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Bruce Lee was investigated for The Manson Murders

A distraught Roman Polanski suspected the murder was the work of someone close to he and wife Sharon Tate, at one point testing Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee got his start in Hollywood when he met Jay Sebring following a demonstration at the International Karate Championships in Long Beach in 1964. Sebring introduced Lee to film and television producer Bill Dozier, who cast him as Kato in The Green Hornet, setting him on the path to stardom.

Sebring is described as a hairstylist, but he was something like the Bruce Lee of hair styling, with a chain of successful salons and a host of celebrity friends. Journalist and lifelong martial artist Joe Hyams introduced Sebring to beauty Sharon Tate, and the pair fell in love.

Tate then fell for director Roman Polanski. Sebring eventually gave his approval to the union, and when Tate and Polanski married, Sebring moved to a best friend role. There are rumors he was more.

Bruce Lee taught martial arts to Polanski, who was so devoted he flew Lee to Gstaad, Switzerland to give him lessons.

“It’s fantastic when arrangements are made by him,” said Lee to Black Belt magazine publisher Mito Uyehara. “I go to the airport and a chauffeur is waiting for me with his limousine. He takes me to the finest hotel and the next day he comes back to take me to the airport for my connecting flight. I don’t spend a penny and I live in luxury. Everything is so well planned that I hardly go through any hassle.”

“I didn’t realize how the ultra rich spend their time, until I visited that resort spot in Switzerland. The rich have a boring life, too. Drinking and skiing is about all they do. In between, everyone is trying to take someone to bed. I was the only Asian there; all the others were Europeans.

“Some of the girls were about 14 or 15 years old, making passes at the old guys who were at least mid-50s. At first, I thought it was kind of strange but later I learned that morals do not exist there. No, those kids weren’t their daughters. They could have been whores, I guess. I really don’t know why those kids weren’t in school. It was a strange situation."

Lee also tried skiing.

“I was going 60 miles per hour down the hill and made it all the way down without falling," said Lee. "I didn’t feel any excitement in that sport, so I never tried it again.”

Lee also taught Tate martial arts for her role in The Wrecking Crew, and did fight choreography. The Wrecking Crew was a spy spoof starring Dean Martin, in the vein of Austin Powers. 

The Wrecking Crew was, incidentally. Chuck Norris's screen debut.


On August 9, 1969, members of the self-styled Manson family descended on 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, and murdered everyone there they could find. The dead were Tate, Sebring, Polanski's best friend Wojciech Frykowski, Frykowski's heiress girlfriend Abigail Folger, and Steven Parent, a friend of the property's caretaker.

The motive for the murder was maniacal. Manson, who was intent on becoming a bigger star than The Beatles and heard a message of pending racial armageddon in The White Album, had felt snubbed by record producer Terry Melcher. Melcher had rented the property that Tate and Polansky now occupied. Manson did not realize Melcher had moved.

Police lost time searching for a drug connection to the slayings, and interrogated Polanski, who was overseas at the time of the murders. Further confusing matters, one of the Manson family left a pair of glasses at the residence to confuse detectives.

A distraught Polanski determined to investigate on his own what happened, and suspected it was the work of someone close to he and Tate. Polanski bought a kit to show the presence of blood, and, dressed all in black, crept around different LA neighborhoods swabbing his friend's Lamborghinis and Porches for signs of blood. He spent $2,500 to have producer Bill Castle's handwriting checked against the word PIG written in blood on his front door. He allegedly bugged friends' homes, listening in on conversations from a nearby hotel room.

Bruce Lee fell under Polanski's suspicion when the poor-sighted martial artist mentioned that he had lost a pair of glasses. Polanski had bought a Vigor lens measuring gauge, and furtively measure the glasses of several friends.

After the murders, Lee was training Polanski in the Paramount Studios gym, and mentioned he had lost his glasses. Polanski replied to Bruce, "On the way home, we can stop at my ophthalmologist for glasses. It will be my gift to you." 

Polanski of course never found a match for the prescription.

A number of members of the Manson "Family" were eventually arrested, tried, and convicted for the murders. Ringleader Charles Manson died in prison on November 19, 2017, in Bakersfield, CA. He never showed a single indication of remorse for the nine murders.