Friday, September 18, 2015

Remembering Bruce Lee: Jon Benn’s Real Life Stories from a Life in American Film

Even four decades after the passing of Asian martial-arts superstar Bruce Lee, his achievements still attract adoration from millions of movie fans. The biggest fan of all may be Jon Benn, who befriended the high-kicking hero while playing "the Big Boss," a villain in Lee's 1972 movie, The Way of the Dragon. In this tell-tale autobiography, Jon reminisces fondly about his experiences with Lee and a lifetime of other adventures. Much has happened to Jon for the sake of appearing in movies.

Bruce Lee with Jon Benn on the right

"He could kick the ashes off your cigarette without you even noticing. That’s how fast and accurate he was", Benn said. "He was the best and he knew he was the best. He could drop to the floor and do 200 pushups on two fingers."

Jon Benn was the "merely a lead actor" in two of Bruce Lee’s most memorable films. He even got to play the memorable role of the mafia boss in The Way of the Dragon in 1972. Now over 80 years old, he's created an autobiography which covers his years with Bruce Lee and a whole lot more. In Remembering Bruce Lee, Jon Benn reminisces fondly about his experiences with Lee and a lifetime of other adventures. "I’m the only one who ever got to hit Bruce."

“Bruce Lee’s powerful fists of fury point directly at me”. Jon Benn

"He knew dozens of tricks besides martial arts and always demonstrated them to the cast and crew, especially to the girls. He appreciated attractive girls, and many of them flocked around him for much of the time. Of course, I appreciated the girls too. I also admired Bruce’s ability to attract them. On most days, I brought a few girls along with me to the set because they all wanted to meet Bruce. Once he said to me, "Hey, Jon. Make sure not to bring any girls with you tomorrow because my wife will be here."

Here, I consult with Bruce (middle) and Chuck Norris (right), both of them martial-arts titans.

Jon Benn was a major player in some of the most important films in martial arts films history.

"For Chuck, The Way of the Dragon became his first significant movie appearance, the one that launched him toward stardom. His character, a fighter-for-hire named Colt, went man-to-man against Bruce and almost defeated him (or so it appeared in the movie)."

From facing Lee's fists of fury to riding in a cowboy posse, from almost starting the Third World War to a nude scene with sex symbol Bo Derek, much has happened to Jon for the sake of appearing in movies.

Actress Jayne Mansfield, a neighbor then, makes a strong impression on me at my Beverly Hills wedding.

"Unforgettably, one time I talked to Jayne while she lay on her side by the pool. Then to my pleasant surprise, one of her huge tits accidentally popped out of her top. (Despite my previous recollections about plane crashes, sometimes the power of gravity does good things too.)

Naturally, I eagerly asked Jayne if I could help in any way, but she quickly shoved the roaming body-part back inside the garment from where it had emerged. For me, a special once-in-a-lifetime chance had come and gone, never to return."

But that’s not all. From exploring ancient Mexican temples and falling into a volcano to eavesdropping on communists in Cold War Europe, from doing business with former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos to girls-in-hot-pants waving Passports to Pleasure, one heck of a lot has happened to Jon away from the cameras too.

These are the real life stories of an American film producer.


Jon T. Benn is an actor, known for his roles in Fearless (2006), The Way of the Dragon (1972) and The Man with the Iron Fists (2012).

For decades, American-born businessman Jon Benn has made a fascinating hobby out of participating in the Asian and Hollywood movie industries. He forged a friendship with martial-arts superstar Bruce Lee and worked with many other big-screen personalities. Despite all the “insider” stories that Jon tells about the movie world, those remarkable experiences mark merely the beginning of his adventures. Now eight decades old, Jon shares his autobiography with the world. Hang on for a tumultuous ride.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the above mentioned book from the PR Firm/Publisher in exchange for my review. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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