David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine; December 8, 1936 –
June 3, 2009) was an American actor and martial artist. He is noted
for his leading role as peace-loving Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine,
in the television series
Kung Fu (1972–1975). He was also known
for playing Frankenstein in
Death Race 2000
Death Race 2000 (1975) and Bill in both
Kill Bill films (2003–2004).
He was a member of an acting family that began with his father, John
Carradine. His father's acting career, which included major and minor
roles on stage and television, and in cinema, spanned over four
decades. A prolific "B" movie actor,
David Carradine appeared in
more than 100 feature films in a career spanning over sixty years.
He received nominations for a
Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award and an
Emmy Award for
his work on Kung Fu, and received three further Golden Globe
nominations for his performances in
Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for
Glory (1976), the miniseries North and South (1985), and Quentin
Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 2, for which he won the Saturn Award
for Best Supporting Actor.
Films that featured Carradine continued to be released after his
death. These posthumous credits were from a variety of genres
including action, documentaries, drama, horror, martial arts, science
fiction, and westerns. In addition to his acting career, Carradine was
a director and musician. Moreover, influenced by his
Kung Fu role, he
studied martial arts. On April 1, 1997, Carradine received a
star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He was arrested and prosecuted for a variety of offenses, which often
involved substance abuse. On June 3, 2009, he was found dead in a
closet in his hotel room in Bangkok,
Thailand due to a fatal
autoerotic asphyxiation accident.
1 Early life
2 Film and television career
2.1 Early successes
2.2 Kung Fu
2.3 Film career
2.4 Television appearances
2.5 Posthumous releases
3 Directing career
4 Martial artist
5 Music career
6 Personal life
6.1 Arrests and prosecutions
7.1 Wrongful death suit and murder accusations
8.1 Video games
9 Awards and honors
11 See also
13 External links
Carradine was born on December 8, 1936 as John Arthur Carradine, in
Hollywood, California, the oldest child of actor
John Carradine and
his wife Ardanelle Abigail (McCool). He was a half-brother of
Bruce, Keith, Christopher, and Robert Carradine, and an uncle of Ever
Carradine and Martha Plimpton, most of whom are also actors. Primarily
of Irish descent, he was a great-grandson of
Beverly Carradine and a grandnephew of artist Will
Called Jack by his family, Carradine's childhood was turbulent. His
parents divorced and repeatedly remarried; he was born to his mother's
second marriage of three, and his father's first of four. At the time
of Carradine's parents' marriage, his mother already had a son by her
first husband, whom John adopted.
John Carradine planned a large
family, but after his wife had a series of miscarriages, he discovered
she had had numerous abortions without his knowledge. This rendered
her unable to carry a baby to full term. Against this backdrop of
marital discord, David almost succeeded in committing suicide by
hanging at the age of five. He said the incident followed his
discovery that he and his older half-brother Bruce, who had been
adopted by John, had different biological fathers. Carradine added,
"My father saved me, and then confiscated my comic book collection and
burned it – which was scarcely the point."
After three years of marriage, Ardenelle filed for divorce from John,
but the couple remained married for another five years. Divorce
finally came in 1944, when Carradine was seven years old. His father
California to avoid court action in the alimony
settlement. After the couple engaged in a series of court
battles over child custody and alimony, which at one point landed John
in jail, Jack joined his father in New York City. By this time,
his father had remarried. For the next few years David was shuffled
between boarding schools, foster homes, and reform school. He also
would often accompany his father while the elder Carradine performed
summer theater throughout the Northeast. Carradine spent time in
Massachusetts and even one miserable winter milking cows on a farm in
David Carradine returned to California, where he graduated
from Oakland High School. He attended Oakland Junior College
(currently Laney College) for a year before transferring to San
Francisco State College, where he studied drama and music
theory, and wrote music for the drama department's annual
revues while juggling work at menial jobs, a fledgling stage acting
career, and his studies. After he dropped out of college, Carradine
spent some time with the "beatniks" of San Francisco's North Beach
and southern California's Venice. During this time he collected
unemployment insurance and sold baby pictures. He was also prosecuted
for disturbing the peace.
Despite an attempt to dodge the draft, in 1960 Carradine was
inducted into the United States Army, where he drew pictures for
training aids. That Christmas he married his high school sweetheart,
Donna Lee Becht. While stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia he helped to
establish a theater company that became known as the "entertainment
unit." He met fellow inductee Larry Cohen, who later cast him in
Q, The Winged Serpent. He also faced court-martial for
shoplifting. In 1962, Donna gave birth to their daughter, Calista.
Carradine was honorably discharged after a two-year tour.
Film and television career
David Carradine (left) and
Martin Milner in the Chrysler Theatre
presentation "The War and Eric Kurtz" (1965)
Upon leaving the Army, Carradine became serious about his acting
pursuits. It was at that time that he was advised to change his name
to avoid confusion with his famous father. In 1963, he made his
television debut on an episode of Armstrong Circle Theatre. Several
other television roles were to follow including appearances on Bob
Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. He
made his feature film debut in 1964 in Taggart, a western based on a
novel by Louis L'Amour.
