Bruce Lee, A Life by Mathew Polly

Joined: December 27th, 2012, 8:01 pm

June 5th, 2018, 12:33 pm #81

Any photos in the kindle version we've not seen before?
Thanks
Tony
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Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

June 5th, 2018, 4:50 pm #82

[quote="PhantomDreamer"]
Concerning steroids, yes they weren't illegal then, but then, how easy were they to obtain? Thinking about Unsettled Matters, I still think Bleecker confused corticosteroids with anabolic steroids. Comparing Bruce Lee's physique duringbthe time he filmed the Green Hornets in 1966-67 and Way of the Dragon in 1972, he was bulkier in Green Hornet and he probably looked his physical best in Way of the Dragon. I believe Bruce had developed pecs and six pack abs at 10, so who knows exactly what was going on?
[/quote]

Well it only matters in the sense that in some people doing anabolic steroids can have a deleterious effect on your system, liver, and heart, in susceptible people, depending on the amount and what else someone might be ingesting or injecting. If that is the case then when we look for the oft cited 'multi-factorial' causes of BL's untimely death it gives some gravity to the concern of use and abuse of prescription and non-prescription medications as a contributing factor.

To me having the allegation in Bleecker's book is not enough to be labeled 'evidence' but when you add that Chuck Norris came out in print with that comment about the 'well-known experimentation' with steroids it gives one pause and makes it something to consider.

Nobody is trying to tarnish the legend or reputation, at least not here. We're trying to uncover, if possible, what happened.
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Joined: January 17th, 2014, 1:19 am

June 5th, 2018, 5:57 pm #83

Not to veer completely off topic, but Chuck Norris, if you asked him today where he filmed the WOTD fight scene, he would probably respond "the Colosseum in Rome". Whenever he's asked about it, his "fighting" weight at the time he was "world champion" also fluctuates constantly, "162", 168", "170". But I digress...
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

June 5th, 2018, 10:13 pm #84

Tony, most of the photos in the book are courtesy of David Tadman, and are photos we on this forum have seen before. The casual Bruce Lee fan may not have seen them though. Most of the other photos are from Golden Harvest or Warner Bros and Getty Images.

However, yes there are a few rare photos that I have not seen before, but maybe LJF, or a few other Bruce Lee researchers have. These are:

- Grandfather Ho Kom Tong (1925)

- Great Uncle Sir Robert Hotung (1924)

- Great Grandmother Sze Tai (1890)

- Bruce's Dutch-Jewish Great Grandfather Mozes Hartog (1880)

- A Lee family tree diagram

- Picture of Bruce with an actress named Thordis Brandt, who appeared in an episode of The Green Hornet, and in the movie In Like Flint with James Coburn. Apparently Bruce had an affair with her as well.

- Picture of Bruce having a beer in the Domincan Republic in 1970.

I don't know if the printed hardbound book is exactly the same as the Kindle edition, but I assume they are since they were released together. So I suspect the photos in each would be the same.
"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

June 5th, 2018, 10:35 pm #85

I've finished reading the book. It is very well done, and very thorough. It covers the usual ground everyone is by now familiar with, while also emphasizing certain people's points of view and explaining certain events that Polley must have felt were not fully explored before. Polley interviewed a lot of people, including the obvious: Linda, Fred Weintraub, and Betty Ting Pei, as well as the not so obvious: Jay Sebring's nephew, Sharon Ferrell, Thordis Brandt, etc for the book. I wish he had interviewed Nora Miao too. But overall, I have to give Polley kudos for doing the legwork. I think it's a book that LJF would like.

I will add more to my comments later when I've gone through the book in more detail.

Polley's theory of death does make sense. The only quibble I have is that although the May 10th collapse and July 20th death share many similarities of symptoms, the July 20th death did not include vomiting and seizures. However, I think the heat stroke theory still remains a strong possibility.

