Charles Dickens will be the subject, rather than the author, of entertainment from Thursday to Saturday, when the Fringe Club, in Central, stages Letters to the Beloved, the tale of his marriage to Catherine Hogarth Dickens. The play investigates how, after more than 20 years and 10 children together, the great Victorian novelist left his wife, calling her a bad mother and housekeeper. Born in 1812, Dickens penned famous novels including Oliver Twist, A Tale Of Two Cities and Great Expectations, which, in 1955, was loosely adapted as An Orphan’s Tragedy, a Hong Kong film starring a teenage Bruce Lee …

Martial arts master Lee was also a talented dancer: aged 18, he became the cha-cha champion of Hong Kong. After taking up wing chun to fight the street gangs of Kowloon, however, he focused on martial arts. According to movie legend, while filming his 1973 hit Enter the Dragon, Lee’s kicks were so fast he had to re-film scenes in slow(er) motion so his moves wouldn’t appear fake. Pallbearers at Lee’s funeral, on July 31, 1973, included Hollywood heavyweights Chuck Norris and Steve McQueen …

The “king of cool” was born in Indiana, in the United States, to a prostitute mother and a circus stunt pilot father, who abandoned the family shortly after conceiving his son. Growing up, McQueen stole food, money and hubcaps, which he sold, to survive. Aged 13, he lost his virginity to a 15-year-old “prostitute”. The actor remembered, “You didn’t pay her with money. You bought her cakes … I bought her a lot of cakes.” Throughout his life, McQueen predicted he would not live to an old age. In 1977, he said, “I’m going to be dead by 50.” Three years later, at a clinic in Mexico, the actor passed away, aged 50. In 1999, one of McQueen’s most famous films, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), was remade with a soundtrack featuring the hit Sinnerman, by Nina Simone …

The American singer, songwriter and civil rights activist had a reputation for volatility. In 1985, she shot at a record-company executive whom she accused of stealing her royalties. Luckily, she missed. Later Simone fled to Barbados, to avoid a warrant for her arrest over unpaid taxes (she had refused to pay as a protest against US involvement in the Vietnam war). On the Caribbean island, Simone had an affair with Errol Barrow, its then prime minister. While she led an unorthodox personal life, Simone’s professional influences were more conventional: she cited her biggest inspiration as being Johann Sebastian Bach …

Born in 1685, the German composer was fond of incorporating the number 14 (and its mirror 41) into his musical works, as that was the sum of the letters of his surname according to the values of mystical numerology. An orphan by the age of 10, Bach sired 20 children, owned no property and left no will. In 2005, his Sinfonia in C Major was used in the 2005 British comedy Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, starring Steve Coogan, Stephen Fry and Gillian Anderson …

The American actress is best known for her portrayal of FBI special agent Dana Scully in hit television series The X-Files. In high school, Anderson was voted “most likely to be arrested” by classmates, and was, in fact, arrested on graduation night, for trying to glue shut the lock of her high school gate. In 2011, Anderson starred in the three-part BBC mini-series, Great Expectations, an adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens.