Sunday, June 7, 2009

David Carradine Biography

John Arthur Carradine
Born: John Arthur Carradine December 8, 1936(1936-12-08)
Hollywood, California, USA
Died: June 3, 2009 (aged 72) Bangkok, Thailand
Occupation: actor, producer, director
Years active: 1963–2009
Spouse(s): Donna Lee Becht (1960–1968), Linda Gilbert (1977–1983), Gail Jensen (1988–1997), Marina Anderson (1998–2001), Annie Bierman (2004–2009)
Domestic: Barbara Hershey
partner(s): (1972-1975)

David Carradine (December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009), born John Arthur Carradine, was an American actor best known for his work in the 1970s television series Kung Fu and more recently in the Kill Bill films. He appeared in more than 100 feature films and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award.

Carradine was born in Hollywood, California, the son of Ardanelle Abigail (née McCool; 1911-1989) and noted American actor John Carradine. He was the half-brother of Bruce, Keith and Robert Carradine, as well as the uncle of Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton. Carradine had Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, German, Spanish, Italian, Ukrainian and Cherokee ancestry. Carradine attended Oakland Junior College and later studied drama at San Francisco State College before working as an actor on stage and in television and cinema. He changed his given name to David after starting his career.

Early roles included a gunslinger in the film Taggart, a 1964 western based on a novel by Louis L'Amour. He starred on the Broadway stage in The Royal Hunt of the Sun and won a Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance in 1965. Moving to TV, he played the title role in Shane, a 1966 series based upon the 1949 novel of the same name. In 1972, he starred as 'Big' Bill Shelly in Martin Scorsese's film Boxcar Bertha, costarring Barbara Hershey.

1970: Carradine starred as Kwai Chang Caine on the hit TV series Kung Fu (1972–1975). He earned critical praise as folksinger Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory (1976). He played Abel Rosenberg in Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg (1977).

1980: In 1983, he narrated the PBS anthropology series "Faces of Culture". He appeared in a supporting role in North and South, a miniseries about the American Civil War with a large cast that included Patrick Swayze in a leading role. It was telecast in six parts in November 1985, and spawned two sequel miniseries. Carradine also appeared in North and South, Book II, telecast in six parts in May 1986.

1990: Early in the decade, he was a spokesperson for Lipton ("This ain't no sippin' tea") in a memorable TV ad where he paid homage not only to Kung Fu but also The Three Stooges. He returned to series TV in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993–97) as the grandson of his original character. In 1999, he portrayed Tempus, a powerful demon with the ability to manipulate time, on the series Charmed.

2000: In 2001, he appeared in an episode of the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire (on which his brother Robert was a regular performer). Also in 2001, he provided the voice for Lo Pei, the ancient warrior responsible for Shendu's petrification on the animated series Jackie Chan Adventures. In 2002, Carradine voiced a character on King of the Hill in the episode Returning Japanese, portraying Hank's Japanese half-brother. In 2003, he appeared as Conrad on the series Alias.
In 2003, he produced and starred in several instructional videos on the martial arts of Tai chi and Qi Gong. These made him a natural as the title character in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films, Vol. 1 (2003) and Vol. 2 (2004).

In 2005, he took over hosting duties from his brother Keith on Wild West Tech on the History Channel. On two episodes of the animated series Danny Phantom (2005-2006), he provided the voice for "Clockwork", a supernatural being with the power to control time (similar to his 1999 role on Charmed). In 2006, he became the spokesman for Yellowbook, a publisher of independent telephone directories in the United States.

Carradine also appeared in the music video for "Minus You" by the Southern California band Chapel of Thieves, which was co-directed by YouTube personality Boh3m3. He also worked with the Jonas Brothers in their video Burnin' Up, playing a Kung Fu master, and planned to work with Miley Cyrus. In 2009, he played a 100-year-old Chinese gangster in Crank: High Voltage.

Carradine had a son, Free (b. 1972; name since changed to Tom) with Barbara Hershey, his domestic partner from 1972 to 1975.

Carradine was married five times. He had a daughter Calista (b. 1962) by first wife Donna, and a daughter Kansas (b. 1978) by second wife Linda. He had three other daughters—Amanda, Madeline and Olivia—and another son, Max.

Each of Carradine's first four marriages ended in divorce. On December 26, 2004, he married Annie at the seaside Malibu home of his friend, Michael Madsen. Vicki Roberts, his attorney and longtime friend of his wife, performed the ceremony.

Death: On June 4, 2009, Carradine was found dead in his room at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road, near Sukhumvit, in central Bangkok, Thailand. A police official said Carradine was found hanging by a rope in the room's closet, and the Bangkok Post reported that his body was found curled up in the wardrobe with a shoelace tied around his genitals and neck. Also, the same officer said: "Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide but he may have died from masturbation."

Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand, a Thai forensic pathologist and Director of Central Institute of Forensic Science, stated the incident met four of the criteria for accidental death involving autoerotic asphyxiation. Police Lieutenant General Worapong Chewprecha, Commander of the Metropolitan Police, remarked that the closed circuit television installed within the hotel supported the theory that no other persons were involved with the death. Carradine's representative and family members told the press that they believed the death to be accidental and not a suicide. However it has also been reported that Carradine was found "with his hands tied behind his back." Chuck Binder, Carradine's manager, indicated neither suicide nor accident was the likely cause since "the family has been told Carradine's hands were immobilized (behind his back) by the rope."

Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot his latest movie, Stretch, and had been known to join the film crew for dinner. The crew noticed his absence when going out to dinner on June 3, but assumed he was simply taking the night off.

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