David Carradine found dead, June 4, 2009

1936-2009

David Carradine was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room at the age of 72. Media reports indicate that the veteran actor committed suicide, but circumstances remain murky.

Thai police said they found Carradine's naked body hanging in a closet and that investigators suspect it was suicide. Carradine's personal manager, Chuck Binder, told KABC-TV, Los Angeles, that the actor died of natural causes.

Tiffany Smith, another one of Carradine's managers, said that the Hollywood icon was not the kind to kill himself.

"I can tell you 100 percent that he would have never committed suicide," Tiffany Smith, told People.com. "He was too full of life."

"We are not saying it's an accidental death because we don't know," Smith says. "Right now we are just letting everyone know that it's under investigation and we'll see ... I just know he didn't do this to himself."

David Carradine was born in Hollywood and educated at San Francisco State College, where he studied music theory and composition. It was while writing music for the Drama Department's annual revues that he discovered his own passion for the stage, joining a Shakespearean repertory company and learning his craft on his feet.

After a two-year stint in the army, he found work in New York as a commercial artist and later found fame on Broadway in "The Deputy" and "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" opposite Christopher Plummer. With that experience he returned to Hollywood, landing the short-lived TV series "Shane" (1966) before being tapped to star opposite Barbara Hershey in Martin Scorsese's first Hollywood film, Boxcar Bertha (1972). The iconic "Kung Fu" (1972) followed, catapulting Carradine to superstardom for the next three years, until he left the series to pursue his film career.

His career includes more than 100 feature films, a couple of dozen television movies, a whole range of theater on and off Broadway, and another hit series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1992) (TV). Carradine received the Best Actor Award from the National Board of Film Review as well as a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Woody Guthrie in Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory (1976), and won critical acclaim for his work as Cole Younger in The Long Riders (1980). "Kung Fu" also received seven Emmy nominations in its first season, including one for Carradine as Best Actor. In addition he won the People's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival's "Director's Fortnight" for his work on Americana (1983), and a second Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role in "North and South" (1985).

Among his other most notable film credits are Gray Lady Down (1978), Mean Streets (1973), Bird on a Wire (1990), The Long Goodbye (1973), The Serpent's Egg (1977) and Circle of Iron (1978).

He recently returned to the screen in what could be his greatest performance to date, playing the title role in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) (Miramax), for which he received his fourth Golden Globe nomination.

Carradine had also continued his devotion to music, and had recorded some 60 tracks from various musical genres and sung in several movies.


There is no reason to believe that David Carradine took his own life.

Both of his hands were bound with a cord which was also tied around his neck, said an officer at the station who requested anonymity.

Forensic experts said Carradine had probably died between 12 and 24 hours before his body was found.

They said there were no injury marks on his body and no evidence of a struggle having taken place in the room. Mysteriously, a footprint found on the bed did not match the shoes worn by Carradine.

There was a glass of water in the room. Experts were checking to see if the drink had been tampered with.


 

 
 
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