I Am Bruce Lee documentary special is airing on TV tonight

 Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.

His name is synonymous with martial arts and movie stardom, but a new-to-TV documentary manages to reveal the man behind the pop culture icon that is Bruce Lee.

I Am Bruce Lee—a non-fiction film centered on the legendary actor and martial artist of films like 1971's The Big Boss, 1972's Fist of Fury and The Way of the Dragon (which he also wrote and directed), 1973's Enter the Dragon and 1978's The Game of Death, who tragically died in 1973 from a cerebral edema at the age of 32—will air on The CW on Saturday, May 18 from 8 pm to 10 pm ET.

The 95-minute documentary film is readily available for anyone with a traditional pay-TV subscription or TV antenna that receives local station signals, as well as live TV streaming subscribers to Fubo, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

Directed by Pete McCormack, the doc traces Lee's too short but storied career as the "Father of Martial Arts Cinema," from his beginnings in the Hong Kong film industry to his days of training notable folks like Chuck Norris and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a martial-arts teacher in Los Angeles, to the film legacy that prompted TIME magazine to name Bruce as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

As well as his pioneering professional career, the film also gives insights into his personal life, with extremely rare footage and archival clips of the star interwoven with intimate testimonies and home videos from those who knew Lee best, including his widow Linda Lee Cadwell and their daughter Shannon Lee. (Bruce and Linda's son Brandon Lee faced a similarly tragic end as his father: while starring in the 1994 superhero film The Crow, Brandon was fatally wounded on set by a prop gun at just 28 years old.)

The in-depth doc will also include interviews from fellow martial artists, athletes, actors and directors who discuss Lee's legacy, including Mickey Rourke, Ed O'Neill, Kobe Bryant and martial-arts great Dan Inosanto, among others.

The film is the latest installment in the "I Am" documentary series, a series of celebrity biography docs that were commissioned for the Paramount Network and now are airing on The CW. Similar star-focused titles including I Am Heath Ledger, I Am Paul Walker and I Am Patrick Swayze.

Check out the trailer for I Am Bruce Lee before tuning in tonight on The CW.