David Carradine became a TV icon in the early 1970s starring as an enigmatic Buddhist monk with a flair for martial arts in "Kung Fu" and more recently played the head of a group of assassins in the "Kill Bill" movies.
The son of noted character actor John Carradine, David Carradine appeared in more than 100 films, including Ingmar Bergman's "The Serpent's Egg" (1977). He also played folk singer Woody Guthrie in Hal Ashby's "Bound for Glory" (1976) and appeared with his brothers Keith and Robert in the 1980 western "The Long Riders."
Carradine, however, remained best known for “Kung Fu,” which ran on ABC from 1972 to 1975. The hourlong series featured Carradine as the shaven-headed Kwai Chang Caine, the orphaned son of an American man and a Chinese woman who had been trained in a Shaolin monastery, where his blind mentor, Master Po, called his young student "Grasshopper."
A self-described Hollywood outsider, Carradine early on had a reputation for being what an Associated Press writer in 2004 described as "a quick-to-anger actor and hard-drinking partier." But he reportedly gave up drinking in 1996 and candidly discussed his past drinking and drug use, primarily involving what Carradine described as "a lot of psychotropic drugs."
Although he knew little about martial arts when he starred as Caine, Carradine later studied the techniques and philosophy and made a number of instructional videos.
He was found hanged in a luxury hotel suite in Bangkok at the age of 72.