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June 04, 2009


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Matt Miller

Despite being a big fan of Willem Dafoe's performance in "Last Temptation of Christ," I'd love to have seen what a late-1970s Carradine would have done with the role, had the movie been made as planned.

Ryan Kelly

Really stinks. I hope he wasn't too miserable a soul before he died (assuming he did indeed kill himself).


I like his performance in "The Serpent's Egg". I only like it to a certain degree, and I can sort of understand why some people hate it, but I think he's better in that than he's generally given credit for.

Anyway, this is very sad, and unexpected. RIP


David Carradine, star of the 1970s television series "Kung Fu." has been found dead in a Bangkok hotel room. For more on this breaking story ...
Read more and see a movie about his life here:David Carradine-film


What, are we not going to mention his fine turn in Kill Bill Vol. 2? Should've gotten a supporting actor Oscar nomination for that, at least. But yes, of course, The Serpent's Egg is underrated.


I feel bad I don't know more about his career to some extent. Although, yes, his turn in "Kill Bill Vol. 2" was definitely a highlight. Hell, he was great in "Vol. 1" and we didn't even see his face.


For me, his work in Hal Ashby's "Bound for Glory" has always remained the highlight of his productive acting career.

Special mention: his surreal performance as a moving target in Martin Scorsese' "Mean Streets".


Yes, he was outstanding in "Kill Bill".


The Long Riders... his horsefaced, melancholic Cole Younger in that is the performance I'll be re-watching over the weekend. Maybe his Frankenstein in Death Race 2000 as well. He made 46 films since Kill Bill, according to IMDB. 90 films before that, he made Sonny Boy - a hectic, tasteless but strangely compelling piece of work, his role played entirely in drag. There's an ocean of piss-poor on-set coffee and cheap hotel suites between that and what was probably his last fully committed project, Americana, which he also directed, produced and edited - you can pick a used copy up for fifty dollars on Amazon. What a long, strange, wasted career, and what a sad end to it.

don r. lewis

I had long heard that "Bound for Glory" was "lesser Ashby" and wasn't all that great and finally got around to seeing it last year. It's a very, VERY solid film and Carradine is fantastic as Woody Guthrie. Many say there was never a sort of "cathartic" Carradine role, that all his stuff is uneven, and I kind of agree. But I think that by playing Guthrie before he was WOODY GUTHRIE suited him perfectly. I'll be watching "Bound for Glory" soon and wishing Carradine Godspeed.


I almost got to play with him in the wonder-trashy Corman-produced Luis Llosa film Crime Zone from 1988. (I was living in Peru at the time, where it was filmed -- and it turned out not to be so bad a flick, either!) Quite a shame the way his career ended.

Douglas Arhur

I just busted out Death Race 2000 tonight for another looksee. Haven't watched it in a while, but Paul Bartel's brutally accurate satire still stings and resonates with today. Next to Kung Fu and Kill Bill, this is probably the movie he is most known for...at least in the circles I hang with. (admittedly small circles at that) Death Race 2000 had a lot of great things I had forgotten about, like some nice cinematography for a low budget Corman film by the great Tak Fujimoto, Sylvester Stallone before he became a star. He still couldn't act, but he certainly had a prescence as Machine Gun Joe Viturbo. The wildly over the top TV announcers, who'd quite sadly, fit right in on today's networks. Carradine's Frankenstein is all at once cliched and nuanced, an action anti-hero of the first degree, and one I feel makes the world richer for having been. It funny how accurate this movie became.

Douglas Arthur

geez, how the heck did I misspell my own name? Too much crystal meth, I guess.

Account Deleted

I thought Carradine was magnificent in Kill Bill Vol II. Nice of Tarantino to give him such a good late-career part. I got shivers down my spine when we first hear his voice in the closing moments of Vol. I. Classy.

Pete Segall

After his pretty phenomenal(ly weird?) 70's run Carrdine showed up to wonderful effect in Larry Cohen's Q in the early 80's. Also, a quick scan of the IMDb shows that - well I'll be - he appeared in unbilled in The Long Goodbye (right between his two Scorsese movies). Adios.


Looks like Uma Thurman will no longer need to "kill bill" because he's dead. :-(


I am a blogger on the scene in Bangkok at the hotel where Carradine died and am blogging about this on http://magickpapers.com/blog


The announcer for the BBC breaks the story on TV. David Carradine was found dead in the Swiss Hotel on Soi Nailert. The film star was found in the closet of his room bound by curtain rope around his neck, and the inference is that his genitals were bound as well. The news ran through the Bangkok film colony like a forest fire.

