Jackie Chan Biography
(Chan Kong Sang)
- Born: 07-04-1954
- Birth Place: Hong Kong
Jackie Chan Biography
His jaw-dropping mix of Buster Keaton and Bruce Lee has made him the biggest non-western movie star in the world!
The amenable martial arts star has created a one man film industry, forged on his ability to combine high kicks with easy gags and slapstick humour. The hit films - 'The Cannonball Run', 'Shanghai Noon', 'Rush Hour' - are totally formulaic, which is just what his legions of fans like.
Chan claimed his family were so poor when he was born, that they offered to sell him to the British doctor who delivered him. However, they reconsidered the sale, and moved to Australia to work at the US embassy.
At the age of seven, Chan returned to Hong Kong alone and was apprenticed to the Chinese Opera Research Institute, where he was rigorously trained in music, dance, and traditional martial arts. He made his feature acting debut in the Cantonese film, 'Big and Little Wong Tin Bar'.
In 1971, he rejoined his parents in Australia, but it wasn't long before he returned to Hong Kong, and adopted the stage name Chen Yuan Long.
Chan found work as a stunt man and martial arts fighter, with his first film role as an adult in 'Little Tiger from Canton'.
His talent soon saw him graduating first to stunt co-ordinator, and then to director, before receiving his first credit as martial arts director for 'The Heroine', in which he also starred.
Following the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the search was on for a popular replacement, so Jackie decided that rather than emulating Lee, he would develop his own style of filmmaking. By 1978, he had become the most popular martial arts star in Asia since Lee, the iconic star of 'Enter The Dragon' and the like.
His directorial debut, 'The Young Master', in 1980 was a milestone in martial arts films, being the first to effectively combine slapstick comedy with high-energy action.
In 1982, Chan married the Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-Jiao with the two having son Jaycee Chan the same year.
In 1985, he had to form the Jackie Chan Stuntmen Association, after so many stuntmen were injured during the making of 'Police Story' that none were willing to work with him again.
He directed and starred in 'Armour of God' and 'Mr Canton and Lady Rose', two of Hong Kong's highest-grossing films, and formed his own production company, Golden Way.
A flood of US film roles followed, including 'Rumble in the Bronx', 'First Strike', 'Supercop', 'Operation Condor' and 'Mr Nice Guy' despite his limited knowledge of English at this stage of his career.
'Rush Hour' in 1998 proved to be a box office hit, teaming the martial artist with comic actor Chris Tucker. As a result of this success, they re-teamed again in 2001 for the sequel, 'Rush Hour 2'. Now geared almost exclusively to the western market, 'The Tuxedo' and 'Shanghai Knights' followed up his earlier success, opposite Owen Wilson in 'Shanghai Noon'. He also voiced the character Shang in the Chinese version of 'Mulan' in 1998, singing the film's soundtrack.
Between 2000 and 2005, Chan lent his voice to a fictionalised version of himself in the cartoon 'Jackie Chan Adventures'.
He went on to star in 'The Medallion' in 2003, which saw him team up with British comedian Lee Evans and Claire Forlani. The film was not as successful as his most recent releases, but he followed it up with 'Around the World in 80 Days' (2004), based on the classic adventure novel by French writer Jules Verne.
Next came 2005 releases 'The Huadu Chronicles: Blade of the Rose' and 'New Police Story', which were followed by 'The Myth' and 'Robin-B-Hood'.
Chan returned to the top of the box office in his third collaboration with Chris Tucker with 2007's 'Rush Hour 3', which also featured Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski in an acting capacity, grossed over $258 million.
Roles in 2008's 'The Forbidden Kingdom' and 'Kung Fu Panda' continued endearing him to western fans, as did 'The Spy Next Door' and 'Little Big Soldier' in 2010.
However, it was a remake of 'The Karate Kid' that was much talked about in the same year as Chan teamed up with Will Smith's son Jaden Smith for a Chinese-American martial arts outing. The film was a runaway box office success and collected over $358 million on a budget of $40 million.
Over the course of his career, Chan has received numerous accolades in Asia and in the west, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
While performing his own stunts, he has broken his nose three times, his ankle once, most of the fingers in his hand, both cheekbones and his skull. He almost died while filming 'Armour of God' as he fell from a tree and fractured his skull. Due to his stunts, Chan cannot get insurance in the US. Despite this, he carried out all of his own stunts until recently.
As well as films and TV, Chan has had a lucrative musical career as he was given music lessons at the Peking Opera School. He started producing records in the 1980s and has released 20 albums since 1984 in a range of languages including Cantonese, Japanese, and English.
He also sings the theme tune over the closing credits of his films, the first being the soundtrack to 'Young Master' in 1980.