Jackie Chan Biography

Jackie Chan Biography
Jackie Chan (born on April 7, 1954 in Hong Kong) is a Chinese martial artist, actor, director, stuntman and singer.



Jackie Chan is one of the most recognized names in Kung fu and action movies worldwide, known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, and use of furniture and other set pieces as improvised weapons. Jackie has starred in over a hundred movies, and is one of the most recognizable Chinese and Asian movie stars in the world. He sings many of his films theme songs and also has a pop music singing career which began in the 1980s. He is one of the Seven Little Fortunes.

Jackie Chan is the son of Lee-Lee and Charles Chan, who emigrated to Canberra, Australia in 1960 as refugees from the Chinese civil war. Prior to leaving China, Lee-Lee and Charles had worked as a maid and butler, respectively, for the French ambassador to Hong Kong. Jackie's Chinese name at birth was Chan Kong-Sang, meaning "born in Hong Kong".

Before he adopted the Westernized name, "Jackie", he was known by a variety of other nicknames. As he was a heavy baby, (12 lb at birth, having allegedly spent 12 months in the womb), his mother nicknamed him "Pao Pao" (meaning "Cannonball"). Later, while studying at the Peking Opera school (alongside Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao) he was known as Yuen Lo, as a mark of respect to his master, Yu Jim-Yuen.

In Jackie Chan's early stuntman and acting career (prior to New Fist of Fury in 1976) he was known as Chen Yueng Lung (or Chen Yuen Lung). He was thereafter known as "Jackie", named by his Australian co-workers when living in Australia in 1976-19771. On the building site he worked on, he worked with Jack - due to the language barrier, he was known as little Jack (later shortened to Jackie). Because his father's family name was originally Fong and was changed only when arriving in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan's Chinese name was changed in family records years later to "Fong Si Lung2". He has also been listed as "Sing Lung" (meaning "young dragon"), particularly in relation to his music and it may be no coincidence that his character in the film Fearless Hyena was called "Shing Lung".

Jackie Chan got his first international success with the film Drunken Master. The movie showed Wong Fei Hung, played by Jackie, as a young and mischievous rascal instead of the venerable master of kung fu that he normally was. This approach made the movie pretty radical. Another special thing about the movie was the silly antics and charm of Jackie and Yuen Siu Tien (also known as Simon Yuen), father of renowned martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. The film was a big success and led the way for other international hits such as Rumble in the Bronx

Jackie married Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-Jiao (林鳳娇) in 1983 according to his autobiography, but many Asian sources state he was married on December 1, 1982. His official website states that he was married in 1982. Jackie and Lin Feng-Jiao have a son, Jaycee Chan (aka Jo-Ming), who was born on December 3, 1982, although Jackie's autobiography lists his son's birth year as 1984. Jackie also has a daughter, as a result of cheating on his wife, Etta Ng Chok Lam (b. November 19, 1999) with Elaine Ng Yi-Lei out of wedlock.

He was educated at Nan Hua Elementary Academy, but his parents felt he didn't fit in at school so they sent him to the Chinese Opera Research Institute (1961-1971) and Peking Opera School. Jackie was in the Seven Little Fortunes Chinese opera troupe as a youth, along with Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Corey Kwai.

Jackie Chan is often labeled as doing all his own stunts. While this claim does not hold up to close scrutiny, he does insist on doing the majority of them, including stunts for other characters if they are not showing their faces, and has racked up an impressive list of injuries to prove it. (The closing credits of his movies usually show bloopers and at least one serious injury.) This is why he is unable to get insurance anywhere in the world. He came closest to death while filming Armour of God (1985), when he fell from a tree in a relatively routine stunt and fractured his skull.

Around the time of Project A in 1983, Jackie Chan officially formed the Jackie Chan Stunt Team, allowing him to train and work with a group of trusted martial artists and stuntmen for each of his ensuing movies. Jackie says that this means it is easier to choreograph fight scenes as he already has trust in them.

In his autobiography, Jackie says he originally created his screen persona as a reaction to that of Bruce Lee, and the numerous imitators who appeared before and after Lee's death (see "Bruceploitation"). Where Lee's characters were typically stern, morally upright heroes, Jackie plays well-meaning, slightly foolish regular guys, often at the mercy of friends, girlfriends or families. However, his characters always triumph in the end.

Jackie Chan repeatedly attempted to break into the American movie industry, appearing in movies like Battle Creek Brawl, Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II and The Protector in the early 1980s. Chan in the 90's was offered two roles that would portray him in a villain context, but declined both of them. His friend, Sylvester Stallone, offered Jackie the role of the criminal, Simon Phoenix, in the futuristic film Demolition Man but he declined as he did not want to play a villain for fear of being typecast for any future Hollywood roles. The role was instead taken by Wesley Snipes. He also declined to play a villain in the film Lethal Weapon 4 with the role taken by Jet Li.

While he did attain cult popularity in the US, his break into the mainstream was Rumble in the Bronx in 1995. He has attained the box-office guarantee that has so far eluded other Hong Kong movie stars like Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh in Hollywood. He also made a successful animated series called Jackie Chan Adventures.

In 1994, MTV honored Jackie with a lifetime achievement award for his action-oriented movies, and a year later, he made his "official" debut in North America with a worldwide release of Rumble in the Bronx.

Jackie has a star on the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong as well as the Walk of Fame. Jackie is also known as a major pop star in Asia, and he released over 100 song titles in 20 albums since 1984. He sings in many different languages including English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese.

As well as many on-going projects, Jackie is a keen philanthropist and has worked tirelessly to champion many charity works and causes. As a well-respected figure of the Hong Kong entertainment industry, he is often one of the leaders in such works, speaking up for conservation, against animal abuse as well as promoting disaster relief efforts such as the recent mainland China relief flood programs and the 2004 Tsunami donations. Jackie Chan helped raise thousands of US dollars, however this money was later stolen by a third party.

Film List



After filming Canonball Run, he continued stuntman/director Hal Needham's style of ending each of his movies with a sequence of "out-takes" being shown. This would sometimes include accidents during filming, as in The Young Master, Armor of God, Miracles etc.

He sings many of his own movie theme songs. Jackie has had a fairly successful career as a recording artist (though not as successful as his movie career). The American versions of his movies do not typically feature the original theme songs, something which his fans find rather irritating. Jackie was also featured on the Mandarin soundtrack for the Disney movie Mulan, which includes a video on the DVD version.

With a few exceptions, Jackie always dubs his own movies. He is quite fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and occasionally dubs himself in other languages (such as English).
He has named his lack of education his greatest regret in life.

Chan also owns a set of Japanese daisho (matching set of katana & wakizashi) hand crafted by renowned swordsmith Yoshihara Yoshikazu.

This Jackie Chan Biography Page is Copyright Biography World © 2004 - 2010