Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farewell to David Carradine - the Kungfu Master

A scene from Kungfu where David Carradine dodged bullets!!!

Whatever happened to David Carradine - the kungfu master who starred in more than 100 films and TV shows - the most famous being Kungfu series (the original actor was Bruce Lee but Carradine was preffered by the producers because Bruce Lee is an Asian) as well as the Quentin Tarantino classics - Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2.

Carradine was found dead on Thursday, 4th June 2009 in his luxurious hotel room Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel, in Bangkok, Thailand while filming "Stretch".

It appeared that he was found hanged.

According to local and international media reports, there was no trace of a fight or struggle at the scene.

His death shocked the movie world and Hollywood.

Today, Thailand's premier newspaper The Nation reported that Thailand authority is willing to work with the FBI to probe Carradine's death.

The various media reports here :

Police will cooperate with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI to investigate the death of American actor David Carradine in Bangkok, Colonel Somprasong Yentuam, superintendent of Lumpini police station, said yesterday.

Lumpini police are investigating Carradine's death to determine the cause.

Carradine's family has asked the FBI to help investigate his death.

Somprasong said the film crew manager had told police they would give testimony next week and that police had not yet concluded if the 72-year-old actor had committed suicide or been murdered, pending forensic investigation results.

Asked about the deceased's relatives' comment that they did not believe it was suicide and would ask the FBI to jointly investigate the case, Somprasong said he had not yet been told of such a move and police would do as their superiors decided. He said that if the FBI wanted to come in, he personally would be willing to cooperate to solve the mystery.

Carradine was found dead inside his suite at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park hotel on Thursday, and there was no trace of a fight or struggle.

His friends, family members and associates do not believe Carradine committed suicide.

"All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide," said Tiffany Smith, of Binder & Associates, his management company. "We're just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give ... and that's not something David would ever do to himself."

Carradine's personal manager, Chuck Binder, also dismissed any suggestion that the famous actor - who starred in "Kung Fu" and "Kill Bill" - committed suicide.

"We can confirm 100 per cent that he never would have committed suicide," he said.

Somprasong said the US Embassy in Bangkok did not question the cause of death.

However, the embassy has questioned what they called "a violation of privacy", as the Thai media was informed of the details relating to the star's death.

"But we are not the one who broke the news," Somprasong said.

Aurelio Giraudo, general manager of the hotel, said in a statement that Thai police had confirmed the death of US actor.

According to the hotel, its focus is to assist the police in their investigations.

"We are not in a position to discuss any details of this case nor disclose any other information," said Giraudo.

Since Carradine's death appeared on news headlines, condolences came pouring in to the actor's website

"What a sad day it is for all who grew up watching David Carradine and knowing this great actor. May you rest in eternal peace," said one post.

Menawhile, the body of David Carradine was flown to the United States on Friday evening. The US Embassy in Bangkok facilitated the transfer of his body which left Suvarnabhumi Airport in a United Airline flight at about 7pm.

Carradine had flown to Thailand last week and began work on "Stretch" two days before his death, Smith said. He had several other projects lined up after the action film, which was being directed by Charles De Meaux with Carradine in the lead.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Police have not yet ruled out murder in Carradine's case.

It may take four more weeks to determine the exact cause of his death.

Lumpini Police Station superintendent Colonel Somprasong Yentuam said relevant officials had been checking all fingerprints found in Carradine's suite.

"They are also checking whether there were toxic substances inside his body," Somprasong said.

He expected the Scientific Crime Detection Division to submit test results in a week.

Chulalongkorn Hospital forensic doctors may need three weeks to complete their task in the case.

"At this point, we have yet to obtain any more clues. The star's friends and colleagues do not think he was murdered," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lt-General Worapong Chiewpreecha said yesterday.

"I was deeply saddened by the news of David Carradine's passing," said director Martin Scorcese. "We met when we made 'Boxcar Bertha' together, almost 40 years ago. I have very fond memories of our time together on that picture and on 'Mean Streets,' where he agreed to do a brief cameo."

Carradine came from an acting family. His father, John, made a career playing creepy, eccentric characters in film and on stage. Half-brothers Keith, Robert and Bruce also became actors, and actress Martha Plimpton is Keith Carradine's daughter.

