Six degrees | South China Morning Post
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Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Bruce Lee, Hong Kong's iconic martial artist and movie star (below), is being celebrated in an exhibition, titled "Bruce Lee: Kung Fu. Art. Life", that opened yesterday at the Heritage Museum in Sha Tin. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Lee's death, it showcases more than 600 items relating to the kung fu legend. Recently, Lee was magically resurrected, albeit speaking Putonghua instead of Cantonese, in an advert for Johnnie Walker whisky, a move deemed tactless by some given his brief but turbulent relationship with alcohol. His face was simulated using CGI and superimposed on Lee lookalike Danny Chan Kwok-kwan …

The Hong Kong actor claimed playing Lee in 2008, in an epic 50-episode television series based on the star's life, was a dream come true. "I did feel some pressure playing the role, but I was actually more excited than worried," he said. While his resemblance to the adult Lee is irrefutable, Chan's portrayal of him as an adolescent was considered less convincing. Chan first came to acting prominence when he appeared as goalkeeper Empty Hand in the film Shaolin Soccer, directed by Stephen Chow Sing-chi …

While the local filmmaker and comedian has enjoyed success at the box office, it seems his interpersonal skills leave much to be desired. Actor Sammo Hung Kam-bo is reported to have called Chow "inhumane" in his treatment of co-workers, to which the director replied: "I don't mind, whatever." Chow's latest blockbuster is a loose comedic reinterpretation of Wu Chengen's 16th-century Monkey King novel Journey to the West, which was also recently adapted for the stage by British musician Damon Albarn …

The frontman of British pop group Blur and musical multitasker has admitted the band was riven by heroin use in the mid- to late-1990s, as they struggled to cope with fame in the aftermath of their albums Parklife and The Great Escape. On the group's self-titled 1997 album, Albarn seemingly makes allusion to his narcotic consumption on the slumberous hit Beetlebum, which climaxes with the lethargic mantra: "He's on, he's on, he's on it". One of Albarn's many musical side projects was the 2012 "supergroup" Rocket Juice & the Moon, featuring Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and funky Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea …

Australian-born Michael Balzary, better known by his high-school nickname - earned as he "was little and jumped around a lot" - played the hyperactive Douglas J. Needles in the films Back to the Future II and III. An ardent fan of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, Flea once performed the United States' national anthem on the trumpet at one of their games. The Chilis' 1989 song Magic Johnson attests to the band's love for the team's point guard wizard and also extols the Lakers' "bald and bold" centre, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar …

The "King of the Skyhook" thought he had only months to live when he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2008. Fearing the worst - he had lost a good friend to an aggressive form of the same disease - Abdul-Jabbar learned, however, that his chronic myeloid leukaemia was treatable and the NBA hall of famer seems to have won his battle against the cancer. In 1973, the seven-foot, two-inch star, then 23, made his acting debut as Hakim in the film The Game of Death. The film's star - whose character Abdul-Jabbar fights but who died before the movie's release - was a high-flying, yellow jumpsuited Bruce Lee.

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