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Jet Li

Born in Beijing, Li began studying the art of wushu (the general Chinese term for martial arts) at the age of 8. After three years of extensive training, Li won his first national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team. Jet Li's celebrity in China was so great, the government selected him to represent the country in over 45 countries by performing martial arts at various state functions. The most famous, in terms of history, was his 1974 performance on the lawn of the Whitehouse for President Richard Nixon, after he had just reopened American diplomatic relations with China. For the next five years, he remained the All-Around National Wushu Champion of China.

Shortly after retiring from the sport at the age of 17, he was offered many starring roles and subsequently began on his film career with director Chang Hsin Yen for SHAOLIN TEMPLE. The success of SHAOLIN TEMPLE propelled Li from a mere martial arts master to a full-fledged Chinese movie star and celebrity almost overnight. His star shone so bright that almost any picture with his name attached became an instant success. KIDS FROM SHAOLIN and MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN, Jet's second and third films respectively, also enjoyed box-office success. Li was to complete 25 successful Asian films before crossing over to America.

Since his first English-language film appearance as the villain in LETHAL WEAPON 4 opposite Mel Gibson, Jet has appeared in films like ROMEO MUST DIE, THE ONE, KISS OF THE DRAGON, and HERO.

After HERO, Li continued with projects such as CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE and UNLEASHED co-starring Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins. In 2005 Li began work on what he said was the culmination of his life-long experience with martial arts. FEARLESS, directed by Ronny Yu, is Jet Li's last wushu film and has received considerable box office and critical success both in Asia and around the world, including a Best Actor award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Association.

Li recently wrapped principal photography on the Chinese-language film TOU MING ZHUANG (known in English as THE WARLORDS) with Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro.

Li is extending his fame to charitable causes. Already a Red Cross ambassador, Li recently spearheaded and founded the Red Cross Society of China Jet Li One Foundation Project (One Foundation), a foundation whose goal is to provide counseling to victims of natural disasters and to help young people coping with mental health and psychological issues.

The One Foundation believes that 1 person + 1 dollar +1 month = 1 big family. Says Li, "If each person donates at least one dollar each month, our individual donations will be transformed into a much greater fund. When we combine our charitable strength, we can make sure that the most vulnerable members of our global family will receive the help they need right away."

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Jet Li Facts

Birth NameLian Ji Li
OccupationActor, Director
BirthdayApril 26, 1963 (59)
BirthplaceBeijing, People's Rep. of China
Height5' 6½" (1m69)  How tall is Jet Li compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Expendables 2
The Expendables 4K Ultra HD
The Mummy Ultimate Trilogy
The Mummy Ultimate Collection
The Expendables
Forbidden Kingdom
Martial Arts of Shaolin
Continue » Find more details on the Jet Li Movies page