David Carradine, who died on Wednesday, was a sly, devilish, and at times downright freaky movie presence who, when he appeared on screen, automatically made matters twice as interesting. This is just as well given that the actor liked to work and his filmography is littered with the likes of Waxwork II and Children of the Corn V. But Carradine’s dramatic skills were recognized by such directors as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Hal Ashby, who cast him in, respectively, 1972’s Boxcar Bertha, 1973’s The Long Goodbye, and 1976’s Bound for Glory. He was also beloved by Quentin Tarantino. The Reservoir Dogs auteur referenced Carradine’s TV show Kung Fu in Pulp Fiction and later cast the actor as the eponymous villain-assassin in his Kill Bill films.
Personally, I grew up believing David Carradine to be pretty much the coolest guy in show business, thanks to his starring role in the mayhem-filled Kung Fu. Many years later, I actually had the chance to interview him and found Carradine to be every bit as entertainingly colorful as his reputation would suggest, although perhaps this isn’t the time to go into details. Those who do want to know more (much more) about the actor should check out his autobiography Endless Highway. But I leave you with Carradine ominously lecturing Uma Thurman on differences between Superman and Spider-Man in Kill Bill 2.