June 4, 2009

David Carradine, found dead in Thailand.

At the age of 72.

I loved him in the 1960s TV show "Shane":



And, much more recently, in the wonderful Taratino movie "Kill Bill":



What a face! What presence! Beautiful.

Sad.

76 comments:

Michael Hasenstab said...

Ah Grasshopper. You must not forget to take anti-depressant. Grasshopper?

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, he had one hell of a run. I think we watched every Kung Fu episode as kids.

The full story of his death sounds interesting.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I met him at GenCon last year. Nice guy and a helluva lot smaller than you think.

NKVD said...

Never cared much for his work. He always looked stoned. He may have been.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, we were big on "Kung Fu", too.

Bummer.

Fred4Pres said...

Kung Fu was a great show. Smart guy for sure. Lots of demons too. RIP.

New York said...

Bill was the most Nietzschean character in Tarantino's most Niezschean movie.

Since most Tarantino movies are Nietzschean, that's saying something.

jayne_cobb said...

Damn.

Cedarford said...

The media says there is this stable of about 2500-2750 celebrities we should know, and care about.

The NY Times has it's list of 2500-2750 "influential people" living in Manhattan, DC, and California "whose lives are truly important to us all".

My position is that lists must be refreshed to be relevant, and entertainment and the Ruling Elite/Beautiful People cadres must drop a few with regularity in order to make room for "fresh faces".

Death seems the best way. It should be encouraged.
Because just when you think you are rid of Eliot Spitzer or Mickey Rourke or Sanjaya..they resurface and intrude and crowd out better worthies.
Give Sanjaya some rope.

traditionalguy said...

He had a very expressive face, a great voice and good intelligence for an actor. Sad to see him quit.

Jennifer said...

Sad.

Why must they always include so much detail? Do we need to know how he was found? Why not allow even the smallest measure of dignity?

john said...

"Dead in a Bankok hotel room" brings a lot of other images, all sordid, to mind.

Cedarford said...

Jennifer said...

Why must they always include so much detail? Do we need to know how he was found? Why not allow even the smallest measure of dignity?

Because most celebrities have no dignity, or give it up to ride the tiger.

Besides, if someone like Richard Gere is found dead with a 1/2 gallon of semen in his stomach and a live gerbil in his ass, Enquiring minds like mine want to know it..

Bissage said...

(1) What a face! What presence! Beautiful.

That's because he was half Chinese.

It's a proven scientific fact that all children of mixed race are beautiful.

(2) The pilot to “Kung Fu” was great. I still remember the Man v. God drama of this pass-the-torch scene between teacher and pupil:

MASTER PO: You have learned discipline and acquired many new abilities. However, never forget that a priest's life is a simple one and must remain free of ambition.

CAINE: Have you no ambition, Master Po?

MASTER PO: Only one. Five years hence, it is my wish to make a pilgrimage to the Forbidden City. It is a place where even priests receive no special status. There in the Temple of Heaven, will be a festival. The full moon of May. It will be the thirteenth day of the fifth month in the Year of the Dog.

CAINE: [slightly amused] That is not such a great ambition.

MASTER PO: But it is ambition, nonetheless. Who among us is without flaw?

(3) What put the kick in the scene was the way Keye Luke delivered his last lines. He looked off into the distance with his blind eyes shining as if his wisdom was all he needed to see his own death as well as Caine’s tragic fate as an outcast – which of course would all come to pass.

Great stuff!

rhhardin said...

I never heard of him.

The 60s was when I still had a TV, too. But I don't remember Shane.

There were a lot of really bad shows - anything with Lloyd Bridges for starters - beginning to weigh heavily into the 1971 decision to toss the then unwatched TV entirely.

Get Smart was good. The Chief died in the 80s, Don Adams fairly recently, years-wise, but I only know that from the DVD set.

The YouTubes of the other shows I remember as decent show mostly that my taste hadn't evolved very far.

The Ernie Kovacs tilted room skit, which had me in absolute stitches of laughter back then, falls pretty flat for me today.

