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One year ago: David Carradine

Carradine

Continuing our new feature of revisiting obituaries from a year ago, today we reflect on David Carradine, the American actor known for his roles in martial arts movies who died one year ago today, on June 4, 2009. His death, though originally thought to be suicide, was later concluded to be the result of accidental asphyxiation during an "auto erotic sex game," though rumors still circulate.

Carradine gained fame in the 1970s as a Buddhist monk in the television series "Kung Fu" and more recently played the head of a group of assassins in the "Kill Bill" movies. He mostly appeared in small independent films the last two decades of his career.

The actor, by his own admission, led a troubled life. Aside from his confessed heavy drug use, in a 2004 interview with the Baltimore Sun while promoting "Kill Bill: Vol. 2," he said: "I've never been satisfied about anything in my entire life. I'm on Social Security, I've got my pension, and the fact remains that I'm still trying to make a name for myself."

But in 2004, Stacy Keach, who co-starred with Carradine in "The Long Riders" and "Gray Lady Down," told the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., this about his longtime friend:

"He's been undervalued as an actor.... "David is a real practitioner in details, nuance, which is where great art lives. He has a reservoir of imagination and a totally unique point of view about everything."

Read the full Times obituary of David Carradine here.

-- Michael Farr  

Photo: David Carradine in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Vol. 2." Credit: Miramax Films

 
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