Exec credited with introducing martial arts pix to the U.S.

International film distribution executive Richard Ma died Dec. 15 in Vancouver, Canada. He was 81.

Ma joined Warner Bros. Pictures in 1945 as assistant manager in the company’s Hong Kong office. He held several positions with the company in Hong Kong, New York and Burbank, working his way up through the ranks to executive vice president of international operations.

Ma, who retired in 1985 after a 40-year career with Warner Bros., is credited with introducing martial arts movies to the United States, importing them from Hong Kong in the late 1960s. He shepherded Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” into production at Warner Bros. for a 1973 release.

Ma is survived by a daughter and son.

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