Controversy Was Bruce Lee's Death Murder Part 3

About the controversy surrounding the death of famous Chinese Kung Fu movie star Bruce Lee. Was he murdered?




Theories and Unanswered Questions: Bruce Lee cultists have refused to believe that a man who could do one-finger push-ups and was fanatical about his diet of raw beef and egg shakes could die of such a minor cause. They have, as a result, made a parlor game out of his death, not unlike "Is Paul Dead?," which was played by Beatles fans in the 1960s. Some of Lee's fans are sure that the whole thing was a hoax. A tribe in Malaysia is so convinced he is still alive that they continue to wait patiently for his reemergence. Those closest to Lee, who accept his death as a grim reality, scoff at the sensational stories that attribute his early demise to an overindulgence in sex or drugs--notably cocaine. They are convinced, instead, that the hard-driven actor simply burned himself out.

In Alex Ben Block's book The Legend of Bruce Lee (1974), some intriguing theories are put forth. Lee may have been done in by kung fu traditionalists, who were offended because he arrogantly flaunted the secrets of their sect. Another theory points the finger at rival Hong Kong filmmakers who saw him becoming a serious competitor. Block contends that either of these groups would have had access to herbal poisons that could work without detection long after they had been administered. Block also casts a shadow of suspicion on the Ninja, a centuries-old organization of Japanese assassins so skillful at covert killing that people once believed its members were invisible. The motive here, says Block, would have been the traditional Chinese-Japanese rivalry which Lee exploited in his films. It has also been suggested that Bruce Lee was killed when he refused to give a share of his income to the Chinese "Mafia."

Block's most exotic theory, however, involves the dreaded Malaysian art of "the vibrating palm." In this, a practitioner of the art can convert internal energy into resonating vibrations and, through a mere touch, cause a victim's death at a predetermined future time. According to Black Belt magazine, these vibrations can be transmitted "through the hand to the victim's body cavity," where "they systematically disrupt blood flow and lung structure." Block adds, parenthetically, that Lee had "strange broken blood vessels in his lungs" at the time of his death.

In Bruce Lee, King of Kung Fu (1974), authors Felix Dennis and Don Atyeo point out that, during the last months of his life, Lee had been warned of inauspicious omens connected with the location of his house; the title of his final movie, The Game of Death; and the name of his co-star, Betty Ting-pei. Even in death bad luck continued to plague Lee; his coffin was scratched, and its silk lining was stained in the process of being shipped back to Seattle. According to Chinese beliefs, this final mishap reveals that the soul of the Little Dragon is still not at peace.

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