Bruce Lee, Adele, Jeryl Lee: 10 celebrities born in the Year of the Dragon


(left to right) Bruce Lee, Adele and Jeryl Lee Pei Ling are among the stars born in the Year of the Dragon. Photos: Warner Bros, Adele/Instagram, Jeryl Lee/Instagram

As we leap into a new year in the Chinese calendar, we bid adieu to the gentle rabbit and roll out the carpet for the mighty dragon.

Despite its imposing appearance, the dragon is believed to represent good luck, strength and health.

Folks born in the dragon year are said to be ambitious, confident and creative. This sign is also unique as it’s the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac.

Here, we take a look at 10 celebrities born in the Year of the Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012).

G-Dragon (1988)

G-Dragon debuted as the leader of K-pop boy band BigBang in 2005. Photo: AFPG-Dragon debuted as the leader of K-pop boy band BigBang in 2005. Photo: AFP

Who better to start off the dragon list than this K-pop star?

The past year had been rocky for the rapper, who was under police investigation for illegal drug use.

Nevertheless, the 35-year-old has been cleared of these allegations and is gearing up to release a new album and establish a foundation to combat drug abuse.

G-Dragon, whose real name is Kwon Ji-yong, debuted as the leader of K-pop boy band BigBang in 2005 under YG Entertainment.

He’s the first and only solo artiste to receive the Mnet Asian Music Award for Artist of the Year in 2013.

G-Dragon parted ways with YG Entertainment last December and signed with Galaxy Corporation.

Angelica Lee (1976)

Lee is the producer of the acclaimed Malaysian film 'Abang Adik'. Angelica Lee/InstagramLee is the producer of the acclaimed Malaysian film 'Abang Adik'. Angelica Lee/Instagram

This Malaysian talent closed off the past year on a high after her movie Abang Adik (2023) received global acclaim.

Produced by Lee, Abang Adik is the first South-East Asian film to sweep the top three prizes at Italy’s Far East Film Festival.

It’s also the highest grossing Malaysian flick in Taiwan, earning NT$90mil (RM13.5mil) in box office revenue since its premiere on Dec 1, last year.

Lee earned positive attention that same month after revealing that her family was helping her brother-in-law, Hong Kong filmmaker Danny Pang, pay his huge debts.

Pang declared bankruptcy last December after spending his savings on his wife’s lung cancer treatment but withdrew the application after a new film project alleviated his financial troubles.

Bunga Isme (2000)

Bunga made waves in November after serving as the opening act for Coldplay's KL concert. Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The StarBunga made waves in November after serving as the opening act for Coldplay's KL concert. Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

From appearing on the New York Times Square digital billboard to earning her degree in public administration in July, Bunga had lots to celebrate in 2023.

But a standout moment was when the 24-year-old Malaysian opened for British rock band Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres World Tour in Kuala Lumpur last November.

Dubbed by international media outlets as “the first hijabi rapper in Malaysia”, Bunga has served as a supporting act for British pop singer Anne-Marie’s 2019 concert in KL and was a finalist at Anugerah Juara Lagu 36 (AJL36) in 2021.

The budding rapper previously told StarLifestyle that it’s her ultimate goal to be a “globally recognised artiste”.

Jeryl Lee Pei Ling (2000)

Lee has drawn attention for her vocal prowess and resemblance to Blackpink's Lisa. Photo: Jeryl Lee/InstagramLee has drawn attention for her vocal prowess and resemblance to Blackpink's Lisa. Photo: Jeryl Lee/Instagram

Another Gen-Z Malaysian making waves is Lee, who ranked first in Chinese reality TV show The Next 2023 and was crowned Budding Artiste of the Year at the Tencent Starlight Awards last year.

The Penangite started performing at the age of eight and has participated in many singing competitions in China.

Lee won first placing in the Water Cube Cup overseas Chinese youth singing contest in 2014 and rose to fame in 2016 after emerging as one of the six finalists on Sing! China.

She has also drawn attention for her resemblance to Lisa of the K-pop girl group Blackpink, though she doesn’t think they look alike.

Cillian Murphy (1976)

Murphy has received rave reviews for his stellar performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer. Photo: ReutersMurphy has received rave reviews for his stellar performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer. Photo: Reuters

A favourite to win Best Actor in this year’s Oscar race, Murphy has a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.

The Irishman is the leading star of Oppenheimer (2023), which grossed over US$955mil (RM4.5bil) at the worldwide box office – the third highest of 2023 and the highest for any biographical movie.

