US actor Carradine found hanged in Thai hotel

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 4, 2009 at 4:10 PM EDT

US actor David Carradine, star of 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" and the "Kill Bill" movies, was found hanged in a Bangkok hotel room Thursday in what Thai police said was a possible suicide. He was 72.

The US embassy in the Thai capital confirmed the death of Carradine, who was in Thailand to shoot a film called "Stretch".

"He was found in his hotel room in Bangkok but the cause of death has not yet been established," an embassy official told AFP.

Police said Carradine's body was found around 11:30 am (0430 GMT) hanging by his neck in the closet of his hotel room. Local media said a maid found the actor "half-naked".

"We suspect that he committed suicide by hanging himself," local police officer Pirom Janthapirom told AFP, adding that security cameras showed no one else going in or out of Carradine's room.

"There is no trace of fighting in the hotel room and the room was locked from inside," he said, adding there was no sign of bruising on the deceased's body.

"We are investigating from where he got the rope because it does not seem it was from the hotel", and all of the actor's personal belongings "were intact", Pirom said.

The producer of "Stretch", French firm MK2, said Carradine was found at the Nai Lert Park hotel three days before the end of filming for the movie. A spokesman for the company said Carradine's death "could be accidental".

A spokeswoman for Carradine's Los Angeles agents said the "circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown."

"The Carradine family is devastated by the news of David?s passing," said Julie Nathanson. "There will be no further comment until more information can be confirmed."

Carradine's manager, Chuck Binder, paid tribute to the actor, telling the BBC: "He was full of life, always wanting to work... a great person."

Carradine was the son of prominent actor John Carradine and part of an acting family that includes brothers Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine.

He was born on December 8, 1936, during Hollywood's "Golden Age" of cinema, though he first entered showbusiness through musical theatre on New York's Broadway.

While best known for his role as the fugitive half-Chinese Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970s TV drama "Kung Fu", Carradine had a long a varied career in film.

He appeared in Martin Scorsese's "Boxcar Bertha" in 1972, and played legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie in the 1976 film "Bound for Glory", which gained him a Golden Globe nomination.

The following year, director Ingmar Bergman called on Carradine to play a wandering out-of-work American Jew in poverty-struck Weimar Germany, for the movie "The Serpent's Egg."

Swedish master Bergman was said to have entrusted Carradine to take the role for his commanding physical presence, recalling that of his father.

In the following two decades Carradine continued to work, but failed to find success outside of cult "B movies," as he was beset by the use of drugs and alcohol.

In the mid-1990s, he reprised the role as Kwai Chang Caine in "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," which found home on US TV for a further 60 episodes.

A huge fan of his B movie work during the 1980s and 1990s, director Quentin Tarantino called on Carradine to play the title character in the 2002-2003 revenge-action-epic "Kill Bill" and "Kill Bill II."

Carradine's work on the movies earned him a fourth Golden Globe "Best Actor" nomination.

Married five times, most recently in 2004, and the father of two daughters, Carradine was still working at the time of his death.




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