With a kick, a punch, and a goofy smile, it’s Jackie Chan! This actor and martial artist was born in 1954, and lead an extraordinary life of ups and downs. He’s popular worldwide, and is still active in the global community. He even created a new genre of film: the Kung Fu comedy, or at least he made it popular. So let’s jump into some facts about a guy makes you laugh while kicking some guy’s butt!
Jackie Chan Facts
1. Jackie Chan was raised by a Chinese Opera Company
Jackie Chan started his martial and performance training at a very young age, an interesting fact about Jackie Chan. Chan’s parents left him at the Chinese Opera Company Research Institute Boarding School at the tender age of seven so that they could find jobs in Australia.
The Company’s training included various martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and acting. It was not a kind place. Kids were punished for poor performances, even if they were trying their best. That could not have been healthy for Chan, mentally, but he did appear in his first movie just a year into his training, at age eight. After that, he performed in several other movie musicals.
2. He was supposed to be Bruce Lee part two
Since Jackie Chan was good at both acting and martial arts, and was already very popular in the Hong Kong movie industry, everyone thought Jackie Chan would be the next Bruce Lee. In fact, when Bruce Lee suddenly died in 1973, Chan worked on a bunch of Bruce Lee style Kung Fu movies with the same director Bruce Lee worked with. The movies were not successful. Jackie Chan was not Bruce Lee. However, in time, Jackie Chan would develop his own artistic voice, blending the martial arts with physical comedy.
3. He set a record for highest fall in Chinese Cinema
After graduating from the Chinese Opera Institute, Jackie Chan worked on various movies as a stuntman, including the movie Fists of Fury. During this period of his life, Jackie Chan fell from a building as one of his stunts, setting a record for the highest fall in Chinese movies, an interesting Jackie Chan fact. His record was broken, of course, but hey, he set a record.
4. Jackie Chan was a one-man film industry
As Jackie Chan became increasingly popular from his Kung Fu comedies, he took more and more creative control of his projects. He would star, direct, sing the theme song, which were all the different aspects of the movie making process.
He went even further beyond that and created his own production company called Golden Way. As part of Golden Way, he founded a casting agency called Jackie’s Angels to cast other characters for his movies. He also created a school for stuntmen, and provided full medical coverage for his students. He was a one-stop shop for creating hit movies and passing his knowledge along to the next generation.
5. He wasn’t really known in the US until the mid-90s
Jackie Chan’s celebrity was mostly contained to Asia until the mid-1990s. Chan tried to break into Hollywood in the 80s, but failed. Two things happened to put Chan in the American spotlight in 1995. First, Chan wrote himself into comics, which were published in American newspapers, and second, Quentin Terintino presented Jackie Chan with a lifetime achievement award. Rumor had it Terintino felt so strongly about Chan winning this award that he threatened to boycott the awards ceremony if Chan didn’t win.
In 1996, Chan got his first American hit Rumble in the Bronx. It made 10 million dollars its first weekend and jumped to number one on the charts.
6. Chan was Master Monkey in Kung Fu Panda
Jackie Chan truly reached the peak of his career when he voiced master Monkey in the movie Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black. He was the voice for all three movies and a few of the video games, but James Sie took over for the TV show based on the movies.
7. He’s contributed to many charities
An interesting fact about Jackie Chan is that he ontinues to use his wealth and fame for good causes. He has several causes that are close to his heart such as protecting the environment, helping people recover from natural disasters, and helping animals. In 2015 he became the first anti-drug ambassador in Singapore. He’s been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2004, which basically means he’s an official international influencer trying to influence people for the better.
Chan has said that when he dies, half of his money will go to charity.
8. Jackie Chan had more flops than hits
Yes, Jackie Chan ended up making many hit movies, but he also made many flops. The general American population can only name a few of his movies, and he has been in over 100 movies. Yes, there are titles he is known for such as Rush Hour and Rumble in the Bronx, but there are also titles that aren’t as popular, like Jackie Chan’s First Strike.
The point is, wherever you see success, there is a history of failures. Failure is an important part of future success, as long as learn from that failure.
Jackie Chan is still making films, with several announced for 2020, but his days of doing crazy stunts are over. At the time of this writing, he is 65 years old. He isn’t that old, but his body can’t handle the strain of the stunts he did in his youth. Chan claims to have broken every bone in his body at least once doing his stunts, including his skull, which he fractured after jumping from a 40 foot building and landing in a tree branch.
Still, he carries on with his charities, his movies, his good deeds. There are many lessons to learn from Jackie Chan’s life, especially that of perseverance. Jackie Chan went from a small child left to be raised by the Chinese Opera to an international star.
I hope that this article on Jackie Chan facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!