Jackie Chan was born Chan Kon-Sang in 1954 to Charles and Lee-lee Chan. His birth was not a simple one. He was in the womb for 12 months before he was surgically brought into the world by caesarean section. Jackie weighed 12 pounds and was named Chan Kong-sang which means “born in Hong Kong Chan.” Due to the fees of the medical procedure, the Chan’s were almost forced to give up their child for adoption. Luckily, they borrowed some money from friends to pay for their child.
Jackie’s parents worked for the French embassy in Hong Kong. His father was a cook and his mother was a housekeeper. When Jackie was 7, his father took a job to work for the American embassy in Australia. Unable to control a young Jackie, who kept getting into fights and skipping school, Charles enrolled Jackie in the Yu Jim-yuen’s China Drama Academy. Jackie spent the next 10 years of his life in that school.
The school was made to train children in the art of Peking Opera. Here, Jackie learned to sing, act, practice martial arts, and perform acrobatics. Jackie faced many hardships at the school including regular beatings and the skipping of meals. Many children take up the name their master gave them, which always included the name of Yuen. Yuen Woo-ping, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao all attended the same school as Jackie. Jackie became involved in a group called the “Seven Little Fortunes” where they would travel and perform. Eventually, some of the brothers became involved in the movie business as stuntmen.
Jackie is in the middle
Jackie graduated at 17, but was troubled to see that Chinese Opera was no longer popular. Not being taught how to read or write, he was forced to become a stuntman. He was known for being fearless and willing to do any job. As the Hong Kong film industry began to fail, Jackie moved to Australia to live with his parents. He worked at a construction company, where he got his nickname. A worker named Jack had trouble pronouncing the name “Kong-sang” and called him “little Jack.” The name soon became Jackie, and it stuck.
Jackie received a telegram from a man named Willie Chan offering him a job for Lo Wei, a famous Hong Kong producer/writer who was looking for new talent. Jackie flew back to Hong Kong at the age of 21 and worked on several films for Lo Wei. Jackie found himself frustrated with the fact that none of his movies used his potential. He was in countless movie flops, before he was able to contribute his own ideas and craft his unique style.
Jackie’s first success was “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow,” his first that was approved to mix action and humor. Slowly, Jackie was able to take control of his movies and became a success in Asia. He also tried his hand at American films, but was severely disappointed. Coming back to Asia, Jackie focused on his own market and proceeded to create movies such as Police story and Armour of God.
It wasn’t until several years later, when Jackie created Rumble in the Bronx, that he was accepted into the American market. He has also had a hand in a number of charitable events, working towards the goal of helping anyone in need, including raising over $3.3 million for earthquake victims in Japan.
As his popularity continues to grow, Jackie Chan has now become a household name known by people all over the world. He still continues to create movies that entertain and inspire viewers and shows no signs of slowing down.
Visit Jackie’s Official site at http://www.jackiechan.com/