David Carradine - Kung Fu actor found dead

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just as the character, Kwai Chang Caine, roamed the 19th Century American West, David 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.

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."

Carradine was found dead Thursday in Thailand. The 72-year-old actor appeared to have hanged himself in a suite at the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel, said Lt. Teerapop Luanseng, the officer responsible for investigating the death.

"I can confirm that we found his body, naked, hanging in the closet," Teerapop said. He said police were investigating and suspected suicide, though one of his managers questioned that theory.

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.

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

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.

source: movies.yahoo.com

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