Childhood & Early Life
Linda Lee Cadwell was born in Everett, Washington, on the March 21, 1945. Her birth name was Linda Emery. Her parents were Vivian R. (Hester) and Everett Emery. She has a Swedish, Irish, Norwegian, Dutch and English ancestry. Linda’s family practiced baptism and hence she was raised in a Baptist environment.
She went to Garfield High School. She is said to have had an exciting, yet quiet childhood in her junior high and high school days. Later, she graduated from the University of Washington.
She used to be a cheerleader in high school, as she was attracted to physical work and the excitement it provided. Also, like every other teenager, she considered cheerleading as an exciting and prestigious work.
Linda wanted to go to a medical school since her childhood as she always used to see her mother suffer due to low wages, but life had something else in store for her.
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Later Life Career
Linda met Bruce Lee while attending Garfield high school. Later, she joined his academy as a student. She started learning Kung Fu from Bruce and eventually they fell in love. On 17th August 1964, they got married in Seattle, Washington.
Two years after the unexpected and sudden death of Bruce Lee, Linda wrote her first book, ‘Bruce Lee – The Man Only I Knew’. The book turned out to be a massive hit and received positive reviews from critics.
Cadwell then went back to the USA, completed her education, and started teaching kindergarten kids.
In 1989, she wrote another book, ‘The Bruce Lee Story’. The 1993 film, ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’ was based on her first book, and starred Jason Scott and Lauren Holly. Lauren Holly portrayed Linda’s role in the movie.
In 2002, Linda founded the ‘Bruce Lee Foundation’ along with daughter, Shannon Lee. It was founded to share the philosophies and writings of the great martial arts master, Bruce Lee.
Her first book, ‘Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew’ proved to be a super hit, especially among Bruce’s fans and followers. The book was printed and published by Warner at least thrice in April, June, and August 1975.The book was written just a year after Bruce’s death and hence it turned out to be full of unforgettable and fresh memories
The movie, ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’, starring Jason Scott Lee and Lauren Holly was completely based on the book. The movie was very successful, garnering over $63 million worldwide.
Linda was instrumental in the establishment of the Bruce Lee Foundation. It now popularizes Bruce’s works and his art.
Linda says that she is inspired from her mother and that her mother always taught her that duty comes above everything else. According to her, she has taken hard work and commitment towards duty from her mother.
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Linda believes that her non-judgmental nature comes to her from her father. In addition to that, she reminds everybody her first husband Bruce Lee and his famous quote, “Believe nothing that you read and only half of what you see.”
Linda has always been open about her views on racism and castes. She prefers no barriers in friendship and was even open to interracial dating.
She is so well connected with Kung Fu that even after all these years, she likes to maintain the connection between the physical and philosophical aspects of it.
She met Bruce Lee while in High school and they eventually started dating. Although, the culture back then was against inter-caste and interracial dating, she was very open about it. She had not mentioned this to her family and the couple had decided to elope, but eventually, they ended up having a wedding. While talking about Bruce Lee, she mentions how incredibly magnetic he was and talks about his charm and his virile and energetic nature.
After their marriage, they shifted to Hong Kong. She faced the challenge of living in a foreign country very bravely and stayed there with him. In an interview, Linda mentioned how she had to face all the Chinese people and the confused looks on their faces as to why did the great Bruce Lee choose her, but talking about it now makes her laugh.
Linda’s friends were very supportive of her marriage and they all loved him too. The couple had a son, Brandon Bruce Lee, a year after their wedding.
Linda and Bruce had just started a family. Linda had given up her studies and Bruce had just begun teaching. The duo never failed to be cheerful and excited about life. In 1969, their second child, a daughter, Shannon Emery Lee, was born.
Just four years after their second child, Linda had to face the sudden and sad demise of Bruce Lee. His death left her alone in Hong Kong and she decided to come back to Seattle. However, she could not settle there and then moved back to Los Angeles.
Later in 1988, she married Tom Bleecker. Tom Bleecker is an actor and writer. However, their marriage ended just two years later, in 1990.
In 1991, Linda married Bruce Cadwell. Cadwell is a stockbroker and they both currently live in Rancho Mirage, California.
On 31st March 1993, she had to face yet again an unexpected demise of her son, Brandon, who died while shooting for a film. A bullet accidently hit his spinal cord causing his death.
Linda’s daughter, Shannon, has taken up her responsibilities at the Bruce Lee Foundation and Linda is proud of her because she does it equally well.