Eric Lee Interview
Article care of www.star-interviews.com
Arts Master, Film Star, World Champion Eric Lee!
met Eric Lee at a stunt clinic he was giving in China
Town. He had a full class (only one girl but she was
real determined) and taught a lot I never realized was
involved in the filming process. He teaches film and
stunt work at UCLA too. Very interesting man. Since
then, he has given me a wonderful sword training video,
plenty of tips, taken me to lunch in China Town (LA)
and a convention he was guest of honor at. A great man
and a super cool dude. So many interesting things we
discussed including his relation to Kay Baxter, the
bodybuilder in the David Lee Roth videos and his new
restaurant and other endeavors. Eric is endorsing a
new stretching device and putting together a full line
of martial arts videos, so plenty more will follow.
The guy is friends with every big name martial arts
star in the world. He has a story about each of them
too. Nothing bad, but man can this guy talk!
Lemmon asks: Let's play word association: Stallone and
Norris (Eric worked with both. Once on Rambo and again
at Chuck's stunt clinics).
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Just different people. Very nice
to work with both. No complaints. I am fight coordinator
certified with Chuck.
Lemmon asks: You were on both General Hospital and the
A-Team. Talk to me!
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Laughs. How did you know? I was
acting then. No martial arts. Funny huh? I was dressed
as a maid in Bring Em Back Alive. Laughs. I was also
on the Price Is Right! I took 2 girls and they picked
me instead! The big wheel you spin for bonus round.
REAL heavy. Laughs. I won a bunch of camera stuff and
diapers. Yeas, diapers! Also a 300 pound woman tripped
when they called her name and her dress went above her
head. Was funny. Wasn't her name they called either!
And JP Morgan on the Gong Show hit me once.
Lemmon asks: Your movie, China Joe...
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My movie. Released next year. It's
an action comedy. I like comedy. Think most people do.
Not so much Jackie Chan. It's more me.
Lemmon asks: The other one, Master Demon...
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Laughs. Another of my movies. Comedy
horror film. Very popular.
Lemmon asks: The Videos.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Wow, you do your homework Don.
Laughs. I have 25 done. Shooting 2 more. Total of 35.
All very different and traditional Chinese, some Shaolin
style. I also discuss healing. There is difference between
real and movie martial arts.
Lemmon asks: Any new tournaments coming up?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Solicited or unsolicited?
Lemmon asks: Who is Mark DeCastos?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Actor from the Crow and Only The
Strong. I used to baby-sit him. He's grown up now. Laughs.
Lemmon asks: Who is Karen Lee Shepherd:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: From Xena. I am her senior in the
same system. Forms and weapons champ. She fought Cynthia
Rothrock (who just had a baby). She is in a movie with
me. Did a New Millennium Workout together. You got a
lot of these questions from my web site. Laughs. I guess
I didn't elaborate?
Lemmon asks: And your opinion of actors:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: It isn't tough to work with actors
even without experience in Martial Arts. I learned during
Weapons of Death movie not to judge a man on his character's
role. It's just a role. Some surprise you. Faking a
punch is harder than taking one. Some did not like the
baby powder we had them wear for the fight scenes to
show debris flying upon impact. Laughs.
Lemmon asks: Tell me about the difference between Chinese
vs American movie making.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Baby powder. It doesn't seem Americans
are as inventive with camera work. We had to do more
with less so angle and work was important. Not high,
wide, long shots, but close, upward, illusional angles.
Sometimes we used wires too. Laughs. We used faster
film, faster music but short film clips.
Lemmon asks: Who was the first person to tell you getting
into your chosen profession was a crazy idea?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My dad. He wanted me to get into architecture
or some other "reliable" field, but he came
to eat his words because I became so well known in the
Martial arts, Film Industry and even healing arts that
now he is very proud.
Lemmon asks: What directed your attention to the industry
you are in as a profession to begin with and did you
originally see your part in it different than it is?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Well, there are basically three things
that started my interest in martial arts and M.A. films:
1) My dad practiced martial arts early in my childhood
and he would wake me up in the early mornings to exercise.
