Jackie Chan is probably the most well-known Asian actor working today, and he has a pretty incredible legacy to boot. From his early martial arts films to his eventual break into Hollywood, his reputation as one of the world’s best stunt performers is firmly in place. His off-screen life is just as fascinating, filled with amusing, staggering, and sometimes utterly unbelievable tales. Here are 40 of the very best.
His father was a spy for the Chinese Nationalists
Chan was born in 1954 to Lee-Lee and Charles Chan, but the circumstances were far from ordinary. Charles, his father, was an orderly for a Nationalist general at 20, and he ended up working as a secret agent during the Second Sino-Japanese War. When the Communists took over, he was forced to go into hiding.
He's got a special relationship with two stuffed pandas
While visiting London in 2010, Chan took a trip to a Build-a-Bear shop and left with two pandas that he named Chan La and Chan Zy. He apparently never leaves home without his faithful friends, even taking them to the Academy Awards in 2017. He explained his connection with the endangered animal to Ryan Seacrest, “I’m the ambassador of [the] panda. After [the] earthquake, they get hurt and I raise them. I have two pandas in China, my own. They go wherever I go. They meet all the famous people.”
His mother smuggled illegal substances
Chan’s mother and father actually met when he arrested her for drug trafficking. Unfortunately, it wasn't a case of a misunderstanding or wrong-place-wrong-time scenario, either. As it happens, Lee-Lee Chan had been smuggling opium as a means of supporting herself after moving from Wuhan to Shanghai. Charles caught her concealing the substance during a port inspection but ended up taking pity on her. The rest, as they say, is history.
He was targeted by the triad gangs
Being an actor in Hong Kong used to be far from safe. Performers were often menaced by triad gangs, and Chan was no exception. There are even reports that he was once shot at as he stepped off of a plane. After that, it seems he took matters into his own hands. As a safety precaution, Chan began carrying guns and even grenades in a bid to ward the gangsters off.