Here is an excerpt from the book Bruce Lee: A Life, about the cause of death. Since the quote codes don't work on the forum, I will just copy and paste from the book without quotes:


On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died from heat stroke. It is the most plausible scientific theory for his death. Consider the timeline. Ten weeks earlier on May 10, 1973, Bruce Lee collapsed after working in a boiling hot room. He displayed multiple symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction (nausea, vomiting, staggering, collapse), and his temperature was dangerously elevated—the two diagnostic criteria for hyperthermia. Bruce had a long history of being vulnerable to heat. His risk factor was increased by sleep deprivation, extreme weight loss, and the recent surgical removal of his armpit sweat glands.

July 20, 1973, was the hottest day of the month in tropical Hong Kong. In Betty Ting Pei’s small apartment, Bruce demonstrated scene after kung fu scene from Game of Death. “In telling the story, he acted out the whole thing,” Raymond Chow says. “So, that probably made him a little tired and thirsty. After a few sips he seemed to be a little dizzy.” Just like on May 10, Bruce exerted himself in a hot enclosed space and ended up feeling faint and suffering from a headache—two early signs of heat stroke. He wandered into Betty’s bedroom, fell onto her bed, and never got up again. “A person who has suffered one heat stroke is at increased risk for another,” says Dr. Lisa Leon, an expert in hyperthermia at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. “Patients experience multi-organ dysfunction during the hours, days, and weeks of recovery, which increases risk for long-term disability and death.”

Of the minor drugs in Bruce’s stomach on July 20, neither cannabis nor meprobamate is known to cause cerebral edema. The only possible suspect is aspirin. The Mayo Clinic lists the potential reactions to aspirin as “hives, itchy skin, runny nose, red eyes, swelling of lips, tongue or face, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis—a rare, life-threatening allergic reaction.” More commonly caused by bee stings and peanut allergies, anaphylaxis can result in fatal cerebral edema. When Professor Teare and Dr. Lycette were theorizing about hypersensitivity to aspirin, they were talking about anaphylactic shock.

But anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, is almost always accompanied by other symptoms—an enflamed trachea, neck, tongue, and lips, as well as hives and red itchy skin in and around the mouth. In fatal cases, the swelling of the throat blocks the airway resulting in asphyxia and cerebral edema. The paramedics and doctors who treated Bruce the night of July 20 did not find any inflammation of Bruce’s tongue or throat. Nor did the coroner, Dr. Lycette, during the autopsy. Bruce Lee was a hard-core martial artist who took aspirin for pain most of his adult life. While it is possible he suddenly developed a life-threatening allergy to aspirin at the age of thirty-two, the odds that he died from anaphylactic shock without any of the associated symptoms are vanishingly small.

Compared to aspirin allergies, heat stroke is a far more common killer of young athletic men. It is the third most common cause of sudden death in sports activities and rises to first during the hottest months of summer. In the United States alone, an average of three high school and college football players die every year of heat stroke. Korey Stringer, a twenty-seven-year-old professional football player, collapsed on a Minnesota Vikings practice field on a sweltering July afternoon in 2001. His death prompted immediate changes regarding heat stroke prevention throughout the NFL. There was even less awareness of hyperthermia’s dangers in 1973 than 2001. Even now proper treatment is not known by every physician.

While it is impossible to know for certain what caused Lee’s death, hyperthermia is the most likely explanation. If it was heat stroke, then Bruce Lee died doing what he loved most—performing kung fu in front of an appreciative audience.

 From the moment he was cast in his first movie as a two-month-old, Bruce Lee spent his time on this earth entertaining and educating others. With an intensity rarely seen before or since, Never Sits Still squeezed an entire lifetime’s worth of accomplishments into thirty-two short years. His death was not a tragedy, because his life was a triumph. “Even though I, Bruce Lee, may die someday without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I feel no sorrow,” he told a Hong Kong reporter in 1972 as if anticipating his own eulogy. “I did what I wanted to do. What I’ve done, I’ve done with sincerity sincerity and to the best of my ability. You can’t expect much more from life.”

