The legendary producer credited with bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen, who also introduced the world to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, has died. The AP reports that Hong Kong film producer Raymond Chow is dead at age 91.
The report quotes a statement today from Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, Edward Yau, saying that Chow “helped nurture a pool of Hong Kong talents and brought them to the international stage.”
“Chow was a journalist who became a publicist for Shaw Brothers Studios, which churned out hundreds of films and popularized the kung fu genre,” the AP reports. “Studio founder Run Run Shaw soon moved Chow to the production side of the business after Chow complained that the movies — made on low budgets and short schedules — weren’t good enough.”
Chow then pulled off a coup by signing Bruce Lee in 1971 after seeing him on a Hong Kong TV variety show. Chow was behind the seminal 1973 release “Enter the Dragon,” Lee’s final completed movie and the first Chinese martial arts film to be produced by a major Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. Lee died just before the release of the movie.
“Lee’s death left a void for kung fu heroes in Hong Kong’s film industry that young performers were eager to fill. Chow signed one of them, a former stuntman named Jackie Chan, in 1979,” the AP reports.
Under Chow’s guidance, Chan would eventually become an A-list Hollywood star.