Jet Li is a Chinese actor, martial artist, and film producer who has become one of the most influential figures in modern martial arts cinema. He began his career as a child star in the 1970s, appearing in several kung fu films before transitioning to larger roles in Hollywood blockbusters.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Jet Li has worked with some of the biggest names in action filmmaking including Jackie Chan and John Woo.
Born Li Lianjie on April 26th 1963, Jet was raised by his father—a professional wushu (Chinese martial art) teacher—in Beijing’s Beihai Park district. At age 8 he joined an acrobatic performance troupe called The Seven Little Fortunes and studied traditional wushu under renowned coach Wu Bin at Beijing’s Capital Institute of Physical Education. It wasn’t long before Jet had earned himself a national championship title for Wushu at just 11 years old!
In 1979, legendary Hong Kong director Lo Wei cast him as lead character Hua Shi-Lung (Hua Chen-chen) alongside Bruce Lee’s brother Robert Lee Jr., for The Shaolin Temple—the first major breakthrough that launched Jet’s rise to fame within China’s entertainment industry. With this newfound recognition came more opportunities; between 1981-1982 alone he starred in six different films! During this time he adopted the stage name “Jet Li” out of respect for another actor whose real name was also Lian Jie (Lee Hoi San).
It wasn’t until 1998 when American audiences got their first taste of what made Jet so special with Lethal Weapon 4 where he played Wah Sing Ku opposite Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.
This role opened doors for other projects such as Romeo Must Die (2000), Kiss Of The Dragon (2001), Unleashed/Danny The Dog (2005) and Fearless (2006)—all highly acclaimed international hits that showcased not only his exceptional acting skills but also demonstrated why many consider him one of best martial artists alive today – if not ever!
In recent years jet li has shifted focus towards producing movies rather than starring them; however it hasn’t stopped fans from appreciating all that he has done throughout his remarkable journey thus far!