Polly, Matthew. Bruce Lee: A Life (p. 475). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

June 5th, 2018, 10:37 pm #86

I keep spelling his name wrong. I apologize. It's Polly, not Polley.
"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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Joined: May 24th, 2018, 11:52 am

June 6th, 2018, 12:43 am #87

[quote="JKD54"]
I've finished reading the book. It is very well done, and very thorough. It covers the usual ground everyone is by now familiar with, while also emphasizing certain people's points of view and explaining certain events that Polley must have felt were not fully explored before. Polley interviewed a lot of people, including the obvious: Linda, Fred Weintraub, and Betty Ting Pei, as well as the not so obvious: Jay Sebring's nephew, Sharon Ferrell, Thordis Brandt, etc for the book. I wish he had interviewed Nora Miao too. But overall, I have to give Polley kudos for doing the legwork. I think it's a book that LJF would like.  

I will add more to my comments later when I've gone through the book in more detail.

Polley's theory of death does make sense. The only quibble I have is that although the May 10th collapse and July 20th death share many similarities of symptoms, the July 20th death did not include vomiting and seizures. However, I think the heat stroke theory still remains a strong possibility.

Here is an excerpt from the book Bruce Lee: A Life, about the cause of death. Since the quote codes don't work on the forum, I will just copy and paste from the book without quotes:


On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died from heat stroke. It is the most plausible scientific theory for his death. Consider the timeline. Ten weeks earlier on May 10, 1973, Bruce Lee collapsed after working in a boiling hot room. He displayed multiple symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction (nausea, vomiting, staggering, collapse), and his temperature was dangerously elevated—the two diagnostic criteria for hyperthermia. Bruce had a long history of being vulnerable to heat. His risk factor was increased by sleep deprivation, extreme weight loss, and the recent surgical removal of his armpit sweat glands.

July 20, 1973, was the hottest day of the month in tropical Hong Kong. In Betty Ting Pei’s small apartment, Bruce demonstrated scene after kung fu scene from Game of Death. “In telling the story, he acted out the whole thing,” Raymond Chow says. “So, that probably made him a little tired and thirsty. After a few sips he seemed to be a little dizzy.” Just like on May 10, Bruce exerted himself in a hot enclosed space and ended up feeling faint and suffering from a headache—two early signs of heat stroke. He wandered into Betty’s bedroom, fell onto her bed, and never got up again. “A person who has suffered one heat stroke is at increased risk for another,” says Dr. Lisa Leon, an expert in hyperthermia at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. “Patients experience multi-organ dysfunction during the hours, days, and weeks of recovery, which increases risk for long-term disability and death.”

Of the minor drugs in Bruce’s stomach on July 20, neither cannabis nor meprobamate is known to cause cerebral edema. The only possible suspect is aspirin. The Mayo Clinic lists the potential reactions to aspirin as “hives, itchy skin, runny nose, red eyes, swelling of lips, tongue or face, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis—a rare, life-threatening allergic reaction.” More commonly caused by bee stings and peanut allergies, anaphylaxis can result in fatal cerebral edema. When Professor Teare and Dr. Lycette were theorizing about hypersensitivity to aspirin, they were talking about anaphylactic shock.

But anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, is almost always accompanied by other symptoms—an enflamed trachea, neck, tongue, and lips, as well as hives and red itchy skin in and around the mouth. In fatal cases, the swelling of the throat blocks the airway resulting in asphyxia and cerebral edema. The paramedics and doctors who treated Bruce the night of July 20 did not find any inflammation of Bruce’s tongue or throat. Nor did the coroner, Dr. Lycette, during the autopsy. Bruce Lee was a hard-core martial artist who took aspirin for pain most of his adult life. While it is possible he suddenly developed a life-threatening allergy to aspirin at the age of thirty-two, the odds that he died from anaphylactic shock without any of the associated symptoms are vanishingly small.