His first big break, however, came with his second Broadway part in
The Royal Hunt of the Sun, a play by
Peter Shaffer about the
destruction of the Inca empire by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. He
said of this performance, "Many of the important roles that I got
later on were because the guy who was going to hire me was in that
audience and had his mind blown." For that part, Carradine won a
Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance in 1965.
With the closing of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and the failing of his
marriage, Carradine left New York and headed back to California. He
returned to TV to star in the short-lived series Shane, a 1966 western
based upon a 1949 novel of the same name and previously filmed in
Carradine guest-starred opposite
David McCallum in a 1971 episode of
Night Gallery titled "The Phantom Farmhouse." Also in 1971, Carradine
played a hippie reprobate opposite
Sally Field in the well-received
television movie Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring.
In 1972, he co-starred as "Big" Bill Shelly in one of Martin
Scorsese's earliest films, Boxcar Bertha, which starred Barbara
Hershey, his domestic partner at the time (see Personal life). This
was one of several
Roger Corman productions in which he was to
appear. It was also one of a handful of acting collaborations he
did with his father, John.
Carradine as Caine.
For three seasons, Carradine starred as a half-Chinese, half-white
Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine, on the ABC hit TV series Kung Fu
(1972–1975) and was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe
Award for the role. The show, which took place in the Old West,
helped to popularize the martial arts and
Eastern philosophy in the
west, and immortalized the character of Kwai Chang Caine, also
referred to as "Grasshopper," in popular culture.
Although the choice of a white man to play the role of Kwai Chang
Caine stirred controversy, the show served as steady employment for
several Asian-American actors in the U.S. In addition to Keye Luke
and Philip Ahn, who held leading roles in the cast as Caine's Shaolin
masters, Robert Ito, James Hong, Benson Fong, Richard Loo, and Victor
Sen Yung frequently appeared in the series.
Kung Fu ended when
Carradine quit to pursue a movie career, but he reprised the role of
Kwai Chang Caine
Kwai Chang Caine in 1986 in Kung Fu: The Movie. Brandon Lee, son of
Bruce Lee, in his acting debut, portrayed his son.
In 1991, he reprised the role of Caine in a cameo appearance in the TV
movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, in which Caine uses
his Chinese friends to help the title character in 1903 San Francisco.
Early in the 1990s, Carradine once again reprised the role of Kwai
Chang Caine in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993–97) playing the
grandson of the original character of the same name. Carradine starred
in the program and served as executive producer and director. The
program offered him the opportunity to recreate the character for
which he was most widely recognized. The show was canceled in 1997,
after four seasons and 88 episodes.
Immediately following the
Kung Fu series, Carradine accepted the role
as the race car driver Frankenstein in
Death Race 2000
Death Race 2000 (1975), he
said, to "kill the image of Caine and launch a movie career." The
Roger Corman exploitation film became a cult classic. It was based on
Ib Melchior's first science fiction work, a short story called The
Racer. Carradine was tapped to play
Duke Leto Atreides
Duke Leto Atreides in
Alejandro Jodorowsky's aborted
Dune adaptation in the late 1970s.
Carradine in April 2005
In 1976, Carradine earned critical praise for his portrayal of
Woody Guthrie in Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory (1976) for
which he won a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor. He
was also nominated for a
Golden Globe Award and New York Film
Critics Circle Award for his role as Guthrie. Carradine worked very
closely with his friend, singer-songwriter-guitarist Guthrie Thomas,
on the Bound for Glory film. Thomas assisted Carradine in the guitar
style of the period and the songs that had been chosen to be in the
Next came the role of the alcoholic, unemployed trapeze artist Abel
Rosenberg in The Serpent's Egg (1977). Set in post-World War I Berlin,
The Serpent's Egg, which also starred Liv Ullmann, is together with
The Touch one of the two only English-language films made by legendary
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Bergman said of his leading man,
"I don't believe in God, but Heaven must have sent him." Carradine
said that he and Bergman had plans for further collaboration, but the
director's affection for the actor waned when the latter passionately
protested a scene that included the butchering of a horse. The
altercation caused Carradine to question the fate of Bergman's soul
while the director declared, "Little Brother, I am an old whore. I
have shot two other horses, burned one and strangled a dog."
Bruce Lee died in 1973, he left an unreleased movie script that
he had developed with
James Coburn and
Stirling Silliphant called The
Silent Flute. The script became
Circle of Iron
Circle of Iron (1978), and in the
film, Carradine played the four roles that were originally intended
for Lee. Carradine considered this to be among his best work.
