• Sat
  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 12:45am

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am

Bruce Lee (below) would have celebrated his 71st birthday today had he not died at the age of 32, probably due to an allergic reaction to painkillers. The inventor of the one-inch knockout punch achieved a striking speed, from a distance of three feet and with his hands by his sides, of five-hundredths of a second. Lee also choreographed fight scenes for 1969 Dean Martin comedy The Wrecking Crew, which was the debut for martial artist Chuck Norris ...

Norris is the subject of an internet meme that erupted in 2005 with factoids of absurd achievements attributed to the actor. While Norris says he found a few of the accolades amusing (perhaps the assertion that a street named in his honour had to be changed because 'nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives'), being a devout creationist, it is unlikely he would have warmed to the suggestion that he was the Sun God to whom beautiful girls were sacrificed by the Incas ...

The Incas categorised social classes through the practice of skull deformation - wrapping the heads of newborns in straps to mould their skulls into cone shapes. The empire, which arose in the 13th century in South America, was largely wiped out by smallpox. Nevertheless, Spanish invaders saw fit to behead their king, Tupac Amaru. Centuries later, Peruvian revolutionary Jose Condorcanqui declared himself a descendant of the monarch and renamed himself Tupac Amaru II ...

In 1780, Tupac II led an uprising against the Spanish only to meet a fate more grisly than - but in the same spot as - that of his ancestor. After witnessing the execution of his wife and son, Amaru II's tongue was cut out and his limbs tied to four horses. When his body proved too strong for the stallions to rip apart, the Spanish beheaded him, too. His name has become synonymous with the battle for freedom. In 1971, a mother celebrated being acquitted of 150 charges of conspiring against the United States government by naming her newborn Tupac Amaru Shakur ...

Perhaps not surprisingly, given his inauspicious name, in 1994 the rapper survived being shot five times only to be convicted the next day of five counts of sexual molestation. Shakur spent 11 months in jail before a more proficient gunman finished him off. The 86th greatest artist of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine, dabbled in acting. His first starring role was in violent crime flick Juice, which was also the film debut for his co-star, Omar Epps ...

Epps' first love was writing and by the age of 10 he was penning poetry. It took a stint as a dancer and singer for Queen Latifah to convince the New Yorker that acting was the way forward. Having played a multitude of struggling athletes, Epps earned his acting stripes in medical drama House. Baby Omar was welcomed into the world on July 20, 1973, snuffling onto a mortal coil vacated that same day by Bruce Lee.

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