Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine dead in Bangkok

Actor David Carradine, who was in the midst of a career comeback after appearing in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, has died in Bangkok.

According to an item on The Nation website, police said Carradine was found in a hotel room in Bangkok on Wednesday. Further press reports have conflicting details.

Carradine was 72.

Aside from the two-part Kill Bill in 2003-04, Carradine was perhaps best known for his role as the fugitive half-Chinese Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970s eastern-western TV drama Kung Fu. He also portrayed folksinger Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory in 1976, acted in Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg in 1977 and co-starred with half brothers Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine in the 1980 western The Long Riders.

In Bangkok cinemas, he was recently seen as a martial-arts guru in the Rob Schneider comedy Big Stan and as a perverted elderly Chinese mobster in Crank: High Voltage.

Update: A more detailed report by The Nation says Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie and he was staying at the Nai Lert Park Hotel, where he had checked in on June 2.

Update 2: A BBC report, quoting the actor's personal manager, says Carradine was in Bangkok working on a movie called Stretch. Also, for blast back to the recent past, read this account of a Q&A session gone awry with Carradine and Haskell Wexler at a screening of Bound for Glory.

Update 3: Bangkok Post has a breaking news item. Celebrity website is on it, as well as New York Times and CNN.

Update 4: Bangkok newsman ThaiCam says on Twitter "BBC report UNCONFIRMED ... suicide UNLIKELY, per an interview with his longtime friend here." A comment here says: "From what I know about David Carradine both personally and through friends, it would seem to be highly unlikely that he committed suicide by hanging himself." A recent castmate of Carradine's says in an e-mail: "David was definitely full of life and energy, this is not good news."

Update 5: I teared up just a bit in reading Conan Stevens' recollection of working with David Carradine recently on Yuen Woo-ping's True Legend in China.

Update 6: Friday morning's Bangkok Post has a more detailed story, which backs away from the standard suicide claim -- routinely when a foreigner dies in Thailand, police attribute the cause to suicide, no matter how ridiculous that seems. A cord bound his hands and neck, there was a strange footprint on the bed and they are investigating whether his drink was tampered with (cache). The story says Carradine was working on a movie called Strand.

Update 7: It's now Friday afternoon, and updates are still coming in. Sydney Morning Herald and Associated Press say the death may be accidental. The Nation has an updated report too. Entertainment Weekly has a quote from his personal manager Chuck Binder:

"Knowing him, I can't imagine it was self-inflicted. I've worked with him for six years. There's no way. He was happy. It just doesn't make sense."

Update 8: It's Saturday night. I'm watching Kung Fu Season 1. But what's on the Internet? Comments on Yoon's blog. More speculation here. Tabloidy story on Fox News. Stretch producer Charles Gillibert tells TMZ Carradine still had scenes to film, so they are rewriting the script. IndieWire rounds up the tributes. Now back to Kung Fu and "King of the Mountain".

Update 9: Tuesday morning, early. Local newspaper Thai Rath has published a photo of the death scene, but Bangkok Bugle thinks it might be faked. Either way, I don't want to look. There's more speculation at Absolutely Bangkok and quality commentary at Movieline. Also, here's a view from inside Bangkok's Hollywood community.

Update 10: Wednesday afternoon. One more link. Tulsie writes about breaking the story.


  1. From what I know about David Carradine both personally and through freinds, it would seem to be highly unlikely that he committed suicide by hanging himself............

  2. hollywood shang hides bruce lee's chance at the perfect roll and hands it to carradine, for the kung fu series ,who is now found dead. Did we forget bruce died under questionable curcumstance,(ie reaction to a pain killer)yrs later his son brandon shot dead on a movie set by a "hollywood gun"..designed to shoot blanks? Come on people, old school martial arts tongs are deadly and never accepted the western interest in the science and the attention it has received, not to mention the darker secret sides of the actors who dabble in gambling,drugs,prostitution etc.the boy scouts don't run these rackets, not to say carradine was suspect but a person's private life is his own.

  3. so many Kung Fu fans (such as myself) wanted to grow up to be like David Carradine...


Please, no questions or comments about where to download movies or subtitle files.

Please read the FAQ about Thai films on DVD before asking about where to find a Thai movie on DVD with English subtitles.

Make your comments pertinent to the post you are commenting on. For off-topic comments, general observations or news tips, consider sending an e-mail to me at wisekwai [ a t ] g m a i l [d o t ] c o m.

All comments are moderated. Spam comments will be deleted.