In 1980 Carradine appeared in
The Long Riders
The Long Riders (1980), with his
half-brothers Keith and Robert Carradine. The ensemble cast included
three other brother/actor groupings: Stacy and James Keach; Dennis and
Randy Quaid, and Christopher and Nicholas Guest. The movie, which
was about the
Jesse James gang, gave Carradine, who played Cole
Younger, one of his most memorable roles.
Carradine signing autographs in
Malmö in 2005.
Throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, David Carradine's acting
career suffered a decline. Although he continued to amass movie and
television credits, few of his roles garnered much attention. Most of
his work was released straight to video. However, a few of his movies,
The Warrior and the Sorceress
The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984), Sundown: The Vampire in
Retreat (1990) and Sonny Boy (1989), developed cult followings. In
1989 he starred in the low budget direct-to-video Swedish action movie
The Mad Bunch directed by Mats Helge Olsson, making him one of three
actors (including Heinz Hopf and Tor Isedal) who have starred in both
Ingmar Bergman movie and an Olsson movie. In 1997, Carradine
was awarded a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame. The presenters
played an April Fool's Day prank on him by first unveiling a star
bearing the name of his brother, Robert. In 2000, he had a small
part in the movie By Dawn's Early Light.
Carradine enjoyed a revival of his fame when he was cast in Quentin
Kill Bill movies, in 2003 and 2004. Among those
who thought his portrayal of Bill, the assassin extraordinaire, would
earn him an Academy Award nomination was
Scott Mantz of The
Mediadrome, who said, "Carradine practically steals every scene he's
in with confident gusto, and he gives a soulful performance that
should all but ensure a spot on next year's Oscar ballot." Roger
Ebert and Richard Roeper each had
Kill Bill Vol. 2 on their top ten
list for of Academy Awards predictions. Although the films
received no notice from the Academy, Carradine did receive a Golden
Globe nomination and a
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
for his portrayal of Bill.
Carradine also appeared as a mysterious martial artist, The Master, in
the 2009 DVD premier Big Stan.
Carradine attracted notice in 1985 when he appeared in a major
supporting role in North and South, a miniseries about the American
Civil War, as the evil and abusive Justin LaMotte. He was nominated
Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
He also appeared in North and South, Book II, telecast in May 1986.
In addition, he was featured in a Lipton Tea commercial, which first
aired during the broadcast of Super Bowl XXVIII. The advertisement
paid tribute to
The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges while satirizing his role in Kung
Fu. In 1999, he made an appearance as the demon Tempus in the
Season 1 finale episode of Charmed. In 2001, he appeared in the
episode "The Serpent" of the syndicated TV series Queen of Swords as
the sword-wielding bandit El Serpiente filmed at Texas Hollywood
studios in Almeria, Spain, home of many spaghetti westerns. David also
did a guest appearance in episode 11 of
Lizzie McGuire as himself.
David Carradine took over hosting duties from his brother Keith on
Wild West Tech
Wild West Tech on the History Channel, in 2005. The same year he also
played both himself and the ghost of a dead man for an episode of the
NBC TV show Medium. By 2006, he had become the spokesperson for
Yellowbook, a publisher of independent telephone directories in the
United States. He also appeared as the ghost of time, Clockwork, in
two episodes of the animated series, Danny Phantom. He also starred in
the 2008 TV movie,
Kung Fu Killer, in which he played a Chinese
martial arts master very similar to his
Kung Fu series "Caine"
persona—his character in this movie named "White Crane", and mostly
referred to or addressed as "Crand," frequently spoken with a sort of
accent that minimized the R sound.
The actor, who once received an award for being the hardest working
member of his profession in Hollywood, still had approximately
a dozen films in "post-production" at the time of his death in 2009.
Most of these roles were cameos or small parts in independent, direct
to DVD productions. Among them, a horror film, Dark Fields (2009); an
action film, Bad Cop (2009); and a western, All Hell Broke Loose
Carradine also appeared in a minor role in Yuen Woo-ping's Chinese
kung fu epic True Legend. Carradine and Yuen first met while filming
Kill Bill. Yuen eulogized Carradine on the
True Legend website,
describing him as a "good friend." Yuen said of Carradine:
He is among the first
Hollywood actors to perform Chinese martial arts
on the big screen. In real life he is also a genuine kung fu fan, and
knows tai chi, qi gong and Chinese medicine. Same as I, people shall
always remember his role as Caine, the grasshopper, in Kung Fu, in the
'70s, which was a really unforgettable performance. I feel both great
honour and regret that
True Legend is one of David Carradine's last
One of Carradine's last leading roles was in the period drama Golden
Boys, set in 1905. It had only a limited theater run, and received
little critical attention. It was released on DVD shortly after
His final released movie was the cult Indy film, Night of the Templar,
directed by his friend Paul Sampson, in which Carradine wielded a
sword (katana) for the final time on screen. Almost like a
foreshadowing, there are several peculiar and eerie references in the
film that are coincidental to Carradine's untimely passing which
include cross dressing and auto erotic asphyxiation. His last scene on
screen ended in the following dialog: "Well, old friend, see you in
the next lifetime" / "Yeah, Old Friends, Old Soul Mates" / "Yes, we
Carradine co-produced a full-length documentary about luthier Stuart
Mossman, which has been identified as the actor's last film
appearance. The Legend of Stuart Mossman: A Modern Stradivari,
directed by Barry Brown, premiered at the Santa Barbara International
Film Festival, in February 2010. It featured David, Keith, and
Robert Carradine performing their music on Mossman guitars. Mossman
had appeared with Carradine in Cloud Dancer (1980), which Brown also
directed, and in The Long Riders.
