Kill Bill and Kung Fu star David Carradine, a seemingly tireless actor who moved easily between somber martial arts, action thrillers, and serious dramatic roles, was found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok, his manager's office said Thursday. Carradine was 73.
The cause of death was under investigation, according to the office of his manager, Chuck Binder. A Thai newspaper said police believed he committed suicide.
Carradine, who was reportedly working on a film in Bangkok, was the product of an acting family that included father John Carradine, brother Bruce Carradine, and half brothers Keith and Robert Carradine. He was the uncle of actresses Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton.
Though he became best known for martial arts roles, Carradine rose to fame in Westerns. He was featured in the 1964 film Taggart, and then in the 1966 series Shane.
Kung Fu, which ran from 1972 to 1975, combined both genres. Carradine's character, Kwai Chang Caine, was the son of an American man and Chinese woman who roamed the Old West in search of his brother. Carradine shared the role with his own younger brother, Keith Carradine, who played Caine in his younger years. David Carradine was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for the role, to which he returned in two TV movies and a mid '90s series, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Although he appeared in more than his share of pulpy action thrillers, from 1975's Death Race 2000 to this year's Crank 2: High Voltage, he also appeared in the 1970s in several critically lauded films: Martin Scorsese's Box Car Bertha, Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg, and Bound for Glory, in which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of folk icon Woody Guthrie.
The role that best unified the threads of his career was the one in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, in which Carradine played the titular character, the brilliant and introspective leader of a team of assassins. The wide-ranging films detail the long quest by The Bride (Uma Thurman) to kill her one-time mentor.