2) Back in Hong Kong I loved to watch the old black
and white movies. I was fascinated by the movement,
both the powerful aspects of it and the aesthetic.
3) The healing aspects of the Chinese arts. In Hong
Kong we lived in an herb shop. One side was Chinese
with a Doctor and two or three herbalists' and the other
side was a western style drug store. Martial arts is
more than what you see at first glance. It will generate
strength and vitality, energy, grace of movement, health
and longevity adding Chi Gung, Tai Chi, etc. In my
beginnings I never dreamed that I would be blessed with
all that I have been allowed to experience and I am
thankful on a daily basis for the abundant gifts that
Lemmon asks: What are your 5 favorite web sites besides
your own and mine?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Yours' naturally! Bruce Lee has several
interesting ones, Kay Baxters' at www.femalemuscle.com/memorial/kay/
Sid Campbells' arwww.members.aol.com/dragun3/page6.html
(And still under construction, D'anna Palominos.)
Lemmon asks: Got an ancient Chinese secret you want
to share? Tell me something nobody knows about you,
maybe it's not a secret, but something interesting about
you that no one has ever asked you about until now.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Ahhhh, but now it wouldn't be a secret
anymore then would it!
Lemmon asks: What's the craziest thing you have experienced
in the industry to date or maybe tell me about something
you witnessed and didn't participate in that would shock
ERIC LEE REPLIES: There are many wild experiences along
the way but one that stands out is in the mid 80's Ed
Parker, myself and one of my Black Belts were at an
exhibition in Chile and the turn out was tremendous.
It sold out to more than 6,000 people but there were
2,500 more outside the gates and it took a human barricade
of 250 security personnel to hold back the throng. When
our limo pulled up and we got out, the line broke and
we were swamped by crazed fans and by the time we got
into the stadium, we were exhausted and had to rest.
Then after the show we were literally picked up and
around by our fans who decided that the clothes we were
wearing would make great souvenirs. Even my shoes were
taken! I was flabbergasted, exhilarated, almost stripped
naked and it felt like being one of the Beatles!
Lemmon asks: Anything embarrassing ever happen to YOU
when you were trying to look cool? What?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: I hosted a Banquet with co-host D'anna
Palomino at the Golden Dragon in L.A. China town and
lots of important people, and stars were there. I had
just finished announcing someone and being the graceful
and athletic martial artist that I am , turned to walk
off the stage but instead I tripped over my own feet
and dove off the stage, going down behind the video
monitor but adding to the special effect, the mic I
was still holding picked up the CRASH I made when I
One other time while hosting a seminar in Newport Beach,
I forgot the clip-on lapel mic I was wearing and took
it on a safari into the mens room with me. It was still
on and broadcasting and the whole place was dying of
laughter when I came back out.
Lemmon asks: The biggest lie about your industry ever
LEE REPLIES: That there was never any actual Kung Fu
fighting in the TV show of the same name.
Lemmon asks: What's the hardest and yet easiest part
of dealing with the industry these days that you didn't
realize getting into it?
LEE REPLIES: Getting the right part is the hardest part.
After getting the right part it's the easiest.
Lemmon asks: Have the people around you changed since
you got recognition for the things you've done? Maybe
those who weren't so supportive in the beginning, suddenly
became supportive or possibly vice versa? They became
LEE REPLIES: My true friends and loyal fans have remained
constant. I've been blessed with my extended family
and have had good experiences in large part.
Lemmon asks: What is your most frequently asked question
and/or what question makes you crazy whenever someone
asks but you somehow remain composed enough to answer?
LEE REPLIES: "Oh, Are you related to Bruce Lee?"
I always tell them, "Why, yes! About a couple thousand
years or so back!"
Lemmon asks: Is there a job or a gig that you were offered
in the past but passed up that we would find interesting
because it has nothing to do with what you do now? Like
bagging groceries or working at Denny's?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: A Porn Movie! They asked me to become
a porn star and wanted me to answer a whole lot of
really embarrassing questions! Obviously I passed it
along to Sylvester. (The Italian Stallion!)