On the small screen, Carradine appeared in a guest spot on the
television series Mental that was broadcast just days after his death.
On October 3, 2009,
Celebrity Ghost Stories
Celebrity Ghost Stories premiered on the Biography
Channel with an interview of Carradine discussing his belief that his
closet was haunted by his wife's deceased previous husband. The
segment, which was described as "eerie," was filmed four months before
his own death. In his last of many collaborations with producer
Roger Corman, Carradine appeared in the Syfy Channel's science fiction
monster movie Dinocroc Vs. Supergator, over a year after he died. Ken
Tucker, writing for Entertainment Weekly, said the film was
"impeccable" and "goofy fun all the way." At the time of this
release, there were still four more unreleased films that credited
David Carradine, including Stretch, which he was filming at the time
of his death.
Carradine made his directorial debut on three episodes of Kung Fu.
While still performing on Kung Fu, he tried his hand at directing some
independent films of his own. Americana (1983), took ten years to
complete due to difficulty in financing. It featured Carradine in the
starring role and several of his friends and family members in
supporting roles. The film won the People's Choice Award at the
Director's Fortnight at Cannes, but failed to achieve critical support
or adequate distribution. Other directorial attempts included
You and Me (1975), and two unreleased productions: Mata Hari, an
epic that starred his daughter, Calista; and a short musical called A
Carradine knew nothing of the practice of kung fu at the time he was
cast in the role of Kwai Chang Caine; instead, he relied on his
experience as a dancer for the part. He also had experience in
sword fighting, boxing, and street fighting on which to draw. For
the first half of the original series, David Chow provided technical
assistance with kung fu. He never considered himself a master of the
art, but rather an "evangelist" of kung fu. By 2003 he had
acquired enough expertise in martial arts to produce and star in
several instructional videos on T'ai chi and Qigong. In 2005,
Carradine visited the
Shaolin Monastery in
Henan, China as part of the
extra features for the third season of the
Kung Fu DVDs. During his
visit, the abbot, Shi Yǒngxìn, said that he recognized Carradine's
important contribution to the promotion of the
Shaolin Monastery and
kung fu culture, to which Carradine replied, "I am happy to
Carradine in 2006
In addition to his acting career, Carradine was a musician. He sang
and played the piano, the guitar and the flute among other
instruments. In 1970, Carradine played one half of a flower power
beatnik duo in the season 4 Ironside episode "The Quincunx,"
performing the songs "I Stepped on a Flower," "Lonesome Stranger," and
"Sorrow of the Singing Tree." He recorded an album titled Grasshopper,
which was released in 1975. His musical talents were often
integrated into his screen performances. He performed several of Woody
Guthrie's songs for the movie Bound for Glory. For the
Kung Fu series
he made flutes out of bamboo that he had planted on the Warner
Brothers lot. He later made several flutes for the movie Circle of
Iron, one of which he later played in Kill Bill. Carradine wrote
and performed the theme songs for at least two movies that he starred
in, Americana and Sonny Boy. The first line from the Sonny Boy theme,
"Paint", which he wrote while filming Americana in Drury, Kansas, in
1973, is engraved on his headstone. He wrote and performed several
songs for American Reel (2003) and wrote the score for You and Me.
He and his brother, Robert, also performed with a band, the Cosmic
Rescue Team (also known as Soul Dogs). The band performed
primarily in small venues and benefits.
Carradine and his daughter Kansas with wife Gail in 1987
Shortly after being drafted into the Army in 1960, Carradine proposed
marriage to Donna Lee Becht (born September 26, 1937), whom he
had met while they were students at Oakland High School. They were
married on Christmas Day that year. She lived with him off-base in
Virginia while he was stationed at Fort Eustis. In April 1962, she
gave birth to their daughter Calista. After Carradine's discharge, the
family lived in New York while Carradine established his acting
career, appearing on Broadway in The Deputy and Royal Hunt of the
Sun. The marriage dissolved in 1968, whereupon Carradine left New York
and headed back to
California to continue his television and film
In 1969, Carradine met actress
Barbara Hershey while the two of them
were working on Heaven with a Gun. The pair lived together until
1975. They appeared in other films together, including Martin
Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha. In 1972, they appeared together in a nude
Playboy spread, recreating some sex scenes from Boxcar Bertha.
