Born in Malaysia in 1941, Chan graduated from the East–West Center in Hawaii in 1966 with a master’s degree in marketing. He later moved to Hong Kong to work in hotel management, but wound up running a film department instead. It was during his time as a producer in the mid-1970s that he met a young stuntman by the name of Jackie Chan, and he was instantly impressed by his abilities.
When he began working for the ‘Lo Wei Motion Picture Company’, Willie was tasked with finding the new Bruce Lee and he instantly thought of Jackie. Despite some initial hurdles, the pair eventually found success working for Golden Harvest where Willie became Jackie’s personal manager. In 1985, Willie founded The JC Group which had 43 actors on its books at the peak of its success.
Jackie posted a tribute to the man he considered his “brother” on Weibo: “Willie Chan is gone. Another of the most important people in my life has left. Many people know I wouldn’t be what I am now without you, but no one knows what we really experienced together. So long as we both know and understand.”
Our thoughts go out to Willie’s family and friends during this difficult time.