Like others born in the year of the dragon, Murphy strives to complete his tasks to the best of his abilities.

His Oppenheimer co-stars Emily Blunt and Matt Damon told Entertainment Tonight that he would skip most of their cast dinners and settle for an almond or a slice of apple most nights to transform into the “father of the atomic bomb”.

Murphy even gave up his vegetarian lifestyle, which he had been practising for 15 years, to play the intelligent crime boss Thomas Shelby in the British crime drama Peaky Blinders (2013 to 2022). It was so he didn’t look like “a skinny Irish fella”.

His upcoming movie Small Things Like These is set to open this year’s Berlinale Film Festival.

Adele (1988)

Adele is known for chart-topping hits like 'Rolling In The Deep', 'Someone Like You' and 'Hello'. Photo: TNSAdele is known for chart-topping hits like 'Rolling In The Deep', 'Someone Like You' and 'Hello'. Photo: TNS

Adele has earned recognition for her commanding vocals in chart-toppers like Rolling In The Deep, Someone Like You and Hello.

Her accolades include 16 Grammy Awards, 12 Brit Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

In 2023, the British singer was seen hobbling across stage during a New Year’s Eve performance.

She also revealed last August that she had collapsed backstage due to a sciatica attack.

Sciatica is pain caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back to the feet.

Despite her condition, Adele recently hinted that she wants to go on tour after her next album is out.

“I just don’t think I’m gonna write an album for quite some time, but next time I do, I’ll come to wherever it is you live,” she said.

Park Seo-joon (1988)

Park made his Hollywood debut in the 2023 film, 'The Marvels'. Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The StarPark made his Hollywood debut in the 2023 film, 'The Marvels'. Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

If you’re into K-dramas, you would know this heartthrob.

Last year, Park made his Hollywood debut in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Marvels.

Although fans have complained about his limited screen time (he reportedly appears for less than three minutes), Park told Korean media that his role “plays a crucial part in the overall narrative of The Marvels”.

He’s currently starring in the Netflix series Gyeongseong Creature (2023).

Off-screen, Park is a well-known philanthropist.

In 2019, the generous actor made a donation of 100mil won (RM354,454) to the Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association during the forest fire in Gangwon Province, South Korea.

He donated the same amount to the city of Daegu for Covid-19 relief efforts that following year.

Bruce Lee (1940)

Lee is largely responsible for paving the way for the integration of Asian martial arts into Western action films and shows. Photo: Warner BrosLee is largely responsible for paving the way for the integration of Asian martial arts into Western action films and shows. Photo: Warner Bros

Hailed as a pop culture icon of the 20th century, Lee has left an indelible mark on the martial arts community.

He’s largely responsible for popularising martial arts and paving the way for the integration of Asian martial arts into Western action films and shows.

The Hong Kong-American star was only three months old when he played an infant in Golden Gate Girl (1941) and had already earned 20 film credits by the time he turned 20.

Lee’s final completed film appearance before his death on July 20, 1973 was Enter The Dragon (1973).

The movie was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2004 for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.

Rihanna (1988)

Rihanna is the second best-selling female artiste of all time. Photo: AFPRihanna is the second best-selling female artiste of all time. Photo: AFP

Rihanna is shining bright like a diamond with her impressive US$1.4bil (RM6.6bil) fortune thanks to the success of her cosmetic line Fenty Beauty.

The Grammy-winning pop star headlined the Super Bowl halftime show for the first time in February 2023, during which she revealed she is pregnant with her second child.

Rihanna and rapper A$AP Rocky share two children – the first was born in May 2022 and the second in August 2023.

In 2022, Rihanna released Lift Me Up – her first new music in five years for the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

She’s the second best-selling female artiste of all time, with over 250 million records sold worldwide.

Keanu Reeves (1964)

Reeves will be making a comeback as John Wick in a spin-off movie titled 'Ballerina'. Photo: Murray CloseReeves will be making a comeback as John Wick in a spin-off movie titled 'Ballerina'. Photo: Murray Close

Reeves stole the hearts of many with his role as the skilled assassin John Wick.

That’s why it felt like a punch in the gut when the fourth instalment of the eponymous franchise ended with his character’s likely death.

But before the waterworks begin, fans might want to know that he’ll be making a comeback as the reluctant hitman in a John Wick spin-off movie titled Ballerina.

The film revolves around a ballerina-assassin named Rooney (played by Ana de Armas) who’s dead set on tracking down the murderers of her family.

Ballerina is expected to hit the big screen this June and reportedly takes place between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) and Chapter 4 (2023).

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