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  Jackie ChanJackie Chan, (born 7 April 1954) is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, filmmaker, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer.

In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts. Jackie Chan has been acting since the 1960s and has appeared in over 100 films. Chan has received stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1976, Jackie Chan received a telegram from Willie Chan, a film producer in the Hong Kong film industry who had been impressed with Jackie's stuntwork. Willie Chan offered him an acting role in a film directed by Lo Wei. Lo had seen Chan's performance in the John Woo film Hand of Death (1976) and planned to model him after Bruce Lee with the film New Fist of Fury. His stage name was changed to Sing Lung (also transcribed as Cheng Long, literally "become the dragon") to emphasise his similarity to Bruce Lee, whose stage name was Lei Siu-lung (meaning "Little Dragon"). The film was unsuccessful because Chan was not accustomed to Lee's martial arts style. Despite the film's failure, Lo Wei continued producing films with similar themes, resulting in little improvement at the box office.

Chan's first major breakthrough was the 1978 film Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, shot while he was loaned to Seasonal Film Corporation under a two-picture deal. Under director Yuen Woo-ping, Chan was allowed complete freedom over his stunt work. The film established the comedic kung fu genre, and proved to be a breath of fresh air for the Hong Kong audience. Chan then starred in Drunken Master, which finally propelled him to mainstream success.

Upon Chan's return to Lo Wei's studio, Lo tried to replicate the comedic approach of Drunken Master, producing Half a Loaf of Kung Fu and Spiritual Kung Fu. He also gave Chan the opportunity to co-direct The Fearless Hyena with Kenneth Tsang. When Willie Chan left the company, he advised Jackie to decide for himself whether or not to stay with Lo Wei. During the shooting of Fearless Hyena Part II, Chan broke his contract and joined Golden Harvest, prompting Lo to blackmail Chan with triads, blaming Willie for his star's departure.

The dispute was resolved with the help of fellow actor and director Jimmy Wang Yu, allowing Chan to stay with Golden Harvest.

Willie Chan had become Jackie's personal manager and firm friend, and has remained so for over 30 years. He was instrumental in launching Chan's international career, beginning with his first forays into the American film industry in the 1980s. His first Hollywood film was Battle Creek Brawl in 1980. Chan then played a minor role in the 1981 film The Cannonball Run, which grossed US$100 million worldwide. Despite being largely ignored by audiences in favour of established American actors like Burt Reynolds, Chan was impressed by the outtakes shown at the closing credits, inspiring him to include the same device in his future films.

After the commercial failure of The Protector in 1985, Chan temporarily abandoned his attempts to break into the US market, returning his focus to Hong Kong films.

Back in Hong Kong, Chan's films began to reach a larger audience in East Asia, with early successes in the lucrative Japanese market including The Young Master (1980) and Dragon Lord (1982). The Young Master went on to beat previous box office records set by Bruce Lee and established Chan as Hong Kong cinema's top star.

Chan produced a number of action comedy films with his opera school friends Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. The three co-starred together for the first time in 1983 in Project A, which won the Best Action Design Award at the third annual Hong Kong Film Awards.

Over the following two years, the "Three Brothers" appeared in Wheels on Meals and the original Lucky Stars trilogy. In 1985, Chan made the first Police Story film, a US-influenced action comedy in which Chan performed his own stunts. It was named the "Best Film" at the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards. In 1987, Chan played "Asian Hawk", an Indiana Jones-esque character, in the film Armour of God. The film was Chan's biggest domestic box office success up to that point, grossing over HK $35 million.

Jackie Chan created his screen persona as a response to Bruce Lee, and the numerous imitators who appeared before and after Lee's death. In contrast to Lee's characters, who were typically stern, morally upright heroes, Chan plays well-meaning, slightly foolish regular guys (often at the mercy of their friends, girlfriends or families) who always triumph in the end despite the odds. Additionally, Chan has stated that he deliberately styles his movement to be the opposite of Lee's: where Lee held his arms wide, Chan holds his tight to the body; where Lee was loose and flowing, Chan is tight and choppy. Despite the success of the Rush Hour series, Chan has stated that he is not a fan of it since he neither appreciates the action scenes in the movie, nor understands American humour.

In recent years, the aging Chan grew tired of being typecast as an action hero, prompting him to act with more emotion in his latest films.

In New Police Story, he portrayed a character suffering from alcoholism and mourning his murdered colleagues. To further shed the image of Mr. Nice Guy, Chan played an anti-hero for the first time in Rob-B-Hood starring as Thongs, a burglar with gambling problems.

Personal life

In 1982, Jackie Chan married Lin Feng-Jiao (aka Joan Lin), a Taiwanese actress. That same year, the two had a son, singer and actor Jaycee Chan. Elaine Ng Yi-Lei, gave birth to a daughter, Etta Ng Chok Lam, on November 19, 1999. The Hong Kong media alleged that he was the father, but as of yet, there has been no verification by either party involved. He also has a nephew named Austin Chan Chun-Hin residing in Shanghai. Chan is a Buddhist.

He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English fluently, and also speaks some German, Korean and Japanese, as well as a little Spanish.

In 2009, Chan received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambodia.

/ Jackie Chan Biography photo
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