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Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok hotel

Thursday, June 4, 2009 | 2:17 p.m. CDT

BANGKOK — Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, has been found dead in the Thai capital, Bangkok. A news report said he was found hanged in his hotel room and was believed to have committed suicide.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation cited unidentified police sources as saying Carradine was found Thursday hanged in his luxury hotel room.

It said Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie and had been staying at the hotel since Tuesday.

The newspaper said Carradine could not be contacted after he failed to appear for a meal with the rest of the film crew on Wednesday and that his body was found by a hotel maid at 10 a.m. Thursday. The name of the movie was not immediately available.

It said a preliminary police investigation found that he had hanged himself with a cord used with the room's curtains. It cited police as saying he had been dead at least 12 hours and there was no sign that he had been assaulted.

A police officer at Bangkok's Lumpini precinct station would not confirm the identity of the dead man to The Associated Press, but said the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park hotel had reported that a male guest killed himself there.

Carradine was a leading member of a venerable Hollywood acting family that included his father, character actor John Carradine and brother Keith.

According to people.com, Carradine got his first big break as an actor in 1965. He landed the role of an Inca king in the Broadway play "The Royal Hunt of the Sun," after spending years as a struggling student of music and ballet at San Francisco State. Carradine would go on to land many more roles after that.

In all, he appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby.

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.

He reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine's grandson in the 1990s syndicated series "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues."

Carradine was nominated as Best Actor for his portrayal of folksinger Woody Guthrie in the 1976 movie named "Bound for Glory."

In recent years, he captured audiences while playing the title character in Quentin Tarantino's two-part saga "Kill Bill."

Carradine is survived by his wife, Anne Bierman, whom he married in 2004, and seven stepbrothers and half brothers.


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr June 4, 2009 | 3:09 p.m.

R.I.P. and such a great loss for us all who loved his acting and movies.

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