Lemmon asks: Some people think when they see you on
TV or film or in a magazine that you appeared overnight.
They do not realize the work it takes to get the smallest
plug from the media. How does it make you feel when
people less talented or deserving as you actually handed
a golden opportunity overnight? Do you feel it gives
the wrong impression to the average
consumer looking from the outside in?
LEE REPLIES: I don't begrudge anyone who is off the
couch and in there trying ! My "work" has
the time of my life! I've always been warmly received.
Lemmon asks: Your crowning achievement in life so far
and what's the big picture?
LEE REPLIES: The blessing of passing along my legacy
to others. That the world should find my life's work
valuable enough to send me all over the country teaching
seminars is humbling.
Lemmon asks: Tell me a joke!
LEE REPLIES: Q. "How come they don't have telephone
books in China?" A. "Too many Wings and wongs.
might wing the wong numba."
Lemmon asks: What is your favorite music album of the
year so far and what music or album do you listen to
LEE REPLIES: "Enya - A day without rain."
Lemmon asks: Tell me something about the industry you
are in people tend to forget.... and maybe something
they do not realize either....
LEE REPLIES: It's all for fun, giving of your gifts
and living life to your full potential. It shouldn't
be a human conflict. Dog eat dog. Very sad.
Lemmon asks: Once that is off your chest, what is the
one thing you would change about your industry if you
could without hesitation and then you would be fine
with everything else?
LEE REPLIES: If I could change it to be less dog-eat-dog,
create more jobs for the actors. Leave the fighting
to the action scenes.
Lemmon asks: Who is the most intriguing person in your
business besides yourself? Why?
LEE REPLIES: The most intriguing is Bruce Lee. He was
the original creator of the genre that was able to open
up Martial Arts with wide screen influence. One individual
with that much magnetic pull! He threw open all the
doors for all who dared to try to follow in his footsteps
and he was ahead of his time. He never got to reap his
harvest. He was a phenomenon.
Lemmon asks: Tell me the last good movie you can remember
seeing in a long time that you saw in theaters, and
the last good video you rented:
LEE REPLIES: I really like Gladiator and Titanic too.
Lemmon asks: What is the TV show you watch the most?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: CNN
Lemmon asks: Does anyone in your family think you're
LEE REPLIES: My dog!!! No, Of course not! They all love
me, even my mom.
Lemmon asks: The worst pickup line you ever heard or
used was what? Did that pickup line work?
LEE REPLIES: "Hey, baby! You work out or what!?"
Lemmon asks: If you were anyone else besides yourself,
who would you be (even for just a day, on a good day)
who would it be and who did you emulate growing up?
Do you still emulate or try to be like them now?
LEE REPLIES: There are so many countless mentors in
my life, who have given pieces of themselves to build
me that I am today. I never really modeled myself on
any one living person, just built on what I was given
and everyone is some form of role model to someone.
Even me. All of those people dear to me, gave me something
precious and I love, respect and appreciate every one
of them. There is a little piece of every one of them
that makes me who I am so how could I possibly be anyone
other than myself?
Lemmon asks: What did we forget?
LEE REPLIES: What I love to do the most is teach. I
love to share philosophy... And oh yes,and I dearly
love jokes and comedy!
conducts informative seminars, visits schools and attends
various events regularly. If you are interested in working
with this true legend of real martial arts, contact
him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also conduct seminars
on movie stunt fighting, self defense
Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How
on all levels, and forms. When I was there I met no
less than 4 film industry contacts. Eric was known as
the king of
kata and is one of the founding members of the WorldBlackBelt.com
with Bob Wall and Chuck Norris. He is also an instructor
for the WBB system of training that teaches airline
personnel to defend themselves and the passengers against
terrorism. It's called "America In Defense"....
I could go on and on so do yourself a favor and visit
Eric's website at www.ericlee.com"
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