Jackie Chan has become a household name worldwide, not only as an international superstar but also as a prominent symbol of Chinese culture. Coming from humble beginnings and without formal education, Chan was enrolled at an early age in the China Drama Academy, where he spent the next decade training rigorously in martial arts, acrobatics, and performance. As one of the top students he began starring in early roles by the age of 5, up until he was 17 playing a stuntman in the Bruce Lee films.
Despite early film failures, Chan eventually established his own personal style, as Chan explains, he didn’t want to emulate the legendary Bruce Lee but rather invent his own style of filmmaking. His first breakthroughs came when he starred in the 1978 films “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” and “Drunken Master”, officially launching his career and creating the unique Jackie Chan-style action comedy genre filled with innovative fight sequences and stunts.
In the early 80’s Chan made his first attempt to enter the American film market, however abandoned these efforts after a few less than stellar movies. Chan then returned to Hong Kong where he quickly took off, producing hit films such as “Police Story” and “Dragons Forever.” With his renewed success he finally broke into the American film market, releasing the widely acclaimed film “Rumble in the Bronx” (1996), and the even more popular “Rush-Hour” (1998). To this date Chan has appeared or starred in over 100 movies.
Chan always gives his films a personal touch, whether through life-threatening stunts he personally performs, or singing the theme songs of many of his movies. Chan has also had a successful career in music, releasing 20 albums since 1984, and even recording the song “We are Ready” for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, of which he was also a Goodwill Ambassador for. Chan has stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars. His tremendous international success and depiction of crime-fighting heroes has even lead to cities in the US and abroad creating the holiday Jackie Chan Day or making him an honorary police officer in his honor. He has also been declared as the Chinese Government’s official cultural ambassador.
Jackie Chan is also one of the world’s top philanthropists, creating the Jackie Chan Foundation in 1988 and the Dragon’s Heart Foundation in 2004. Having such widespread influence and fame, Chan has been invited to meet with world leaders, and in 2011 attended the White House State Dinner with American and Chinese Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao. Each year Chan’s list of achievements grows as he travels the world for business, charity, and cultural exchange.
Jackie Chan, winner of the Second US China Outstanding Contribution Award in 2012, holding the award presented by Colin Wu, Vice Chairman of the US China Business Association, at Jackie Chan Studio over the coast of Repulse Bay in Hong Kong.