Well they called it the vast wasteland for something.

AJ Lynch said...

Vodka on the rocks. That is what he ordered in the Phoenix airport bar.

I was on my way to Vegas in Dec 2007 and Carradine came into the bar and ordered one drink, drank it and and left. He was a little pissed because the barmaid carded him. Their rule was to card everyone.

Carradine mumbled something like "Jesus I am 71 years old".

goesh said...

Thanks for posting this, Ms. Anne and the others, like Koko.

NKVD said...

Bissage - you had me going with that half chinese thing.

And I agree that all mixed race people are beautiful - just stare at the visage of our beloved Dear Leader and you will know the truth.

glam1931 said...

Bissage, he was NOT half-Chinese...his character on Kung-Fu was half-Chinese, and Brandon Lee was half-Chinese. David Carradine was pure American Hollywood stock, but a fine enough actor to fool you into believing the illusion.

glam1931 said...

Ok, I was suckered to. Sorry for the outrage.

Sofa King said...

For me, he is and always will be Frankenstein.

NKVD said...

That is so 2000!

chickenlittle said...

Vodka on the rocks. That is what he ordered in the Phoenix airport bar.

@AJ, Did he happen to go through the airport turnstile sideways that day?

Fred4Pres said...

"David Carradine was pure American Hollywood stock..."


Is "American Hollywood stock" a separate recognized race now?

TMink said...

"He always looked stoned."

I understand that he was quite the pothead.

I too completely enjoyed his work in Kill Bill and Kung Fu.

Rest In Peace brother, thanks for the entertainment.

Trey

Fred4Pres said...

Bruce Lee created Kung Fu and wanted to play the role of Caine, but was turned down for an actor (of apparently) "pure American Hollywood stock." It would have been a huge what if, had Lee played that role. A very different show I am sure.

Still, television studio prejudices aside, David Caradine was a fine actor and did have a Euro-Asian look that strangely fit the role (I think his back ground is Irish, which--without me getting to prejudicial--may explain some of his substance abuse problems).

SteveR said...

I only really knew him from Kung Fu, which was on originally when I was in my late teens. I've always thought it was a good show, more thought provoking than most shows of that era but still satisfying with the inevitable climatic scenes of him kicking the bad guys butts.

rcocean said...

I loved Kung Fu. He'd go all over the Old West teaching self-control, brotherhood, and peace & then beat the crap out of people.

John said...

He was great in a movie called The Long Riders. His two brothers were in it too. The Carradines played the Younger brothers, the Keaches were the Jameses, the Quaids are in it, and the Guest brothers were the Fords. David did look kind of Asian, but his brothers don't.

rcocean said...

Usually, he'd beat up guys with six-shooters and Winchesters. They didn't have a chance against his flying fists and feet.

Plus, he usually beat-down racists, and we all know they can't shoot worth a damn.

Tex the Pontificator said...

"rcocean said:I loved Kung Fu. He'd go all over the Old West teaching self-control, brotherhood, and peace & then beat the crap out of people."

As to the Kung Fu series, I found it remarkable that, though he was a pacifist, he got in at least one fight a week. I'm not a pacifist, and I haven't been in a fight since the ninth grade.

Oligonicella said...

Alleged Norris: "Carradine is to martial arts what I am to acting."

I agree with him. And "Kung Fu" would most certainly have been magnitudes better with Lee.

AJ Lynch said...

Chicken:

Carradine only had one drink- I assumed he had to catch a connecting flight.

I had a much longer layover so I may have gone thru the gate sideways. You know what that ad says When in Vegas....or when on the way to Vegas.

SteveR said...

Naah. I don't think Spike Lee would have made it better.

Donald Douglas said...

You're a decade ahead of me. We watched "Kung Fu."

My parents often let me and my sisters stay up to watch the show. It was always a special occasion. I loved that program. It was so idealistic, and so different from traditional Western folklore. I especially liked David Carradine himself. He seemed to really embody the spirit of peace that was found in Kwai Chang Caine.

aser said...

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

glam1931 said...

