Kill Bill, Kung Fu Star David Carradine Dies in Bangkok
Kill Bill and Kung Fu star David Carradine, a seemingly tireless actor who moved easily between serious drama, action thrillers, and somber martial arts roles, was found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok, his manager's office said Thursday. Carradine was 72.
The cause of death was under investigation, according to the office of his manager, Chuck Binder. A Thai police official told CNN the actor was found in a closet, hanging by a nylon rope that was possibly taken from the hotel room's curtains. There was no sign of forced entry, the official told CNN. The actor was reportedly working on a film in Bangkok.
Carradine's famous family included father John Carradine, brother Bruce Carradine, and half brothers Keith and Robert Carradine. He was the uncle of actresses Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton.
A Carradine family spokeswoman issued a statement that said the family "is devastated by the news of David's passing."
"Circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, and there will be no further comment until more information can be confirmed," the statement said. "The family appreciates the many expressions of condolence, and asks for privacy at this time."
Though he became best known for martial arts roles, Carradine rose to fame in Westerns. He was featured in the 1964 film Taggart, and then in the 1966 series Shane.
Kung Fu, which ran from 1972 to 1975, combined both genres. Carradine's character, Kwai Chang Caine, was the son of an American man and Chinese woman who roamed the Old West in search of his brother. Carradine shared the role with his own younger brother, Keith Carradine, who played Caine in his younger years. David Carradine was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for the role, to which he returned in two TV movies and a mid '90s series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Although he appeared in more than his share of pulpy action thrillers, from 1975's Death Race 2000 to this year's Crank: High Voltage, he also appeared in the 1970s in several critically lauded films: Martin Scorsese's Box Car Bertha, Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg, and Bound for Glory, in which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of folk icon Woody Guthrie.
The role that best unified the threads of his career was the one in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, in which Carradine played the titular character, the brilliant and introspective leader of a team of assassins. The wide-ranging films detail the long quest by The Bride (Uma Thurman) to kill her one-time mentor.
Carradine married five times, with his first four marriages ending in divorce. He married his fifth wife, Annie, in 2004, in a private beach wedding behind the home of his Kill Bill co-star, Michael Madsen. Carradine had two daughters, Calista Miranda and Kansas.