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David Carradine, R.I.P.

By admin Published: June 4, 2009

The "Kung Fu" star was found dead, although reports have varied about whether it was suicide or a bizarre accident. Either way, the man is gone. He leaves behind a career of some accomplishment -- "Kung Fu," "Kill Bill," "Bound For Glory."

But there was also a lot of weirdness, including "Boxcar Bertha," one of Martin Scorsese's early films, where Carradine was effective as a union organizer -- but the movie became more famous for the sex scenes with Carradine and Barbara Hershey, which were reportedly the real deal between the off-camera couple. There were also roles that looked to be grabs at an easy paycheck. In that respect, his career bore some resemblance to that of his father, John, often did righteous work but also did a lot of nonsense -- and parodies of the nonsense, such as his performance in Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex."

Though his half-brothers Keith and Robert are both good actors -- and Keith has had a distinguished career -- David had an eerie charisma that made him interesting to watch. I remember him fondly as a flashy villain in Chuck Norris's "Lone Wolf McQuade." But the attention Carradine could draw made it all the more disappointing when he chose unchallenging projects (the dreadful "Kung Fu Killer" movies come to mind) or phoned in his performance. He was sometimes very good, and he could have done more, and better.

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