Jackie Chan wants to set the record straight: Contrary to Internet rumors, ... Chan, 56, is working hard, however, continues the missive: "Jackie is fine
Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong on April 7th, 1954. His parents, Charles and Lee-lee Chan named him Chan Kong-sang which means "born in Hong Kong." Jackie weighed 12 pounds when he was born and his mother required surgery to deliver him. Jackie's parents were so poor that they had to borrow money from friends to pay the doctor.
Although Jackie's parents were poor, they had steady jobs at the French embassy in Hong Kong. Charles was a cook and Lee-lee was a housekeeper. Together, the Chan family lived on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. When Jackie was young, his father would wake him early in the morning and together they would practice kung fu. Charles Chan believed that learning kung fu would help build Jackie's character, teaching him patience, strength, and courage.
When Jackie was seven years old Charles took a job as the head cook at the American embassy in Australia. He felt that it would be best for Jackie to stay behind in Hong Kong to learn a skill and so enrolled him in the China Drama Academy where Jackie would live for the next 10 years of his life.
During Jackie's time at the school, he learned martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and acting. The school was meant to prepare boys for a life in the Peking Opera. Chinese opera was very different from any other kind of opera. It included singing, tumbling, and acrobatics as well as martial arts skills and acting. Students at the school were severely disciplined and were beaten if they disobeyed or made mistakes. It was a very harsh and difficult life but Jackie had nowhere else to go, so he stayed. He rarely saw his parents for many years.
5' 8½" (1.74 m)
Apprenticed to the China Drama Academy (or "opera school") by his parents at the age of 6, Jackie Chan was rigorously trained in music, dance, and traditional martial arts. A visiting filmmaker offered Chan his first (tiny) role as a stunt player. Chan took the part, and soon left the Opera to pursue the world of film. Fellow Opera students Biao Yuen and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo would also have careers in film, and the three would star in several films together in the following years. Chan's talent and enthusiasm soon saw him taking larger and more important roles, graduating first to stunt coordinator, and then to director.
Jackie Chan Apprenticed to the China Drama Academy
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