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Closing Credits: David Carradine

DavidCarradine.jpgDavid Carradine, best known for his appearance in Kill Bill and his long running television show Kung Fu, has died aged seventy-two. He was filming in Thailand on a film called Stretch.

His film career is long and varied, although he's never really had the higher end exposure that came from his Kill Bill role which resulted in a few nominations including for supporting actor at the Golden Globes.

David Carradine has appeared in over two hundred and twenty television shows and films in his career and has some seven films in various stages of post-production, some of the films come from such prominent directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and popular names such as Quentin Tarantino. He also directed a number of films, You and Me, Mata Hari and Americana.

The first role that really propelled him to fame was as Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu, a pilot for a television series back in 1972 that proved so successful the series ran until 1975 through forty-six episodes.

Straight after the series finished he appeared as Frankenstein in the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 alongside Sylvester Stallone. That was an iconic role that heard him return to voice the character in the 2008 sequel.

I also remember him from the 1976 film Cannonball!, a film that came out at the same time as The Gumball Rally and was undoubtedly inspirational for the hugely successful comedy The Cannonball Run.

Kung Fu was not to leave him though and the series was a big influence on the type of roles he continued to receive throughout his career, and in 1986 he returned to the character and made a television film of Kung Fu: The Movie. He returned to the character once again to bring a new series to life with Kung Fu: The Legend Continues in 1992, and another television film Kung Fu Killer in 2008.

There continued to be talk in recent years of another Kung Fu film or series, but nothing happened. Instead he was brought into the camp of Quentin Tarantino who gave him a starring role in the Kill Bill films as the titular character, Bill.

The BBC have a great quote of him speaking of the role and showing his love for the film and the character:

"For the first time for a large audience, I'm not doing an accent or a funny walk or pretending to be somebody else. It was written, really, around me."

He received a lot of acclaim for that role and rightly so, and a lot of commentary speculated on where his career might lead from here. However that was not meant to be, and while he was in more demand, he never really got the break his performance in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 deserved.

However his sheer volume of work and his appearance in a few key cult films ensures he will be remembered in cinematic history, and his strong performance in Kill Bill may well become the most memorable moment of his career.

Carradine comes from an acting family with his father John and brother Keith, as well as a host of other actors in the family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

"I'm the man" - Bill, Kill Bill: Vol. 2

David Carradine



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