David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine; December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009) was an American actor and martial artist best known for playing martial arts roles. He is perhaps best known as the star of the 1970s television series Kung Fu, playing Kwai Chang Caine, a peace-loving Shaolin monk travelling through the American Old West. He also portrayed the character Bill in both of the Kill Bill films.
David Carradine was a member of the Carradine family of actors that began with his father, John Carradine. The elder Carradine’s acting career, which included major and minor roles on stage and television, and in cinema, spanned more than four decades. A prolific “B” movie actor, David Carradine appeared in more than 100 feature films in a career spanning more than six decades. He received nominations for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his work on Kung Fu, and received three additional Golden Globe nominations for his performances in the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory (1976), the television miniseries North and South (1985), and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 2, for which he won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Throughout his life, Carradine was arrested and prosecuted for a variety of offenses, which often involved substance abuse. On June 3, 2009, he was found dead in a closet in his hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand, due to a fatal autoerotic asphyxiation accident.Films that featured Carradine continued to be released after his death. These posthumous credits were from a variety of genres including action, documentaries, drama, horror, martial arts, science fiction, and westerns. In addition to his acting career, Carradine was a director and musician. Moreover, influenced by his Kung Fu role, he studied martial arts. On April 1, 1997, Carradine received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.