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The incomparable Fred Winetraub

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The Incomparable Fred Winetraub


The two people most responsible for the making of the greatest martial arts film ever made., the classic “Enter the Dragon”, were Fred Winetraub and Bruce’s great wife Linda Lee.

Fred loved and admired Bruce Lee, and was one of the few people on earth that saw Bruce Lee’s potential as an international star. Fred who had previously produced “Woodstock”, a film that made a timely fortune for Warner Brothers, had the ear and friendship of the Warner Brothers CEO, Ted Ashley. Fred won Ted over for a film that was titled “Blood and Steel” of course the title was to change several times, from “Hans Island” to “Three the Hardway”, etc. but Bruce was determined the title would be “Enter the Dragon”.

When Bruce, Danny Innosanto, and I were filming “Game of Death”, Bruce got the email from Ted Ashley saying that he consented to the name “Enter the Dragon”, and “Game” was shut down.

In late 1971, Bruce sent me a letter asking me to do the O’Hara part, and I accepted, even though the pay was very low. I loved Bruce and felt that our friendship and years of training together were important to the film We began shooting “Enter the Dragon” in January 1973, and I was again shown Fred Weintraub’s brilliance as a film producer (I was later to refer him to my friend and student, the late great Steve McQueen, who filmed three movies together). Bruce was like any super talent and was nervous for the first two weeks of shooting, but Fred and Linda had Bruce shoot the Library scene where Bruce had no dialog and that energized Bruce, setting the pace for us to make the greatest Martial Arts movie of all time.

The brilliant Lalo Schifrin’s music was fabulous, and John Saxon, Ahna Capri, Jim Kelly, and all others involved added terrific energy to the film under the guidance of the amazing Fred Weintraub. Fred’s word was bold and he was determined to create Bruce’s breakout to super-stardom using “Enter the Dragon”.


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