Brandon Lee was born on February 1, 1965 in Oakland California. His father was the famous actor Bruce Lee and the family moved to Los Angeles shortly after his birth. In 1971, the family moved to Hong Kong while Bruce filmed some movies.
In 1973, Bruce Lee died from cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) and Brandon returned to the United States with his family. They lived for a short time in Seattle before settling in Los Angeles once again.
Brandon studied at the Chadwick School, but was expelled for subordination a few months before graduation. He earned his GED in 1983, then enrolled at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. There, he majored in the theater arts, but left the school to move to New York City.
In New York, Brandon began taking acting classes at the famous Lee Strasberg Academy, where many other famous actors and actresses have studied. He also worked with the American New Theatre group, which had been started by a close friend.
In 1985, Brandon moved to Hong Kong and started working for Ruddy Morgan Productions as a script editor. In 1985 he was given his first acting role in the film "Legacy of Rage". Many of the actors who starred in the film had previously worked with his father, Bruce.
In 1986, he was cast as Chung Wang in the film "Kung Fu: The Movie", which followed a television series. In 1987, he starred in a sequel entitled "Kung Fu: The Next Generation" playing the role of Johnny Caine.
In 1988, he was given a guest appearance on the television series "Ohara" as the fictional son of Lieutenant Ohara, played by Pat Morita. Over the next two years, he retreated out of the public light, but continued to study acting and appearing in small plays. In 1990, he starred in the film "Laser Mission", the first English language film that he had done. In 1991, he played the lead role in "Showdown in Little Tokyo", which was his first major feature film with Hollywood.
In 1992, he was selected to play the lead character, Eric Draven, in a movie based on the comic book "The Crow". The film is about a man who is murdered alongside his fiancee by a gang of thugs. He is then resurrected one year later by a crow and takes his revenge.
Unfortunately, a safety oversight on the studio set would prove fatal for Brandon Lee. The crew had made dummy cartridges by removing the gunpowder from bullets and loading them into the cartridges. These cartridges were used to film scenes showing guns being reloaded during a fight scene. Unfortunately, one of the bullets came loose and became lodged in the chamber of one of the revolvers being used.
In the next sequence, the same gun was loaded with blanks (shells with no bullets, but containing gunpowder) and when one of the thugs shot at Brandon Lee during filming, the bullet was actually fired and struck Brandon. He died from the wounds while the film was rolling on March 31, 1993.
Luckily, the film was able to be completed despite the unfortunate mishap. The incident was ruled an accident by police and the footage of the shooting was destroyed. With some digital reproduction of Brandon, the studio was able to finish the film and release it to massive box office success.