That year, Hershey gave birth to their son, Free (who at age nine
changed his name to Tom, much to his father's chagrin). The
couple's relationship fell apart around the time of Carradine's 1974
burglary arrest, when Carradine began an affair with Season
Hubley, who had guest-starred on Kung Fu. Carradine was engaged to
Hubley for a time, but they never married.
In February 1977, Carradine married, in a civil ceremony in Munich,
Germany, his second wife, Linda (née Linda Anne Gilbert), immediately
following the filming of The Serpent's Egg. Gilbert was previously
Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. Their daughter, Kansas, was
born in 1978.
Carradine's second marriage ended in divorce, as did the two that
followed. He was married to Gail Jensen from 1986 to 1997. She died in
April 2010, at the age of 60, of an alcohol-related illness. He
was married to Marina Anderson from 1998 to 2001. By this time,
Carradine had proclaimed himself to be a "serial monogamist."
On December 26, 2004, Carradine married the widowed Annie Bierman
(née Anne Kirstie Fraser, born December 21, 1960) at the seaside
Malibu home of his friend Michael Madsen. Vicki Roberts, his attorney
and a longtime friend of his wife's, performed the ceremony. With this
marriage he acquired three stepdaughters, Amanda Eckelberry (born
1989), Madeleine Rose (born 1995), and Olivia Juliette (born 1998) as
well as a stepson, actor Max Richard Carradine (born 1998).
In one of his final interviews, Carradine stated that at 71, he was
still "in excellent shape," attributing it to a good diet and having a
youthful circle of friends. "Everybody that I know is at least 10 or
20 years younger than I am. My wife Annie is 24 years younger than I
am. My daughter asks why I don't hang with women my age and I say,
'Most of the women my age are a lot older than me!'"
Arrests and prosecutions
By his own account, in the late 1950s, while living in San Francisco,
Carradine was arrested for assaulting a police officer. He pled guilty
to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace. While in the Army, he
faced court-martial, on more than one occasion, for
shoplifting. After he became an established actor and had
changed his name to David, he was arrested in 1967 for possession of
At the height of his popularity in Kung Fu, in 1974 Carradine was
arrested again, this time for attempted burglary and malicious
mischief. While under the influence of peyote, Carradine began
wandering nude around his
Laurel Canyon neighborhood. He broke into a
neighbor's home, smashing a window and cutting his arm. He then bled
all over the homeowner's piano. At some time during this incident
he accosted two young women, allegedly assaulting one while asking if
she was a witch. The police literally followed a trail of
blood to his home. The burglary charges were dropped when nothing
was found to be missing. Carradine pleaded no contest to the mischief
charge and was given probation. He was never charged with assault,
but the young woman sued him for $1.1 million and was awarded
In 1980, while in South Africa filming
Safari 3000 (also known as
Rally), which co-starred Stockard Channing, Carradine was arrested for
possession of marijuana. He was convicted and given a suspended
sentence. He claimed that he was framed, in this case, by the
apartheid government, as he had been seen dancing with Tina
During the 1980s, Carradine was arrested at least twice for driving
under the influence of alcohol, once in 1984 and again in 1989. In
the second case, Carradine pleaded no contest. Of this incident,
the Los Angeles Times reported: "legal experts say Carradine was
handed a harsher-than-average sentence, even for a second-time
offender: three years' summary probation, 48 hours in jail, 100 hours
of community service, 30 days' work picking up trash for the
California Department of Transportation, attendance at a drunk driving
awareness meeting and completion of an alcohol rehabilitation
In 1994, while in Toronto filming Kung Fu: The Legend Continues,
Carradine was arrested for kicking in a door at
Rolling Stones concert. When asked his reasoning,
Carradine claimed he was worried about getting swarmed by people who
recognized him, and so entered the building as quickly as
Wikinews has related news:
Kung Fu star Carradine found dead in
David Carradine at Forest Lawn
On June 3, 2009, at the age of 72,
David Carradine was found dead in
his room at the
Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel
Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road, near
Sukhumvit Road, in central Bangkok, Thailand. He was in Bangkok
to shoot his latest film, titled Stretch. A police official said
that Carradine was found naked, hanging by a rope in the room's
closet, causing immediate speculation that his death was
suicide. However, reported evidence suggested that his death
was accidental, the result of autoerotic asphyxiation. Two
autopsies were conducted, one involving the celebrity pathologist
Pornthip Rojanasunan, and both concluded that the death was not a
suicide. The cause of death became widely accepted
as "accidental asphyxiation."
Immediately following his death, two of Carradine's former wives, Gail
Jensen and Marina Anderson, stated publicly that
his sexual interests included the practice of self-bondage. Anderson,
who had plans to publish a tell-all book about her marriage to
Carradine, said in an interview with Access Hollywood, "There was a
dark side to David, there was a very intense side to David. People
around him know that." Previously, in her divorce filing, she had
claimed that "it was the continuation of abhorrent and deviant sexual
behavior which was potentially deadly."