Compared to aspirin allergies, heat stroke is a far more common killer of young athletic men. It is the third most common cause of sudden death in sports activities and rises to first during the hottest months of summer. In the United States alone, an average of three high school and college football players die every year of heat stroke. Korey Stringer, a twenty-seven-year-old professional football player, collapsed on a Minnesota Vikings practice field on a sweltering July afternoon in 2001. His death prompted immediate changes regarding heat stroke prevention throughout the NFL. There was even less awareness of hyperthermia’s dangers in 1973 than 2001. Even now proper treatment is not known by every physician.

While it is impossible to know for certain what caused Lee’s death, hyperthermia is the most likely explanation. If it was heat stroke, then Bruce Lee died doing what he loved most—performing kung fu in front of an appreciative audience.

 From the moment he was cast in his first movie as a two-month-old, Bruce Lee spent his time on this earth entertaining and educating others. With an intensity rarely seen before or since, Never Sits Still squeezed an entire lifetime’s worth of accomplishments into thirty-two short years. His death was not a tragedy, because his life was a triumph. “Even though I, Bruce Lee, may die someday without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I feel no sorrow,” he told a Hong Kong reporter in 1972 as if anticipating his own eulogy. “I did what I wanted to do. What I’ve done, I’ve done with sincerity sincerity and to the best of my ability. You can’t expect much more from life.”

Polly, Matthew. Bruce Lee: A Life (p. 475). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
[/quote]

Seems possible. Although one has to wonder if his theorized physical exertion that day was not from acting out scenes from Game of Death (can we really believe Chow on anything) but from some unusually intense bedroom gymnastics with Betty...I guess we will never know for sure
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Joined: September 12th, 2011, 9:14 pm

June 6th, 2018, 3:16 am #88

Agreed JKD54.  Received my copy in the mail today, and you'e right; it' a hearty read. I just finished the prologue: Tale of Two Funerals which did a great job of taking you back to the dates of Bruce's HK and Seattle services, July 25th and 30th, 1973. Some written accounts, as you'e stated, appeared in previous publications, and some details, ever so minor, I can recall first hearing originally 40+yrs ago and hadn't since... Such as Jesse Glover, waving off groundskeepers, and being the only person after services to cover Lee's casket. 
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Joined: September 12th, 2011, 9:14 pm

June 6th, 2018, 3:47 am #89

MonkeyKing- "Seems possible. Although one has to wonder if his theorized physical exertion that day was not from acting out scenes from Game of Death (can we really believe Chow on anything) but from some unusually intense bedroom gymnastics with Betty...I guess we will never know for sure."

Again, agreed. Chow's presence and testimony shouldn't be trusted, I feel. Lee having the sweat glands removed if true, was a dangerous thing within itself; I can't see any doctor performing this procedure willingly,  knowing the dangers. But hey, nowadays they'll inject you with all types of substances in your face, chest, buttocks, etc., for a fee so... 
Regarding Bruce and Betty's bedroom activities, she was known for her erotica skills in the bedroom, and was versed at playing around with the butthole. Autopsy revealed "congested rectum". In those early rumors, it was said Lee died from Spanish Fly... Now get this; shortly after his death, around HK, there were reports of small grown bags turning up in strategically placed areas marked with inscription "Betty knows the cause of Bruce Lee's death"... Brown bags, as if to presume some type of 'street drug' or narcotic. Well look up the infamous Blister Beetle, well known in the Karma Sutra practices, as an aphrodisiac, and extremely dangerous. The sensation from the oils from this insect are said to give arousement. Side affects can include CONGESTION OF THE RECTUM, and DEATH.  [emoji unicode-emoji="1f632"]1f632[/emoji]
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

June 6th, 2018, 5:23 am #90

Actually having your sweat glands removed was all the rage in the 1970s. It was usually done for women. Remember, it was Betty who suggested it to Bruce. My mother had her sweat glands removed. She never liked the heat, and thought it would help her. It didn't. After she had her sweat glands removed, she had even less tolerance for heat.
"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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