Ok, I took a few deserved hits for "Pure American Hollywood stock". I guess Hollywood Caucasian would have been more accurate, although Carradine apparently had a smidgen of Native American in there too, but then many Americans do, including myself, although not enough to qualify as a member of a minority group.
I did a play years ago in Hollywood, and the fight choreographer had been a stunt director on Kung Fu. He loved telling about Carradine's total ineptitude at martial arts at the time, and said that's why all the fights were shot in slow motion. The "fighting" was created almost entirely by editing. Strangely enough, Carradine eventually developed a genuine interest in martial arts and became quite proficient.
The younger folk mostly remember David as the older brother of Robert and Keith, but to me he'll always be John Carradine's kid...the grand old man who appeared in over 300 films and tv shows (including many classic horrors, starting with Bride of Frankenstein - 1935), with a memorable, smoky voice, and according to legend the greatest American Hamlet, better than Barrymore.

knox said...

Surely it couldn't have been on purpose, given the other details not mentioned in the NYT. I mean, you wouldn't set yourself up that way. right...?

AllenS said...

Having been to Bangkok, there's a good possibility he died of exhaustion. He wasn't half Chinese, but part grasshopper.

chickenlittle said...

@AJ: I was just riffing off the joke:

Confucious say: man who walk through airport turnstile sideways surely going to Bangkok! :-)

Tibore said...

Mother of God, he hanged himself??

Why?? Just... just... why??

I'm at a loss for words. I'm rocked back in my seat now, saddened and shocked. This is messed up. I don't know what else to say.

Nichevo said...

C4, do you ever have anything nice to say about anyone? If you ever have, I missed it.

chickenlittle said...

Tibore: If it wasn't suicide, the rumor under "famous cases" found here is going to be hard to beat.

cryptical said...

I kind of hope it was an accident rather than on purpose. Suicide is a sad way to go, but dying doing something you love is never tragic...

EDH said...

Pebble, snatched from hand.

Time for you to go.

EDH said...

Thai police have told BBC News that Mr. Carradine was found on Thursday morning by a hotel maid in a wardrobe with a rope around his neck.



Oh jeez, I hope he wasn't choking his chicken.

Jim said...

It was apparently an accident caused by an attempt at auto-eroticism. The BBC is reporting that the rope was tied around his neck and genitals...

TMink said...

Interestingly, Bruce Lee was also a devoted smoker of weed.

Trey

Curtiss said...

Auto-erotic sexual asphyxia.

In Bangkok.

Tibore said...

"chickenlittle said...
Tibore: If it wasn't suicide, the rumor under "famous cases" found here is going to be hard to beat."




Yeah. I read a BBC story with more detail than the NYTimes or CNN.com ones I first read. If it's accurate - if; it's still early in the story - and the cord was wrapped around more than his neck (*shocked expression*) then maybe it was indeed not an intentional suicide.

Yikes. However you look at it, it's still messed up.

Hazy Dave said...

Let that be a warning to you all.

Robert Cook said...

Vaugh Bode, cartoonist creator of CHEECH WIZARD, which ran in the National Lampoon back in the 70s, died of auto-erotic asphyxiation in 1975. At the time, he looked like Marc Bolan of T REX.

First time I'd ever heard of it, but apparently it's not uncommon.

AJ Lynch said...

Chicken:

LOL. I forgot that joke.

Our variation as a kid was to ask a buddy the question "What is the capital of Thailand?"

Then before he could answer, you'd smack him in the nuts and yell "Bangkok".

Oh those were the days huh!

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

Yeah. Wearing a tutu, no less.

SteveR --

Dunno. Throwin' signs, cruisin' 'n shootin' as you go. The language would have rhymed more too.

Jeremy said...

Ironic that one of his last films was titled "My Suicide."

But I bet this wasn't...

Tibore said...

This was a weird journey today. I went from sad when I discovered he died, to shocked when I discovered a detail of the death, to "OMG, what??" when I discovered that the rope was used for more than his neck.

If there was ever a way to sear details to memory, revealing the narrative in that way is it!