Photographs of Carradine at the death scene, as well as photographs of
his autopsied body, were circulated in newspapers and on the
Internet. His family, represented by his brothers, Keith and
Robert, pleaded with the public and the press to let them mourn their
loved one in peace.
Carradine's funeral was held on June 13, 2009, in Los Angeles. His
bamboo casket was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Among
the many stars and family members who attended his private memorial
were Tom Selleck, Lucy Liu, Frances Fisher, James Cromwell, Steve
Railsback, and Chris Potter. His grave was marked on December 3, 2009.
The monument proclaimed him to be "The Barefoot Legend" and included a
quote from "Paint", a song he wrote and performed as the theme to
Sonny Boy, as an epitaph.
Wrongful death suit and murder accusations
On the first anniversary of his death, Carradine's widow, Annie,
announced that she had filed a lawsuit for wrongful death against the
company that produced the film Carradine was working on at the time of
his death. The lawsuit claimed that the company failed to provide
assistance to the actor that had been agreed upon in his contract.
"The suit alleges, the assistant left him behind for dinner on the
night before the actor was found dead. The assistant and other film
staffers apparently could not reach Carradine and decided to leave
without him. Carradine called the assistant an hour later but was told
the group was across town, and he would have to make his own
arrangements that evening." Annie Carradine reached a settlement
with MK2 Productions in August 2011. She was reported to be
receiving about US$400,000 from the company for Carradine's
In June 2010, Marina Anderson, Carradine's fourth ex-wife, published
David Carradine: The Eye of My Tornado, a memoir that discusses
intimate details of their marriage. She also claimed publicly
that she had conducted her own investigation of his death and
concluded that he was murdered.
David Carradine filmography
Saints Row (2006) – William Sharp (voice)
Awards and honors
1966: Theatre World Award, Royal Hunt of the Sun
1974: TP de Oro, Spain. Best Foreign Actor, Kung Fu
1997: Gold Star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame, Television
1998: Honoree — The 16th Annual
Golden Boot Awards (along with
brothers Keith and Robert)
2005: Action on Film International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement
Award — First annual recipient
2005: Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Saturn
Award, Best Supporting Actor, Kill Bill: Volume 2
2008: Honoree — Walk of Western Stars
The Spirit of Shaolin. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
ISBN 0-8048-1751-0. (See Shaolin Kung Fu) (1991)
Endless Highway. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
ISBN 1-885203-20-9. (autobiography, 1995)
David Carradine's Tai Chi Workout. Henry Holt and Company.
ISBN 0-8050-3767-5. Co-authored with David Nakahara.
(Alternate transliteration of "T'ai Chi" is T'ai chi ch'uan) (1995)
David Carradine's Introduction to Chi Kung. Henry Holt and Company.
ISBN 0-8050-5100-7. Co-authored with David Nakahara.
(Alternate transliteration is Qigong) (1997)
Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through
the Eyes of a Screen Legend. Harper Publishing.
ISBN 0-06-082346-1. (2006)
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Tuttle. ISBN 0804817510.
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^ a b "Theatre World Awards, 1965–66". Retrieved June 4, 2009.
^ Bowman, Lisa Marie. "Embracing the Melodrama Part II #39: Maybe I'll
Come Home In The Spring (dir by Joseph Sargent)". Through the
Shattered Lens. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
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Kung Fu Book of Caine: The Complete
Guide to TV's First Mystical Eastern Western. Boston: Charles A.
Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-1826-6.
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49, ISBN 0804817510.
^ Kalat, David (2009). Death Race 2000. TCM Underground, Accessed
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Wayback Machine.. Nbrmp.org. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
^ Canby, Vincent The Serpent's Egg Screen: Slouching Toward Berlin:
Made in Exile(1978) The New York Times
^ Searle, Robert (July 14, 2009)
Circle of Iron
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^ Carradine, David and Moore, Richard "
Circle of Iron
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^ Ekeroth, Daniel (2011) Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine
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^ Being a Carradine can be confusing. Freelance Star (April 2, 1997),
Fredericksburg, Virginia. p. 3A
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^ "Not Even the Commercials Were Super", Washington Post (January 31,
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^ "Legend in Martial Arts Tale". New Straits Times (February 8, 2010).
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original-url status unknown (link) . Santa Barbara Independent.
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^ Brooks, Brian (January 22, 2010) Premieres, “Lessons,” “Men”
& Celebritage Heading to 25th Santa Barbara Film Festival,
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^ Tucker, Ken (June 27, 2010) "Dinogator Vs. Supergator Review:
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the heart, Reuters
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YouTube, Season 3 DVD. Warner Video (2005)
^ a b c d Hyatt, Jeff (June 4, 2009) Carradine Leaves Behind a Musical
Legacy Archived March 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Beat Crave
^ Discogs.com master entry on "Grasshopper" album. Discogs.com.
