Raised in South Central Los Angeles, James Lew's destiny was to answer a cattle call in Hollywood for the hugely popular Kung Fu (1972) television series. He went on to star in the now collectible Hong Kong film, Young Dragon (1976). He made the move to big budget studio films in 1984. John Carpenter handpicked him as the Martial Arts Choreographer for 20th Century Fox's now cult film, Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson, David Carradine, Chuck Norris, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, Madonna, Charlie Sheen, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kathleen Turner, Sylvester Stallone, Brandon Lee, Snoop Dogg and the list goes on and on.
James was voted "Favorite Action Star" by fans of Inside Martial Arts magazine. Internet fans voted him into the Hall of Fame in the Martial Arts History Museum. Inside Kung Fu Magazine inducted him as one of the "Martial Arts Greats" alongside legends as Bruce Lee,