Fred4Pres said...

Here is Bruce Lee fighting Chuck Norris.

Actually Bruce Lee never died. Chuck Norris kicked him and he broke in two seperate pieces, Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

XWL said...

If the rumors are true, let this be a lesson to all of you, keep your auto-erotic activities as simple as possible.

Strange, though, seems like in Bangkok of all places, one wouldn't need to resort to 'auto' erotic activities, given the availability of transactional partners.

And when will a famous woman be found like this? According to the wiki, women occaisonally die like this, but their numbers are less than 1 in 100 compared to the men who do this.

Do women do this activity at far smaller numbers, or are they just better at not screwing up and dying?

And it's a shame to see him go before his time, David was still great in the most recent film of his I saw, Crank 2, even in a small role as a wonderously offensive and cartoonish version of an ancient Chinese crimelord.

Jeremy said...

Palladian has tried this, but it never works.

No genitalia.

NKVD said...

Well, one leaves a body of work, then just a body. Gives a whole new meaning to chokin' the chicken.

At least he died doing what he loved.

knox said...

Jeremy, it's amusing to see that Palladian hasgot so far into your head, that you have to comment something like that on a harmless, pop-culture thread like this.

AJ Lynch said...

Knox;

I think we found an antidote. All you have to do is mention "Gene Olson and Santa Monica College". It's like an electro-shock treatment to Jeremy.

Who incidentally teaches psychology. How about that!

Sorin said...

On line, you can buy auto-erotic asphyxia gear based on weight that will break loose if you pass out.
Don't even think about using your old neckties. Just ask Lady Heather
the next time you're in Vegas.

NKVD said...

Gene's homepage is as sparse as his intellectual landscape and forensic skillset.

EDH said...

Follow this excerpt from...

One Night in Bangkok


One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam's gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

And thank God I'm only watching the game -- controlling it --

I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage
parlours --

EDH said...

More...

Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist

Whose every move's among the purest

I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

peter hoh said...

Just in from work and garden. Saw a reference to the details on another blog. Wondered if that had been brought up in this thread, so I used the "find" feature to look for "rope."

First hit: Give Sanjaya some rope.

Shudder.

William said...

This is a Chuckles the Clown kind of death. There won't be a dry eye in the congregation when the pastor talks of his adventurous spirit and willingness to explore the boundaries of love. If his widow loses it, I don't think anyone in the church will be able to hold it back......My own sex life, with the exception of that one weekend with the Olson twins, has always been fairly bland and unimaginative. Is there anyone here knowledgeable about the qualitative difference between this type of orgasm and all other orgasms. It does seem like an awful lot of trouble to go through. He was a movie star in Bangkok. He could have called room service for a hooker of Olympic class dexterity. He sounds like one of those people who get exotic pets like cheetahs instead of a friendly cocker spaniel. Very self indulgent way to die.

amba said...

Sounds more like a desperate way to die, to me. The notion of a 72-yr-old doing erotic asphyxia, if that's what it was, boggles the mind.

sierra said...

Yuk. Sounds like he read too many William Burroughs novels. What a way to go.

Jen said...

This seems a little liberal for this blog.

Mark said...

When I'm 72, if I'm found dead in a Bangkok hotel room with a rope around my neck, my ghost will figure that at least I never sold out to the Clark Kent side.

John Burgess said...

Auto-erotic stuff is, obviously, done solo. The ropes and all can be used with a partner, though. Still erotic, just minus the auto part.

Given that this was in Bangkok, I'd like to check the hotel surveillance videos to see if he was, in fact, alone. This could have been the case of some kinky commercial sex gone wrong.

Beth said...

Sad and weird. I fail to understand the appeal of sex that can kill you.

Only slightly off-topic: while we think of the dead, have a few kind thoughts for Sam Butera. Now that's a man I'll miss!

Paul said...

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

ICON OF AN AMERICAN FILM DYNASTY
BY ANTONIO PINEDA

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.

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

Coffee Maker said...

he was Shane? will wonders never cease.