Retrieved on May 31, 2017.
^ Carradine, David (2006) The
Kill Bill Diary. Harper
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David Carradine Grave Marker December 7, 2009 Radar online
^ a b Who's Who in America – 2009 (63 ed.). 2008.
access-date= requires url= (help)
^ a b "David Carradine".
^ a b Weber, Bruce (June 4, 2009). "David Carradine, Actor, Is Dead at
72". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
^ Thal, Ron (August 1972). "Boxcar Bertha". Playboy Magazine. 19 (8):
^ Lewis, Barbara (November 20, 1975). "
David Carradine feels typecast
as Guthrie". Lakeland Ledger. (Florida). p. 14C.
David Carradine Marries in Munich," St. Petersburg Times (February
5, 1977) p. 9
^ David Carradine's Ex-Wife Dies. Radar On-line, May 3, 2010.
^ Hay, Carla (April 17, 2009) "
David Carradine and
Bruce Dern reflect
on their golden years."
^ "Carradine Finds Eternal Youth With Younger Women". August 17,
^ Bennetts, Leslie (September 4, 1975) "Children of the Stars: They do
the Strangest Things," Miami News, p. 6
^ Sease, Glean (August 29, 1967). "People." The Pittsburgh Press
David Carradine Arrested" (September 19, 1974), The Victoria
Advocate, p. 6
^ West, Richard (September 19, 1974) "
David Carradine Charged With
Attempted Burglary in Rampage," Los Angeles Times
^ a b "Woman Sues, Says T.V. Actor Attacked Her," L.A. Times (October
23, 1974) p. 1
^ a b Mtnra, Oliver (July 11, 1975) "
David Carradine Ordered to Pay in
Assault Suit", L.A. Times, p. 3
^ "Show Business," The Milwaukee Journal (September 20, 1974) p. 19.
^ "Carradine Fined, Given Probation", L.A. Times (November 13, 1974)
^ "South Africans Arrest Carradine," Tuscaloosa News (September 21,
1980) p. 19
^ "Carradine Guilty in Pot Case," Sarasota Times (November 13, 1980)
David Carradine Arrested in L.A.," St. Petersburg Times ((May 19,
David Carradine Gets Jail, Probation For Drunk Driving," L.A. Times
(October 3, 1989) p. 9
^ Finke, Nikki (October 5, 1989) Celebrity Justice When Laws Are
Broken Fame Isn't The Shield It Used To Be L.A. Times, p. 1
^ "Living - Seen, Heard, Said - Seattle Times Newspaper".
^ a b "
David Carradine Found Dead in Bangkok". The Nation. March 6,
2009. Archived from the original on June 7, 2009. Retrieved June 4,
^ Goldman, Russell (June 4, 2009). "Police: Carradine Found Naked,
Hanged in Closet". ABC News. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
David Carradine Found Dead". CNN. June 4, 2009. Retrieved
June 4, 2009.
^ Russell Goldman abc News, Police: Carradine's Death Likely Sex
^ "Forensics pointing out the death of David was autoerotic". Thai
Rath (in Thai). June 5, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
^ Ngamkham, Wassayos (June 5, 2009). "'Kung Fu' Star Carradine Dead".
Bangkok Post. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
^ "Carradine Death 'Erotic Asphyxiation'".
Bangkok Post. June 6, 2009.
Retrieved June 5, 2009.
^ Drummond, Andrew (June 5, 2009). "
Kung Fu Star
David Carradine Died
'When Auto Erotic Sex Game Went Wrong'". Daily Record. Retrieved June
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Kung Fu and
Kill Bill Star
David Carradine Found Accidentally Hanged
After 'Sex Games' in
Bangkok Hotel Wardrobe". Daily Mail. Retrieved
June 5, 2009.
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David Carradine Died of Accidental Asphyxiation.
(July 2, 2009) People
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Carradine's 'Kinky' Habits". ABC News. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
David Carradine Branded 'Strange' by Ex". Contactmusic.com. June 9,
2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
Kung Fu Star David Carradine's 'Deviant' Sex Games, By His
Ex-Wife". Daily Mail. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
^ McShane, Larry (June 5, 2009). "
David Carradine a Fan of
'Potentially Deadly' Deviant Sex Acts, Ex-Wife Said in Court Papers".
New York Daily News. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
^ Darwar, Anil (June 8, 2009). "Carradine Loved Deadly Sex Games, Says
Ex-Wife". Daily Express. Archived from the original on June 13, 2009.
Retrieved June 10, 2009.
^ "Carradine's Ex Says He Had A Dark Side". MSNBC. June 8, 2009.
