In the shadow of the Dragon

In the shadow of the Dragon

WHEN YOUR FATHER is named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century, you’re bound to be living in a pretty intimidating shadow.

By Mohamad Kadry (

Published: Wed 22 Feb 2012, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:10 AM

But that’s not quite the case for Shannon Lee, daughter of the legendary Bruce Lee, who has made it her life’s mission to preserve the legacy of a man who not only attained iconic status for his highly successful films but also gained respect and adoration for his stoic philosophies on life and perseverance.

After years of fighting for ownership rights of her father’s name, Lee, an actress herself, is travelling the world marketing Bruce Lee’s legacy through business and charitable endeavours. Her latest scheme: men’s fragrances.

Lee who came across as a sincere and dedicated daughter, explains that her father’s work and words continue to guide her in life. Here she opens up to City Times about what she misses most about her famous dad.

Can you tell us about the launch of the Bruce Lee fragrance collection?

I’m very excited be here as a representative for my father and his legacy. I have been very touched by this region just by my brief visit, seeing how my father is revered by so many people here. As the CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises, I’m always looking for ways to engage my father’s legacy and expand upon it, and I feel that entering into the fragrance market is really a way to expand his legacy. My father of course was a martial artist and action film star, but many people don’t realise that he was quite fashion forward - a style conscious man, as well as a philosopher. I’m really pleased that the fragrances reference his philosophies that express different moods and representations of him as well.

What’s the reasoning behind doing a fragrance?

If it triggers someone to go back and watch his films or to understand more about him, I think it’s a really nice sort of in-road into the man. This is a very personal thing for me. Hopefully people will respond to this as something meaningful.

Your father remains an international icon to millions of fans. What do you think was the key to his success?

One thing my father was always concerned with in his life was quality. He really believed that people should work hard to express themselves better. He worked very hard to put his message and a little piece of himself into everything that he did. My father was a man of the people.

Why do you think Bruce Lee had such broad appeal across the world, transcending cultures and languages?

Well, I think that the action genre is a universal language, and it’s one that my father was very fluent in. So when you see him on screen, whether you understand the words or not, I think his presence, energy, skill, power and grace are things that translate universally. But aside from that, I think that he represents what one person can do in his life if he works very hard and stays focused. He broke through a lot of barriers in his films and in his life as well. People find that heroic and that resonates and gives people hope.

You struggled to gain ownership rights over the Bruce Lee name for 20 years. How difficult was that for you and your family?

The year 2008 is when I bought all of the merchandising rights. It was really difficult when the licensing was handled by someone else for those 20 years. It was tough because I really felt like they didn’t get it. I think in order to represent my father well you have to understand him, and of course nobody represents him better than his family. When the opportunity presented itself to get it back entirely it wasn’t even a decision for me.

What do you miss most about your father?

He was very kind, he really cared about people, and he really took care of his friends. I’m fortunate that he left behind so much for me in the way of his writings - his books and notes - so that I can continue to be guided by him. But what I really miss is, of course, the personal connection.

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