Actor, director, producer. Born April 7, 1954, in Hong Kong, China. When his parents moved to Australia to find new jobs, the seven-year-old Chan was left behind to study at the Chinese Opera Research Institute, a Hong Kong boarding school. For the next 10 years, Chan studied martial arts, drama, acrobatics, and singing, and was subjected to stringent discipline, including corporal punishment for poor performance. He appeared in his first film, the Cantonese feature Big and Little Wong Tin Bar (1962), when he was only eight, and went on to appear in a number of musical films.
Upon his graduation in 1971, Chan found work as an acrobat and a movie stuntman, most notably in Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon, starring Hong Kong's resident big-screen superstar, Bruce Lee. In "Fist of Fury" he reportedly completed the highest fall in the history of the Chinese film industry, earning the respectful notice of the formidable Lee, among others.
A year after the release of his first bona fide hit, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978), Chan took the Hong Kong film world by storm with his first so-called "kung fu comedy" the now-classic Drunken Master (1978). Subsequent hits such as The Fearless Hyena (1979), Half a Loaf of Kung Fu (1980), and The Young Master (1980) confirmed Chan's star status; the latter film marked his first with Golden Harvest, Lee's old production company and the leading film studio in Hong Kong. Before long, Chan had become the highest-paid actor in Hong Kong and a huge international star throughout Asia. He exerted total control over most of his films, often taking charge of duties ranging from producing to directing to performing the theme songs.
In the early 1980s, Chan tried his luck in Hollywood, with little success. He starred in the Golden Harvest-produced The Big Brawl (1980), which flopped; he also had a small supporting role opposite Burt Reynolds in the disappointing ensemble comedy Cannonball Run (1982) and its equally mediocre 1984 sequel.
Back in Hong Kong, Chan's star only rose throughout the 1980s, as he produced impressive action-comedies such as Project A (1983), Police Story (1985), and Armor of God (1986), and the hit period film Mr. Canton and Lady Rose (1989), a clever remake of Frank Capra's 1961 film A Pocketful of Miracles. By that time, however, Chan was far more than a movie star—he was a one-man film industry. In 1986, he formed his own production company, Golden Way. He also founded a modeling/casting agency, Jackie's Angels, in order to recruit talent for his films. During the filming of Police Story, so many stuntmen were injured that none would agree to work with Chan again; in response, he founded the Jackie Chan Stuntmen Association, whose members he trained personally and paid their medical bills. For his part, Chan claims to have broken every bone in his body at least once while performing stunts. In 1986, during the filming of Armor of God, he fractured his skull after falling over 40 feet while attempting to jump from the top of a building and land on a tree branch below.
In the early 1990s, Chan broadened his range even more, turning in a rare dramatic performance in the melodramatic Crime Story (1993). He also made several sequels to his hits Police Story and Drunken Master. As one of the biggest international box office stars, his popularity in America was limited to the savviest filmgoers. Chan's profile began a meteoric rise in the mid-1990s, however, when a series of events combined to bring him to the attention of a wider American audience. Then in 1998 burst into super stardom with Rush Hour, alongside with Chris Tucker, would be a dynamic duo for a series of films.