^ Bourke, Philippa (June 9, 2009) "
David Carradine Autopsy Photos,
Outrage Over Death Photos Expand, FBI Probe"[permanent dead link],
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Robert Carradine speak of
"devastating loss" of
David Carradine Archived May 2, 2010, at the
Wayback Machine.. Los Angeles Times
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the grave"". Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved
2009-12-28. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
The Daily Californian
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Retrieved December 30, 2009.
^ ""David Carradine's Widow Files Wrongful Death Suit"". Archived from
the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved 2010-06-29. . KTLA.com.
(June 4, 2010)
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via Washington Times. August 17, 2011.
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original on November 17, 2011.
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maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) . aoffest.com
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IMDB.com (May 3, 2005)
^ Walk of Western Stars. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Carradine.
David Carradine on IMDb
David Carradine at the
Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
David Carradine at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
David Carradine at the TCM Movie Database
David Carradine at AllMovie
David Carradine at TV Guide
David Carradine at Find a Grave
IGN interview with David Carradine
"A Fresh Thing": David Carradine
David Carradine –
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph obituary
McLellan, Dennis. "
David Carradine dies at 72; star of 'Kung Fu'," Los
Angeles Times, Friday, June 5, 2009.
David Carradine Family Tree
Awards for David Carradine
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
Ray Milland (1945)
Laurence Olivier (1946)
Michael Redgrave (1947)
Walter Huston (1948)
Ralph Richardson (1949)
Alec Guinness (1950)
Richard Basehart (1951)
Ralph Richardson (1952)
James Mason (1953)
Bing Crosby (1954)
Ernest Borgnine (1955)
Yul Brynner (1956)
Alec Guinness (1957)
Spencer Tracy (1958)
Victor Sjöström (1959)
Robert Mitchum (1960)
Albert Finney (1961)
Jason Robards (1962)
Rex Harrison (1963)
Anthony Quinn (1964)
Lee Marvin (1965)
Paul Scofield (1966)
Peter Finch (1967)
Cliff Robertson (1968)
Peter O'Toole (1969)
George C. Scott
George C. Scott (1970)
Gene Hackman (1971)
Peter O'Toole (1972)
Al Pacino /
Robert Ryan (1973)
Gene Hackman (1974)
Jack Nicholson (1975)
David Carradine (1976)
John Travolta (1977)
Jon Voight /
Laurence Olivier (1978)
Peter Sellers (1979)
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro (1980)
Henry Fonda (1981)
Ben Kingsley (1982)
Tom Conti (1983)
Victor Banerjee (1984)
William Hurt /
Raúl Juliá (1985)
Paul Newman (1986)
Michael Douglas (1987)
Gene Hackman (1988)
Morgan Freeman (1989)
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro /
Robin Williams (1990)
Warren Beatty (1991)
Jack Lemmon (1992)
Anthony Hopkins (1993)
Tom Hanks (1994)
Nicolas Cage (1995)
Tom Cruise (1996)
Jack Nicholson (1997)
Ian McKellen (1998)
Russell Crowe (1999)
Javier Bardem (2000)
Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton (2001)
Campbell Scott (2002)
Sean Penn (2003)
Jamie Foxx (2004)
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman (2005)
Forest Whitaker (2006)
George Clooney (2007)
Clint Eastwood (2008)
George Clooney /
Morgan Freeman (2009)
Jesse Eisenberg (2010)
George Clooney (2011)
Bradley Cooper (2012)
Bruce Dern (2013)
Michael Keaton /
Oscar Isaac (2014)
Matt Damon (2015)
Casey Affleck (2016)
Tom Hanks (2017)
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Marty Feldman (1974/75)
Jay Robinson (1976)
Alec Guinness (1977)
Burgess Meredith (1978)
Arte Johnson (1979)
Scatman Crothers (1980)
Burgess Meredith (1981)
Richard Lynch (1982)
John Lithgow (1983)
Tracey Walter (1984)
Roddy McDowall (1985)
Bill Paxton (1986)
Richard Dawson (1987)
Robert Loggia (1988)
Thomas F. Wilson
Thomas F. Wilson (1989/90)
William Sadler (1991)
Robin Williams (1992)
Lance Henriksen (1993)
Gary Sinise (1994)
Brad Pitt (1995)
Brent Spiner (1996)
Vincent D'Onofrio (1997)
Ian McKellen (1998)
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan (1999)
Willem Dafoe (2000)
Ian McKellen (2001)
Andy Serkis (2002)
Sean Astin (2003)
David Carradine (2004)
Mickey Rourke (2005)
Ben Affleck (2006)
Javier Bardem (2007)
Heath Ledger (2008)
Stephen Lang (2009)
Andrew Garfield (2010)
Andy Serkis (2011)
Clark Gregg (2012)
Ben Kingsley (2013)
Richard Armitage (2014)
Adam Driver (2015)
John Goodman (2016)
ISNI: 0000 0000 7141 4172
BNF: cb13173231r (data)