Bruce Lee is to be honoured with the prestigious Founders Award for his iconic status and impact on western cinema.

Lee’s wife Linda Lee Cadwell will be collecting the award at the 3rd Asian Awards on April 16 at the Grosvenor House, London.

Lee is the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and has widely been credited with helping to change the way that Asians are presented in films, and Paul Sagoo, founder of The Asian Awards, wants to celebrate his influence and mark the 40th anniversary of his death.

“Bruce Lee was the first person of Asian descent to successfully crossover into Hollywood and make such a dramatic impact on western cinema,” says Sagoo. “You can argue that if it wasn’t for Lee, Asian culture and martial arts would never have really penetrated western culture and we wouldn’t have the likes of Jackie Chan, Jet Li and now actors like Irfan Khan, who starred in Life of Pi.”

Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27th 1940 and died tragically on July 20th 1973, aged only 32, of a cerebral oedema. His phenomenon is such that in 1999 Time Magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Lee is most noted for his roles in the films: The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972), Way of the Dragon (1972), Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978).

Now in its third year, The Asian Awards has cast its net wider to include nominees from across the Asian continent. In previous years, The Asian Awards has recognised the achievements of individuals of South Asian origin, but for the first time, nominees with origins from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and other East Asian countries have also been considered.

Founder of The Asian Awards Paul Sagoo, said “This geographical expansion means that The Asian Awards can now truly live up to its name and celebrate global Asian achievement on an even grander scale.

"We had always planned to recognise the achievements from the global Asian community and this is an exciting time for The Asian Awards.” Previous recipients of the Founders Award include legendary music artiste, Freddie Mercury for his outstanding contribution to the music industry.

In 2010 and 2011, the Asian Awards honoured some of Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan to legendary artistes, Asha Bhosle, Freddie Mercury (posthumously), Amitabh Bachchan, Jay Sean and AR Rahman to powerful business magnates Ratan Tata, Vijay Mallya and Dr KP Singh, and leaders in technology such as Google’s Amit Singhal.