Bruce Lee: How Successful Would He Be Today?

From UFC stars like Conor McGregor all the way to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu heroes like the Gracie family, many martial artists have earned their place at the top. But for those martial artists and many more, they had one man to thank for inspiring them. That man was Bruce Lee, and despite dying at such a young age, he’s still a legend in the martial arts world.

A look at Bruce Lee’s martial arts career

Born in San Francisco, Lee’s parents moved their family to Hong Kong when he was just a kid. In Hong Kong, it didn’t take long for him to start learning martial arts. Although he was interested in many combat styles, one of his most famous teachers was Ip Man. From him, Lee learned a lot about Wing Chun, a traditional Chinese martial art. 

While he would get into a few street fights growing up as a kid, his martial arts career didn’t really take off until his parents sent him back to the U.S. for his education. There, he got an education, but he also got his foot in the door of Hollywood. It didn’t take him long before he started impressing Hollywood executives with not just his martial art skills, but also his charisma and his acting abilities.

He started getting casted in movies and TV shows, but, unfortunately, Lee died at the age of 32. According to History, he died from a brain edema that may have been caused by his body having a reaction to a prescription painkiller. That said, despite his death, several of his movies were released afterwards, and they still are popular martial arts films today. 

People want more Bruce Lee movies

Obviously, it’s impossible to say how popular he would’ve been. That said, with the rise of other martial arts movie stars, such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen, it’s clear that people want martial arts movies and would’ve wanted more ‘Bruce Lee movies.’ 

On top of that, his movies that were released after his death were extremely popular. Enter the Dragon, which was released in August 1973, a month after his death, made a lot of money. According to History, Enter the Dragon made $200 million worldwide at the box office, which made it extremely profitable. 

It’s hard to say how his movies are selling today, but he still has fans who still buy his DVDs, Blu-rays, and try to watch his movies on streaming services whenever possible. On top of that, he also made money being a martial arts instructor and a writer, so he would’ve continued making money through those means, too.

How much was Bruce Lee worth when he died?

Lee’s Hollywood career hadn’t peaked yet, but despite this, he had already made a lot of money from his roles. The Richest reported that, at the time of his death, he was worth about $10 million. Had he not died at such a young age, his net worth would definitely have grown, as his movies were successful and are still popular to this day. 

For example, The Richest said that he was making $400 for each episode of the short-lived TV show, The Green Hornet. That was back in 1966, and since he appeared in 26 episodes of the show, Lee was paid about $10,400 for that season. Adjusted for inflation, this is equal to $80,000, which isn’t bad considering the fact that it was his first appearance in an American TV show. 

Had he not died, he would’ve almost definitely received more work in TV.