“I’m Like a Monkey in the Zoo”: Despite Massive Success, Bruce Lee Once Faced a Saddening State

Published 02/06/2023, 7:00 AM EST

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Bruce Lee reached the pinnacle of success, popularity, and stardom during his career. The legendary actor revolutionized the action industry in the mid-90s. But his stardom reached new heights after the release of The Big Bro in 1971. Lee suddenly was among the most popular celebrity in South Asia. However, the Little Phoenix could feel the burden of pressure and aspirations coming from the fans. The superstardom had to restrict his daily movements as he was constantly followed and looked at by reporters and fans. 

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The action icon had to make a lot of unwilling changes in his habits and routine. In Bruce Lee’s biography, Matthew Polly mentioned an interesting instance when Lee expressed the complexities he had to deal with, owing to his popularity. 

Bruce Lee had to adjust some of his habits

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As described in his biography titled Bruce Lee: A life,  the martial artist was once interviewed by a reporter from Esquire magazine who asked about his experiences of being famous and how they had impacted him on a personal level. Alex Ben, the reporter, asked him whether Lee had to go through any changes due to his fame. The legend had some hard words to say about his popularity. 

Bruce Lee admitted that the game did bring some changes but it made him feel like a bounded person. “Well, it changed in the sense that it’s like I’m in jail. I’m like a monkey in the zoo,” Lee said. The Little Phoenix said that since there are eyes on him constantly, he had to think twice before saying anything, which normally he didn’t do earlier. 

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However, the star also told the interviewer that it hadn’t changed him. It may have changed his habits but not his attitude toward life. “It doesn’t make me feel proud or that I am any better than I was. I’m basically the same d*mn old sh*t”, he added. But, this success didn’t come suddenly and Bruce Lee had to work for it to turn it into reality. 

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Lee wanted to become the richest actor

In the same biography, Matthew Polly described the time Lee wrote down his goals in a document titled My Definite Chief Aim. In the document, he made a resolution to become the wealthiest superstar in the USA. The little man made a promise to himself to have 10 million dollars in his possession. 

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The legendary martial artist was aware of the struggles he had to go through and was committed to giving justice to the work. He gave days and nights to achieve the stardom he received in his life. Even though the man is gone, his legacy remains. 

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Written by:

Shivam Sharma

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Shivam Sharma is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, he has previously worked as a writer and an anchor for Navbharat Today, penning down and explaining issues around sports, politics, and international relations. He is an admirer of Virat Kohli for the passion that he brings to the field.
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Edited by:

Jahnabi Choudhury

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