I consult investigative journalist David Walker. He is also a screenwriter and author of the cult classic book, Hello My Big Big Honey. Walker is at the hotel. He has already led a CBS crew to legendary film producer-director David Winters penthouse office. Winters is a dear friend of Carradine from their glory days in Hollywood. Walker wants to see the surveilance tapes. No chance Bagger Vance. Dr. Pornthip, a colorful Thai forensic scientist is on the scene at the hotel. Walker says Pornthip, who is famous for sporting many hued punk hair styles and is a bit of a celebrity,delares the case to be death by auto sexual strangulation.

I roll up to Winters penthouse office. He is devastated by the tragic loss of a dear friend. He has not slept. CBS and People Magazine have already come by to solicit intelligence. David is shocked by the tawdry inferrences. He has spoken to 3 of Carradines agents. The agents declare that Carradine was on the roll of a lifetime. Quentin Tarantino redefined the 72 year old actor in Kill Bill. Carradine recieved a Golden Globe nomination for his work with Tarantino. The actor of the classic cult TV series Kung Fu had starred in 13 motion pictures since Kill Bill. His salary was in the stratosphere.

The strange circumstances of the verdict by auto- sexual strangulation trouble Winters. It takes two to tango. Why indeed would a man of his talent take his own life alone. Bangkok is known as a city with love for sale. Film people come here to shoot and avail themselves of the pleasures to be found in the gilded city of sin. Kinky sex is no big deal. Could this be a coverup for a sex robbery murder. The Royal Thai Police have shut the door on this case all too quickly. The tourist industry has been severely damaged by the recession and political instability. The murder of a famous film star would be a final nail in the coffin of the tourism industry. Winters says that Carradine, son of John , iconic members of an American cinema dynasty were above the fray. David Carradine was according to Winters a consumate gentleman, a brilliant actor, and a man for all seasons.

I run into local film producer Tom Waller at a reception hosted by the Italian Embassy. Tom does not believe in the verdict of death by auto-sexual strangulation. He concludes that it was a sex robbery gone wrong, and that to cover the motives the body had been arranged to fit the profile of death by auto- sexual strangulation, a theory once confined to the genre of novels classified as psychological thrillers. The denizens of the film colony in Bangkok are incredulous at the grisly circumstances of the sad demise of this brilliant talent.

The reception is attended by beaucoup des artistes and cineastes. Film critic Nick Palevski and I schmooze at the bar. Between glasses of vino rosso and spumante Nick expresses his distaste for the tawdy belching of the media and press. He is the critic for Auteur, a web site devoted to film criticism. He can not believe the shabby and sensational manner in which this case is being exploited.

In no way is this story meant to impugn the reputation of the Royal Thai Police, their meritorious service is well known. Nor is it meant to slander the bereaved Carradine family. The American Embassy has issued a statement wishing the family the best in this tragic moment, embassy staff have no other conclusion re this case except the finding of the body. Aristotelian logic might conclude that something is rotten in Denmark. Western countries would conduct a far more sophisticated investigation.

The epilogue is delivered by my dear friend in Santa Monica Martin Zweiback. He is a writer- producer director with 50 years of credits in Hollywood. Martin scrpted the original Kung Fu series and is a close friend of David Carradine. Martin is a gentleman of class and distinction. He often graces the Bangkok film colony with his presence. It is fitting that a cineaste of his stature have the final word in this affair. I recieved this e mail from Martin, and with all due respect to this fine bloke it is represented here below as a final testament to this sordid affair.

Antonio, my friend,
Sorry I've been neglectful about keeping in touch of late.
Thinking about Carradine this day, I recall when writing the Kung Fu show, how often his image inspired the words, and how much depth he brought to them. They sometimes had to pour him onto the set but he never read a line wrong. He was a gifted and underrated actor. I saw him at a screening of Kill Bill not too long ago. He seemed vibrant and clearly excited by the "second chance" Tarantino's film had given him. Suicide in the middle of shooting a movie at this point in his life just doesn't compute -- but it does remind us to count our Blessings, Gifts, and Challenges -- and be careful what we wish for.
With All Good Thoughts,

more to follow on http://magickpapers.com/blog

Coryon Redd

Here's a shout out to Bangkok Carradine,
Cranking sausage like my main man Jimmy Dean.
Went in the room and turned down the sheets,
Went in the closet to hang up the meat.
When the porn on TV don't hit the spot,
take some rope in the closet and tie up some knots.
With a loop around the neck and another down below,
Take a deep breath and go, man, go.
As nirvana approaches this old grasshopper,
Say hello to Elvis and the Big Bopper.
So when you travel to ancient Bangkok,
Remember - it's OK to wax on, just don't wax off.

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