Jason Scott Lee is an Asian-American actor who gained fame for his portrayal of Bruce Lee in the movie ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’. He is known for his expertise in Jeet Kune Do style of martial arts. Japanese agrarian Masanobu Fukuoka and the martial arts legend Bruce Lee are two of his biggest idols. While he is known for his action movies, Jason has also starred in romantic films, and some of his top-rated movies are ‘Map of the Human Heart’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’. He has also done voice acting in animation science fiction films like ‘Lilo & Stitch’ and its sequel ‘Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch’. Besides movies, Jason has made several appearances on TV series like ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and ‘Arabian Nights’. Now-a-days, he is focusing more on live theatre. The action hero, who received training from Jerry Poteet, an ex-student of Bruce Lee, is a certified Jeet Kune Do instructor as well. He has been named among the ‘100 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time’
Rise to Stardom
Jason Scott Lee started taking acting lessons from Sal Romeo while he was studying at the Fullerton College. He landed his first uncredited role in the TV series ‘The A-Team’ (1986), wherein he appeared as a restaurant waiter. His first major break came when he was cast as Paco in the comedy movie ‘Born in East L.A.’ in 1987. The young actor made his official TV debut in 1988 with the role of Le Tran in ‘The Fisherman’ episode of the legal drama series ‘Matlock’. After initially struggling to get his footing in Hollywood, Jason finally started receiving substantial roles in 1989. First, he appeared in an episode of the TV series ‘Wolf’ and then made his return to movies by portraying Whitey in the sci-fi cult classic ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989).
Following the success of his second movie, Jason was offered a lot more roles, and the next few years proved to be very busy for him. In 1990, he was first seen in an episode of the series ‘CBS Schoolbreak Special’. He then starred in the feature film ‘Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go to College’ and two TV movies called ‘The Lookalike’ and ‘Vestige of Honor’. He bagged the starring role of Avik in the romantic movie ‘Map of the Human Heart’ in 1992. His performance in the film earned critical acclaim and a ‘CFCA Award’ nomination. It remains one of his highest-rated movies.
In the early 1990s, Jason auditioned for a part in the 1992 movie ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, but failed to get it. He, however, was scouted by its casting director who asked him to audition for the lead role in a Bruce Lee biopic. Not only did he successfully land the breakthrough role of Bruce Lee in “The Making of ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’” (1993), but also delivered an inspiring and exhilarating performance in the movie. His acting as well as his skills as a martial artist were recognized by critics and the audience. No one could guess that he started training in Jeet Kune Do just seven weeks before the movie started filming. Jason got nominated for the ‘CFCA Award for Most Promising Actor’ and the ‘MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance’ in 1994.
In the same year, he suffered two commercial disasters at the box office, as ‘Rapa-Nui’ and ‘Picture Bride’ flopped in 1994. However, Jason redeemed himself with the 1994 movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’. He was praised for his portrayal of Mowgli, and the movie was a critical and commercial hit. Following that, the Chinese-origin actor starred in films like ‘Murder in Mind’ (1997) and ‘Tale of the Mummy’ (1998). He also portrayed Aladdin in the TV mini-series ‘Arabian Nights’ (2000).
Jason delivered the box office blockbuster in the form of animated movie ‘Lilo & Stitch’ in 2000. He voiced for the role of David Kawena, a character he reprised in its equally successful sequel ‘Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch’, released in 2005. He also went on to act in movies like ‘Dracula II: Ascension’ and ‘Timecop: The Berlin Decision’, which did not succeed at the box office. Some of his better-rated movies of this period were ‘Dracula III: Legacy’ (2005) and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’ (2016). He also starred in the recurring role of detective Kaleo in the popular TV series ‘Hawaii Five-O’ between 2010 and 2013. Recently, Jason landed a major role when he was roped in to play the main antagonist, Bori Khan, in the upcoming Disney live-action classic ‘Mulan’ (2020).
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Family & Personal Life
Jason Scott Lee was born in Los Angeles, California, USA on November 19, 1966, to Robert and Sylvia Lee. His family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii when he was two years old. He studied at the ‘Pearl City High School’ and then attended the ‘Fullerton College’ in California. Jason is married to Diana Chan Lee since 2008.