Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Chan, Jackie
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Chinese actor, director, and producer. He is known for incorporating comedy into his martial arts films and for performing all of his own stunts. He became a sensation in Asia for his kung fu films during the 1980s and crossed over to US audiences during the 1990s with films such as Rumble in the Bronx (1996). English language films include the Rush Hour trilogy (1998–2007), Shanghai Noon (2000), Shanghai Knights (2003), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), and The Karate Kid (2010).

After a rigorous and often harsh training at Hong Kong's Chinese Opera Research Institute from the age of seven, he began working as a stunt performer. For the Bruce Lee film Fist of Fury (1972) he performed the highest fall in the history of Chinese cinema. After Lee's death in 1973, Chan worked with Lee director Lo Wei (1918–1996) on a series of kung fu films, but their collaboration ended in the late 1970s and Chan decided to develop his own persona, combining daring stunts with Buster Keaton-inspired comedy. Early hits include Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978), Drunken Master (1978), Half a Loaf of Kung Fu (1980), and The Young Master (1980). He formed his own production company, Golden Way, in 1986.

He was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Australia with his parents shortly after. He was sent back to Hong Kong for boarding school by his parents, where for the next ten years he studied acting, singing, dance, and martial arts. He made his film debut in the Cantonese feature Big and Little Wong Tin Bar (1962). He later became part of an acting troupe called the Seven Little Fortunes, which included Sammo Hung (1952– ) and Yuen Biao (1957– ), who worked with Chan on films during the 1980s such as Project A (1983), Meals on Wheels (1983), and Dragons Forever (1988).

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Chan, Jackie (Chan Kong-Sang) (1954- )
Chambers Film Factfinder

Chinese, born in Hong Kong. Sent to the Peking Opera School as a child, he studied music, dance and martial arts before making his film debut in...

Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation

Audience expectations play an important role in defining genres, and the “martial arts” sections of DVD stores suggest that martial arts films...

Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation

As with many hand-me-down trends from cinema, television caught onto the martial arts early in the medium's incarnation. In the 1950s and 1960s,...

See more from Credo