"My Uncle David was a brilliantly talented, fiercely intelligent and generous man. He was the nexus of our family in so many ways, and drew us together over the years and kept us connected," Plimpton said Thursday.

Carradine was "in good spirits" when he left the U.S. for Thailand on May 29 to work on "Stretch," Smith said.

"David was excited to do it and excited to be a part of it," she said by phone from Beverly Hills.

Filming began Tuesday, she said, adding that the crew was devastated by Carradine's death and did not wish to speak publicly about it for the time being.

The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation said Carradine could not be contacted after he failed to appear for a meal with the rest of the film crew on Wednesday, and that his body was found by a hotel maid Thursday morning. It said a preliminary police investigation found that he had hanged himself with a curtain cord and there was no sign that he had been assaulted.

Police said Carradine's body was taken to a hospital for an autopsy that would be done Friday.

Carradine appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby. One of his early film roles was as folk singer Woody Guthrie in Ashby's 1976 biopic, "Bound for Glory."

But he was best known for "Kung Fu," which aired from 1972-75.

Carradine, a martial arts practitioner himself, played Caine, an orphan who was raised by Shaolin monks and fled China after killing the emperor's nephew in retaliation for the murder of his kung fu master.

Pursued by revenge assassins from China, Caine wanders the American West in search of his half-brother Danny. His conscience forces him to fight injustice wherever he encounters it, fueled by flashbacks to his training in which his master famously refers to him as "Grasshopper."

Carradine left after three seasons, saying the show had started to repeat itself.

"I wasn't like a TV star in those days. I was like a rock 'n' roll star," Carradine said in an interview with Associated Press Radio in 1996. "It was a phenomenon kind of thing. ... It was very special."

Actor Rainn Wilson, star of TV's "The Office," said on Twitter: "R.I.P. David Carradine. You were a true hero to so many of us children of the 70s. We'll miss you, Kwai Chang Caine."

Much like the character that made him famous, David Carradine was always seeking, both spiritually and professionally, his life forever intertwined with the Shaolin priest he played in the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu."

Just as the character, Kwai Chang Caine, roamed the 19th Century American West, Carradine spent his latter years searching for the path to Hollywood stardom, accepting low-budget roles while pursuing interests in Asian herbs, exercise and philosophy, and making instructional videos on tai chi and other martial arts.

Carradine reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine's grandson in the 1990s syndicated series "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues."

He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino's two-part saga "Kill Bill." Bill, the worldly father figure of a pack of crack assassins, was a shadowy presence in 2003's "Kill Bill — Vol. 1." In that film, one of Bill's former assassins (Uma Thurman) begins a vengeful rampage against her old associates, including Bill.

In "Kill Bill — Vol. 2," released in 2004, Thurman's character catches up to Bill. The role brought Carradine a Golden Globe nomination as best supporting actor.

Bill was a complete contrast to Caine, the soft-spoken refugee serenely spreading wisdom and battling bad guys in the Old West.

"David's always been kind of a seeker of knowledge and of wisdom in his own inimitable way," Keith Carradine, said in a 1995 interview.

After "Kung Fu," Carradine starred in the 1975 cult flick "Death Race 2000." He starred with Liv Ullmann in Bergman's "The Serpent's Egg" in 1977 and with his brothers in the 1980 Western "The Long Riders." But after the early 1980s, he spent two decades doing mostly low-budget films.

Tarantino's films changed that.

"All I've ever needed since I more or less retired from studio films a couple of decades ago ... is just to be in one," Carradine told The Associated Press in 2004.

"There isn't anything that Anthony Hopkins or Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery or any of those old guys are doing that I couldn't do," he said. "All that was ever required was somebody with Quentin's courage to take and put me in the spotlight."

In the 2004 interview, Carradine talked candidly about his past boozing and narcotics use, but said he had put all that behind him and stuck to coffee and cigarettes.

"You're probably witnessing the last time I will ever answer those questions," Carradine said. "Because this is a regeneration. It is a renaissance. It is the start of a new career for me.

"It's time to do nothing but look forward."


grasshopper said...

so many Kung Fu fans (such as myself) wanted to grow up to be like David Carradine...

Malaysian Hollywood 2.0 said...

Yeah grasshopper - but who is the grand champion of all champions?? David Carradine, Bruce Lee, Ip Man, Jet Li, Jacky Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme or Jaka Sembung?????????

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