Who is Bolo Yeung?
Yang Sze was born on 3 July 1946, in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He is a martial artist, actor, and former competitive bodybuilder, best known for his villainous role in the Bruce Lee film “Enter the Dragon”, in which he portrayed Bolo. He later collaborated with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the film “Bloodsport”.
The Riches of Bolo Yeung
As of early-2020, Bolo Yeung has a net worth estimated to be over $1.5 million, earned through a successful career in acting. While he’s had numerous roles in Hollywood, he also achieved success in bodybuilding, and has had work as a martial arts trainer which has helped in building his wealth.
Bolo grew up in Guangzhou, the son of a local businessman. At a young age he became very interested in kung fu, and studied under several masters in his locality. This eventually led to his love for tai chi, a martial art known for its meditation and health benefits – while it is often depicted as an exercise practice for elderly people, the martial art is also known for its ability to be used in combat. Tai chi focuses on defense, with many of its practitioners learning to use enemy attacks and momentum against them. Over the years, many forms of tai chi have been developed, though its origins trace back to the Chen village and the oldest form of tai chi.
During the rise of communism in China, human rights violations and violence were found all around. To escape from any judgment, Bolo took an opportunity to go to a part of China nearest to Hong Kong, where he could swim across the perilous area known as the Deep Bay. Many Chinamen resorted to this effort to try and escape, with some of them succeeding and finding a new home in Hong Kong.
Body Building and Career Beginnings
While living and working in Hong Kong, Bolo developed a love for bodybuilding, and became a frequent visitor at a local gym.
He quickly developed a massive physique, and competed in bodybuilding competitions in the locality. He eventually won the Mr. Hong Kong contest which is held to determine the competitor for Mr. World. His large physique led him to be noticed by several film producers, and his earliest collaborations were with the largest Hong Kong film production company, Shaw Brothers.
During this period he appeared in several films, mostly portraying a villain, including “Angry Guest”, “The Deadly Duo”, and “The Heroic Ones”. After leaving the company, he did a bit of commercial work, and while filming for an ad for Winston cigarettes would meet fellow martial artist Bruce Lee.
At the time, Lee was starting to become popular in the film industry as well, thanks to his martial arts prowess and the rise of popularity of kung fu films. The two became friends, and this would eventually lead to Bolo’s international breakthrough.
Enter the Dragon and Further Success
Yeung’s friendship with Bruce Lee would lead him to become the student of the famed martial artist. He enjoyed Lee’s martial arts philosophy of trying various styles, using what was necessary and discarding what was not useful.
His physique combined with his passion reached out to Lee, and soon he was asked to become a part of his film “Enter the Dragon”, which would be one of Lee’s most iconic film projects. The film was released a month after Bruce’s death, and was highly successful in the box office – it’s considered one of the best martial arts films of all time.
Along with Lee, many other martial artists gained recognition from the film including Leung. A few years after Lee’s death, he mentioned how it was an honor that he was able to become a friend with a man like Bruce Lee, as there will never be anyone else like him.
As the decade progressed, he gained more film projects, mostly in villainous role.
It wasn’t until the film “Bloodsport” in 1988 that he continued to make a name for himself, working alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme. Playing the role of Chong Li, Bolo also formed a close friendship with Van Damme. The film was also very successful at the box office, and is one of Jean-Claude’s earliest starring roles which established him in mainstream cinema. He later recommended Bolo to work with him in the film “Double Impact”, set in East Asia with director Sheldon Lettich at the helm.
Afterward, he experienced a bit of difficulty as he wasn’t able to frequent the US due to the lack of support. He was originally set to move to the US with Bruce Lee, but due to the latter’s death, it took him over a decade before he was able to take on roles more consistently.
He eventually met and befriended director Jalal Merhi, who would cast him in his debut film “Fearless Tiger”, and the two continued to collaborate in “Tiger Claws” and “TC 2000”. In the later part of his career, he started taking less film work, appearing in a few independent features from time to time. He made a rare appearance as a protagonist in the film “Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter”.
He also appeared in the show “Warrior” produced by Cinemax, a project created from the initial writings of Bruce Lee, planning a television show.
Bolo is married though he doesn’t talk a lot about his relationship, and keeps her identity seceret, although they have two sons and a aughter. While he is long retired from competitive bodybuilding, he remains very active within the scene as a part of the Hong Kong Gym Business Association and the Taipei International Bodybuilders Squad. He continues to stay fit even in his 70s and practices Tai Chi consistently. He even learned Wing Chun, the martial art that was popularized by both Bruce Lee and his master Ip Man.