HONG KONG – Bruce Lee fans who covet the original yellow jumpsuit that the martial arts legend wore onscreen will get a chance to bid for it at a Hong Kong auction this week.
It’s part of a collection of 14 items including clothing and props going on the block on Thursday.
Lee wore the yellow suit, with black stripes down the sides, in “Game of Death.” Lee died in 1973, before the movie was finished. An incomplete version was released that year, followed by a feature-length version in 1978 cobbled together with footage filmed after his death.
Lee’s death at 32 from an allergic reaction to painkillers came at the height of his fame. The actor’s legendary kung fu skills and screen presence helped him become a global superstar and popularized martial arts films across the world. Quentin Tarantino paid homage to Lee’s jumpsuit by dressing Uma Thurman in one for his “Kill Bill” movies.
Spink auction house estimates the suit will fetch 250,000 to 300,000 Hong Kong dollars ($32,250-$38,700).
The jumpsuit was custom-made for Lee by a Hong Kong tailor but is smaller than its original size, having shrunk by about 15 centimetres (6 inches) when it was washed after the filming, said the auction house’s vice chairman, Anna Lee.
The auction house said Lee gave the items to his friend and former student Taky Kimura, who sold them to the collector.
Spink said the unidentified collector decided to sell the items this year, which marks the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death.
Other props from “Game of Death” to be sold include a pair of yellow lacquered wooden nunchaku expected to fetch $26,000-$38,700 and a bamboo whip with an estimate of $9,000-$10,000.
Lee said buyers will receive a certificate of authenticity from Kimura.