Birthday: December 8, 1936 Birth
Place: Hollywood, California, USA Height: 6' 0"
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Though he has found success on stage, screen, and television, American actor David Carradine has developed a cult following for his work in two realms: for B-movie martial arts actioners and in television for the portrayal of Kwai Chang Caine, the peripatetic Chinese-American Shaolin priest and martial arts master in the innovative NBC series Kung Fu (1972-1975). David Carradine is the eldest son of veteran character actor John Carradine and was born and raised in Hollywood. With his limp, stringy hair, thick facial features, sad eyes, and rangy build, David is ideal for character roles, and he has proved himself equally adept at playing heroes and villains. His tendency for unpredictability and eccentricity are also traits he shares with his father. Before entering show business, Carradine graduated from San Francisco State University and then spent a few years as a transient laborer working around the country and performing as a folksinger/songwriter. At this time, Carradine experimented with psychedelic drugs. He made his film debut with a bit part in the Western Taggart (1964). In 1965, he appeared on Broadway in The Royal Hunt of the Sun and then was cast in the title role of the short-lived TV Western Shane. After that, he continued with his film career. During this time, Carradine was frequently cast as heartless villains in a number of Westerns. Adept at martial arts, Carradine was chosen over Bruce Lee to play Caine in Kung Fu, while Lee became the technical advisor. In film, Carradine and Barbara Hershey (whom he was living with at the time) appeared in Martin Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha (1972).In 1975, Carradine began a long association with producer Roger Corman, appearing as a racecar driver in such films as Paul Bartel's Death Race 2000 and Cannonball (1976). In 1976, Carradine also appeared in his most distinguished movie role in Hal Ashby's biography of folksinger Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory. Carradine's own talent for singing and guitar playing, coupled with his earlier taste of the hobo's life, made him well suited for playing Guthrie. But while the film won high praise from critics, it did poorly at the box office, and Carradine did not win too many more roles in major films. He did, however, offer a memorable turn as a Jewish trapeze artist in Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg (1977), in which Liv Ullman was his co-star. Over the next several years, Carradine mostly appeared in low-budget action films while continuing to appear on television and in theatrical productions such as Black Elk Speaks and Don Juan Speaks. In 1981, he made his debut as a screenwriter/director/producer with the feature film Americana, a low-key drama in which he plays a taciturn Vietnam veteran who heals himself and a troubled Midwestern town by refurbishing an old carousel. And in the early '90s, Carradine reprised his role of Kwai Chang Caine in the cable series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. After years of near-obscurity, performing in straight-to-video schlock and made-for-television movies, Carradine resurfaced in 2003 with the help of Quentin Tarantino, the same critically acclaimed filmmaker responsible for reviving the career of John Travolta. That year, Carradine briefly appeared in the titular role in Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 with Uma Thurman. He reprised the role of charming yet evil criminal boss Bill for Vol. 2 in 2004, this time with a much-expanded part. Upon the release of the second volume, Carradine received a great deal of positive critical notice for his impressive, commanding performance. His new-found success seemed to indicate that a career resurgence was on the horizon for the veteran actor. In addition to his starring work on several television series, Carradine has also done a good deal of guest-starring work on the small screen, including appearing on the popular spy drama Alias in 2003 and 2004, where he was once again able to demonstrate his martial arts skills. Carradine has also written two books, the philosophical Spirit of Shaolin and his autobiography, Endless Highway, and has made a pair of popular instructional videos, David Carradine's Tai Chi Workout and David Carradine's Kung Fu Workout. When not working, the actor enjoys painting, sculpting, and performing music. His most recent musical endeavor was writing and performing several songs for the 2003 film American Reel, in which he starred as struggling singer/songwriter James Lee Springer.
Son of John Carradine; half-brother of Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine and Michael Bowen, brother of Bruce Carradine.
Lived with Barbara Hershey. (She added Seagull to her name during this time.) They have a son whom they named Free Carradine at birth, but who has since changed his name to Tom Carradine. [1972-1975]
Convicted of drunk driving in October 1989. Served 48 hours in jail and did community service.
Has a lifelong fascination with Eastern philosphies and culture which resulted in him writing the book "Spirit Of The Shaolin" about the philosophy of Kung Fu.
Uncle of actresses Martha Plimpton and Ever Carradine.
Daughter: Calista Miranda Carradine (b. 1962).
Daughter: Kansas Carradine (b. 1978).
Began studying the Martial Arts after getting cast in "Kung Fu" (1972).
Studied drama at San Francisco State University.
September 2004: Was suppose to attended the Armaggeddon Pulp Culture Expo Convention in Wellington, New Zealand as a special "Kill Bill" guest but had to pull out at the last minute due to filming commitments.
To date, he is the only actor who has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Quentin Tarantino.
Because of his look, his stint on the TV series "Kung Fu" and his fascination with eastern philosophies, people often assume that he is at least part Asian. He is not.
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