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David Carradine

January 3, 2012

without any martial arts training – “…Not Asian martial arts, no. I had done a tiny little bit of middleweight boxing and I had done a lot of western movies where you throw punches and stuff. I was a gymnast, almost an acrobat, and a dancer, and I’m a marksman and a fencer, I’ve done 11 Shakespeare plays and you’ve got to be able to fence to do that, and those are all martial arts. But when I took the part, that really wasn’t an issue. They asked me what I was going to do about that and I said “Whatever happened to stunt men?” Then, as I was walking out, I threw a kick to the top of the door. I left a bare foot print over the top of the door which stayed there for the whole series. I think that’s what got me the part, the fact that without any martial arts training I could definitely pull this off, I could do the choreography. And then I got serious about it. I started studying it and I’m still into it. I train and I write books on the subject. The other DVDs of mine that are being released right now are instructional videos in Tai Chi and Chi Kung. And I do a seminar once in a while. I’m still in it very deeply. I haven’t really had a career of doing martial arts films. I’ve done a couple of them and I’ve done a certain amount of martial arts in other action films, but I haven’t really had a career like that, at all. I could have, but I’m an actor. Martial arts is something that has fascinated me and I cant seem to walk away from it, but it’s not my main thing. I’m probably the only actor martial artist. All the rest of them are martial artist actors. They all became martial artists and then decided they could use that to become actors, and I’m probably the only one of all those people that came to it as an actor…” (Interview – David Carradine)

vengeful rampage – “…But he was best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest traveling the 1800s American frontier West in the TV series “Kung Fu,” which aired in 1972-75. “I wasn’t like a TV star in those days, I was like a rock ’n’ roll star,” Carradine said in an interview with Associated Press Radio in 1996. “It was a phenomenon kind of thing. … It was very special.” Actor Rainn Wilson, star of TV’s “The Office,” tweeted about Carradine’s death on Twitter: “R.I.P. David Carradine. You were a true hero to so many of us children of the 70s. We’ll miss you, Kwai Chang Caine.” Carradine reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine’s grandson in the 1990s syndicated series “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.” He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s two-part saga “Kill Bill.” Bill, the worldly father figure of a pack of crack assassins, was a shadowy presence in 2003’s “Kill Bill — Vol. 1.” In that film, one of Bill’s former assassins (Uma Thurman) begins a vengeful rampage against her old associates, including Bill. In “Kill Bill — Vol. 2,” released in 2004, Thurman’s character catches up to Bill. The role brought Carradine a Golden Globe nomination as best supporting actor. Bill was a complete contrast to Caine, the soft-spoken refugee from a Shaolin monastery, serenely spreading wisdom and battling bad guys in the Old West. He left after three seasons, saying the show had started to repeat itself. “David’s always been kind of a seeker of knowledge and of wisdom in his own inimitable way,” his brother, actor Keith Carradine, said in a 1995 interview…” (David Carradine found dead in Thailand hotel)

unnerving sense of calm – “…The fact that Carradine has brought up Zen philosophy is interesting in and of itself. Not because of his classic stint as the metaphysically-minded Kane from 1972 until 1975, but more because many of the villains that he’s portrayed in film over the years have been instilled with an unnerving sense of calm. Carradine’s baddies are not maniacally crazed individuals, but rather reserved and introspective, bequeathed with an eerie sense of serenity which ultimately makes them not only creepy, but more resolutely evil, more menacing. “Have you ever met one of those?” he queries about the maniacal, crazed villain. “I mean serial killers tend to be [normal]. Some of the most villainous people that we’ve ever heard of are sophisticated and charming, you know? I mean, take a guy like Hitler. How the hell could he talk millions of people into taking his terrible, horrible, horrendous trip. There must have been a lot of charisma there. And considering that he was a funny, ugly lookin’ little guy, how the f@#k did he do that? When I started playing villains I thought, ‘Villains don’t think they’re villains. They think they’re good guys.’ So I figured, ‘let the story take care of that part.’ It will be obvious in the story this guy is bad. He’s gonna do something, he’s gonna slit some girl’s throat or shoot some guy down or cheat somebody at cards or whatever. So he’ll do that. But in the meantime, if he’s trying to be charming, which they all do, you know, the used car salesman [that’s trying to win you over]. And I thought, ‘That’s the way to go.’ And it seems to work…” (IGN Interviews David Carradine)

David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine; December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009) was an American character actor and martial artist, best known for his role as a warrior monk, Kwai Chang Caine, in the 1970s television series, Kung Fu which later had a 1990s sequel series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. He was a member of a productive acting family dynasty that began with his father, John Carradine. His acting career, which included major and minor roles on stage, television and cinema, spanned over four decades. A prolific “B” movie actor, he appeared in more than 100 feature films and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award. The last nomination was for his title role in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Film projects that featured Carradine continued to be released long after his death. These posthumous credits were from a variety of genres including horror, action, western, martial arts, drama, science fiction and documentary. In addition to his acting career, Carradine was also a musician and pursued a directing career. Influenced by his most popular acting role, he studied martial arts. The child of a frequently married actor, “Jack”, as Carradine was known in his youth, had an unstable childhood. This instability would continue throughout his life as he himself was married several times. He was also frequently arrested and prosecuted for a variety of offenses which often involved substance abuse. He died in June 2009 under unusual circumstances (Wikepedia).


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