tough to pronounce. After his first film became popular it had many more sequels and the story kept rolling with other films namely, Once upon a Time in China during 1991, Fist of Legend and others.

Jet Li world economic forum
Jet Li. World Economic Forum

He entered the world of Hollywood movies during the year 1998 in Lethal Weapon 4. He played as a bad guy and had Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as co-star. He had to undergo language training for mastering his English and he re located to Los Angeles. This film no doubt delighted the movie lovers.

The producer of Lethal Weapon 4 had promised Jet that he will be given lead role in his next film and thus Romeo Must Die came his way in 2000. Here he had teamed up with singer Aaliyah and the story was about a hip hop singer meeting martial arts. This film too was a big hit on the screen. With Bridget Fonda Li did Kiss of the Dragon in 2001. His action sequences were praised by critics and the film was again loved by movie lovers.

Gradually he started many other projects and successfully completed them. Some of them were praised like before but some were criticized too like his character in “the One.” The film was considered very confusing by the critics and the acting too was weak.

His next movie was about a warrior of 3rd century China and was directed by Yimou Zhang. It was released in China in 2002 and was nominated in Academy awards as ‘best foreign film.’ In 2005 he was seen in Unleashed where he played the role of a man who was a captive killing machine. He had prepared well for those characters and the response at box office was also good.

Fearless in 2006 was his next project where he acted as a Chinese martial arts master. This film was also loved by his fans. His next movies were War in 2007 where he played as Rogue the lethal assassin. He also started acting in a Chinese film same year.

It was in 2008 when Jet Li got the opportunity to work with Jackie Chan, another martial arts star in the film the Forbidden Kingdom. However, even with such a great collaboration the film was not a masterpiece and thus critics said that this is the reason that the two have not worked together earlier! Jet Li continued to work in different other movies that showcased his skills and made him loved by public more. He kept himself away from acting during 2009 and later returned in 2010 with ‘The Expendables’.

Presently he is acting as a Chinese ruler in the action movie ‘Mulan’ which is to be released in 2020.

His personal life

He married for the first time in 1987 with Huang Qiuyan, who was his Wushu Team member. They have two daughters and they got divorced in the year 1990. Later in 1999, Li married Nina Li Chi, who was a Hong Kong based actress. They too have two daughters.

During the 2004 Tsunami Jet Li was in Maldives and it was rumored that he had died. The truth is however that he had only a foot injury that happened while he was rescuing his daughters and their nanny to a high place.

He practices Tibetan Buddhism.

He renounced his US citizenship in the year 2009 and took Singaporean citizenship. He had taken this so that he can keep his two daughters under the Singaporean education system. From a martial artisan to a film actor LI had played all the roles successfully. He have made it sure that whatever he does he shows his passion towards it.

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