Perry Lee is one of the largest collectors of Bruce Lee memorabilia in the world. He has developed his collection over more than 42 years, amassing over 5,000 items relating to the martial arts icon. Perry Lee, an environmental inspector for King County and no relation to his idol, first saw the legendary star in 1964 when he visited Franklin High School and gave a Kung-Fu demonstration. After the demonstration, Perry took the bus to Bruce Lee’s martial arts school in the University District.
“It was my first meeting with Bruce Lee,” said Perry. “I was mesmerized watching him train and practice with his students performing his personal style of Kung-Fu. I was only 14 years-old at the time. However, he left a profound impression on me for life.”
Perry believes Bruce Lee is a significant individual to the API community, beyond just his martial arts prowess.
“Bruce Lee was the first positive image of an Asian American on television back in the 60’s when he appeared as Kato on the ‘Green Hornet’ series,” said Perry. His massive collection includes items that showcase a different side of the star few are aware of. Bruce Lee was an innovator, philosopher, artist, author, poet, and fitness and nutrition expert long before yoga, diets and organic food became a fad. Perry is proud to show off his collection of Bruce Lee sketches, martial arts training devices, letters, and thousands of books, magazines, and toys with his image on it.
Perry Lee said he has always felt connected to the ID and its non-profit agencies. That drove him to participate in “Headlines Come to Life”.
“Helping the IE is just an extension of my willingness to assist and support the Asian American community,” said Perry. “I believe IE provides a positive, historical perspective of Asian Americans and the struggles that they went through and are still going through that young API youths have forgotten.”