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Biography #2 (for Hero)

Jet Li is one of Hollywood's most accomplished martial arts actors who has showcased his talents in a multitude of demanding and diverse roles.

Li began training at the Beijing Martial Arts Academy at the age of nine. Just two years later, he captured the title of China's National Martial Arts Champion. This earned him a slot on the prestigious Beijing Martial Arts Team that would go on to tour America. As part of a world tour in 1974, he had the honor of performing a two-man fight for President Nixon on the White House lawn. By his mid teens, he was already a national martial arts coach. By eighteen, Li had earned the title of National Martial Arts Champion a total of four times (1975, 1977, 1978 and 1979) a record no one has broken.

Li retired from competition at twenty and was immediately offered many starring film roles and subsequently began his film career with director Chang Hsin Yen for 'Shaolin Temple' (1979). Upon its release, Li was propelled into instant movie stardom, and he would go on to act on the two sequels that precipitated the kung-fu mania in 1980s China. Jet Li was bitten by the silver screen bug.

In the late 80s, Jet Li moved his career to Hong Kong where he played such martial arts icons as Huang Fei Hung in Tsui Hark's 'Once Upon a Time in China' (1991), Fong Shi Yu in 'The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk' (1993), Zhang San Feng in 'The Tai Chi Master' (1993), Chen Zhen in 'Shaolin Kung Fu' (1994) and Hung Hei-Kwun in 'The New Legend of Shaolin' (1994). In homage to the great Bruce Lee, he remade Lee's 'Fist Of Fury', as 'Fist Of Legend' (1997). Li then expanded his repertoire to include comedy, drama and romance genres with 'Bodyguard from Beijing' (1994) and 'My Father is a Hero' (1995).

Despite his growing fame in Asia, Jet Li was still largely unknown in North America and Europe. This would all change when he took on the role of Mel Gibson's nemesis in the high octane block buster, 'Lethal Weapon 4'. Li was quickly shaping up to be a global force to be reckoned with. Li built on his initial success taking a starring role in Joel Silver's explosive inter-racial take on Shakespeare, 'Romeo Must Die' (2000). In 2001, Li continued to challenge himself with the 'The One', playing the Jekyll and Hyde police officer, Gabriel Yulaw. His latest success was 'Kiss of the Dragon' (2001), where he played the starring role as well as donning writing and producing hats.

Li's future projects include a Joel Silver produced action-adventure film in the vein of 'Indiana Jones'. He has also teamed up with Mel Gibson's Icon Productions to produce a martial arts television series for TBS entitled 'Invincible'. Jet Li's Kung Fu features have attracted millions of viewers worldwide. He has earned credibility from all sectors of society from teenagers (nominated MTV Awards for Best Villain for 'Lethal Weapon 4' (1998) as well as Best Fight Sequence for 'Romeo Must Die' (2000)) to women (voted one of the Top 25 Sexiest Men in Showbiz by E! Online).

Bio courtesy Miramax for "Hero" (25-Aug-2004)


Biography #3

World-renowned martial arts master and Asian film sensation Jet Li made his English-speaking film debut in the 1998 mega-hit franchise Lethal Weapon 4. A national treasure in his homeland of China, Li portrayed the villainous Asian crime lord who goes head-to-head with Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Rene Russo and Chris Rock in the Richard Donner film. The role was a complete change of pace for Li, who, in his previous 25 films, had always portrayed the hero.

Li was born in Beijing and enrolled in the Beijing Amateur Sports School for wushu training at the age of eight. His mentor, Coach Wu Bin, designed extra and more rigorous exercises for Li, who demonstrated the natural talent and perseverance required for wushu training.

After three years of intensive instruction, Li won his first national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team. As part of a world tour in 1974, he had the distinction of performing a two-man fight for President Nixon on the White House lawn.

For the next four years, Li remained the All-Around National Wushu Champion.

He was discovered for films by Director Hsin Yen and offered the starring role in the historical epic Shaolin Temple, about a young monk whose father is killed by the Emperor's nephew. The film was an enormous success that spawned two sequels and propelled Li into instant stardom.

Li made the leap into Hong Kong films with the critically acclaimed box-office sensation Once Upon a Time in China for director Tsui Hark, which vaulted him into superstardom. The film proved so popular that Li starred in three of its five sequels, including his last Asian-produced film, Once Upon a Time in China and America.

Now residing in Los Angeles, Li plans to continue working with American filmmakers and studios. Teaming with TBS Superstation, Alliance Atlantis Communications and Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, he will soon be producing Invincible, an original telefilm and series pilot. Featuring the ancient martial art wushu, American audiences can expect spectacularly choreographed, death-defying action sequences in the distinctive Hong Kong filmmaking style.

Bio courtesy Warner Bros. (01-Jan-2000)


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