Ready for a deep dive into the mind of Bruce Lee? The Wing Luke Museum recently debuted “Be Water My Friend” — an interactive exhibit that explores the iconic star’s relentless pursuit of knowledge through his 2,800-book library and other artifacts. It’s not only giving us major reading goals, but also piqued our interest in how connected Bruce was to Seattle.
Let’s reminisce about the actor’s old hangs — and how the city still bears his imprint.
Origins of a legend ⏳
Before he became a big thing in Hollywood, Bruce spent some formative years in Seattle from 1959 to 1964 — part of that time enrolled at UW majoring in philosophy. He started out as a busboy at the famed Ruby Chow’s restaurant in First Hill and pursued his martial arts training at a makeshift location just across the street.
After demonstrations at a Seafair event + the World’s Fair, Bruce opened up his own martial arts school in a U District building that’s still standing at 4750 University Way. In fact, the studio is currently seeking landmark status, and a community of historians hope to preserve it. One plan is to revamp it as a new martial arts school + residence where students can seek instruction from Bruce’s former pupils.
Go on a Bruce journey 👟
If you’re looking to get closer to our local hero, check out:
- University Congregational Church | 4515 16th Ave. NE | Bruce married his wife Linda Emery at this church on Aug. 17, 1964.
- Tai Tung | 655 S. King St. | Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant was also one of Bruce’s faves — his go-to dishes included the beef in oyster sauce + garlic shrimp.
- Old Atlas Theater location | Maynard Ave. + Jackson St. | Bruce loved watching movies at this influential theater, which has since been turned into housing.
- Lake View Cemetery | 1554 15th Ave. E. | Bruce and his son Brandon are buried together at the Capitol Hill site.
Pro tip: The Wing Luke museum also has a special guided Bruce Lee tour around the Chinatown-International District — the next one is on Sat., Sept. 3.