ESPN’s ‘30 for 30’ brings forth, ‘Be Water,’ a documentary that traces the legacy of the martial arts master, Bruce Lee. The icon, who set himself apart through his contribution to action films and martial arts, met with an untimely death. Nonetheless, his family, along with several others, continue to propagate his work further and keep it alive.
Linda Lee Cadwell
Linda Lee Cadwell was born in Everett, Washington, on 21 March 1945. She has Swedish, Irish, Norwegian, English, and Dutch ancestry. She was raised a Baptist. Cadwell was a cheerleader in high school. Linda joined Bruce Lee’s academy to learn kung fu. This is how the two fell in love and got married. The two had two children together, Brandon Lee and Shannon Lee. During the course of their marriage, the couple had moved back to Hong Kong, and being a foreigner there; she had quite a difficult time blending in.
In the wake of Bruce Lee’s death, there were also several rumors about him being a womanizer and having had several affairs during the course of their marriage. She stated that she was offended by the kind of statements that were made about him. Later, she said, “Having been married to Bruce for nine years and being the mother of our two children, I am more than qualified to give a correct recital of the facts.”
After Bruce Lee’s death, Cadwell wrote her first book, ‘Bruce Lee-The Man Only I Knew.’ The book received critical acclaim. Another reason for its success was that it came shortly after Lee’s death, and hence the memories helped in keeping him alive. This was the basis for the film ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story,’ which was later made in 1993. After this, she went back to the US with her children, and in 1989, she wrote another book, titled, ‘The Bruce Lee Story.’ She also completed her education and started teaching kindergarten students.
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Happy Mama’s Day to my sweet, beautiful, strong mama! I love this picture! I was just telling Wren about Riff (our dog). Thank you, mama, for raising us up! Thank you for all your sacrifices, for your love, for your protection , for your laughter, and for your radiant nature. You’re an amazing mom and grandma! We love you so, so much! Mamas make the world go round! ❤️🌎❤️🌍❤️🌏❤️
Another tragic loss, she faced after the death of her husband, was the death of her son, Brandon Lee, in 1993, during the shooting of his film ‘The Crow.’. She was supportive of the film finishing its production and going ahead with the release after Brandon’s death. In 2002, both Linda and Shannon Lee founded the Bruce Lee Foundation. The foundation was established to share Bruce Lee’s writings, philosophy, and his craft, Jeet Kune Do.
In 1988, she married Tom Bleecker, an actor, and writer. However, the two got divorced in 1990. In 1991, Linda married Bruce Cadwell. Bruce Cadwell is a stockbroker.
Where is Linda Lee Cadwell Now?
Linda Lee Cadwell lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband. She still works in the capacity of a Founder and a Volunteer Advisor at The Bruce Lee Foundation. In 2019, she spoke when ‘Enter the Dragon’ was having a rewind screening. She said, “…it was difficult for him to break into the Hollywood circuit as an established actor because of prejudice towards him being Chinese. The studio said that a leading Chinese man in a film was not acceptable, so Bruce set out to prove them wrong.” In ‘Be Water’ she contributes her insights about the man Bruce Lee was and the power of what he tried to bring to both the film industry and martial arts in general.
Read More: How Did Bruce Lee Die?