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SAD NEWS – Martial Arts Legend Jim Kelly Dies

SAD NEWS - Martial Arts Legend Jim Kelly Dies

Yes I know it’s a real shocker.

I heard the news this morning and I didn’t believe it at first, but it is true. Martial arts film legend Jim Kelly died yesterday at the age of  67. The cause of death is as yet unknown.

His ex-wife Marilyn Dishman confirmed the news on Facebook.

I can go on and on about Kelly and what he meant to me and so many others who grew up watching his films, revelling in his talent, his grace and his undeniable swagger.  But actions speak louder than words.

So with that, here he is from Three The Hard Way (which I still consider the ultimate blaxploitation film) doing what he did best.

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Jimmy Spice Curry

Sad news, and sad that many people knew him but few people really gave him the love, respect he deserved.

Ray Elston

great films of Jim Kelley ! will watch more later . I also respect him as a martial artist and what he did . he will be missed by so many people . I really enjoyed him as an actor .

Carl Fernandes

Jim you are one of my few idols right up there with Bruce Lee. John Saxon and the Beatles (John, Paul, George and Ringo).

Enter the Dragon is what shaped me to think the way I do (at the age of 17 when I first saw the movie in 1977, not only because of the martial arts but mainly because of the philosophy in the dialog ) and makes me strive harder to achieve my goals.

May your soul rest in peace. I love you man. I know you are too busy looking good (and you are good looking, no need for that line).

Joseph Williams

Jim Kelly was a real inspiration to me when I was a young man. He helped to bolster my pride in being Black, Capable, and Fearless. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I truly appreciate what he stood for and I am well pleased to read such supportive comments from those who met and knew him. May the Lord comfort your family in their time of loss and that you Mr. Kelly may understand the Joy and Pride that you instilled in some many young Black men and women. Thank you. Your memory will be cherished.

Nezzie Shabazz

James Kelly is my cousin, family called him "Ikie” as a young boy. James loved his family and was so kind and caring. My mother Inez Taylor was married to his favorite uncle, James Taylor. Every summer we would travel from Columbus Ohio to Millersburg Ky. James and I had so much fun together especially pillow fighting". The Taylor family in the 50's and 60's were the only African Family living on Main Street in Millersburg. They lived in a two story white wood house with a porch as wide as the house. I remember James and I setting on that porch talking about our future goals. James wanted to travel the world, play pro sports and become rich. As we all know, he achieved all of his goals and much more."James is now in God's care"


The loss of another great African American pioneer. Jim Kelly wowed us all on the big screen and I will never forget his performance in "Enter the Dragon". Jim your screen presence will never be forgotten but, most definitely it will be missed greatly. ~Rest In Paradise~


Rest In Paradise Jim


So sad to hear a man that meant so much to so many people has passed on. Dreams of our Wedding will be put on hold for now. RIP.

Lady j

Jim Kelly was my Make believe boy friend when I was a very young girl!!!! But one day I had the pleasure to stand right next to him at a concert back stage in Houston TX… I could not say one word. He was in a Golden leather jacket and pants with a huge afro in place… That man was so handsome!!!

Andre Nieuwendam

"Mr Han Man, Suddenly, I'd like to leave your Island." I never understood why Jim Kelly was the underdog to what's his face in Enter the Dragon. It should have been him and Bruce Lee, and he should have KO'ed Bolo and him and Bruce should have fought back to back and saved the day. Jim Kelly and Julius Carey the Great "ShoNuff" were the greatest. He will be missed! Gone to soon and too young.

John Jones

When I was young Jim Kelly was one of my hero's . My two best friends who's last names were also Jones , and I would go to the movies and watch this man do his things . We used to call ourselves …Three The Hard Way " after the movie he was in with Jim Brown / Fred Williamson . But in Enter The Dragon he was so smooth , a real high light for sure . R.I.P. you will be missed .


Very sad news! Jim Kelly was a very good martial artist & all round nice guy. He was always incredibly respectful to Bruce Lee and always said he was the greatest martial artist ever (unlike some of the other Karate guys that knew Bruce Lee and disrespected him after he was gone or sugarcoated the insults). 'Black Belt Jones' is my favourite Jium Kelly movie, besides 'Enter The Dragon' of course.


Love him in Black Belt Jones. RIP.


He was my tennis instructor in Coronado. I have known him for several years. He was really a wonderful person, one of the coolest people I have ever met, and a tremendous athlete. Playing tennis with him or watching in him in tournaments was an absolute joy. I will miss him, as well as many other people who knew him will.

James Madison

Unreal. I was just talking about Jim Kelly and the cast of "Three The Hard Way" not too long ago.

RIP Grandmaster.


Oh my god. He was my friend when I living in San Diego. Lost touch with him after we moved from San Diego. It was funny the way we met. I used to work at this store called Jimbo;s in Rancho Bernardo in 2007. I saw this very familiar person shopping at this store – and when he came to my counter, I told him that he looks like someone I used to consider as my martial arts movie hero back in the '70's. He smiled and asked me who it was that reminded me of him. Then I told him that it was Jim Kelly – who acted in "Enter the Dragon" with Bruce Lee – and that as a teenager, I used to have his picture and Bruce Lee's picture on my bedroom wall amongst all other heroes. He spoke to me a while and then shook my hand said "well, I am in fact Jim Kelly"! From then on we became good friends. I am so sorry to hear of his demise. I was wanting to catch up with him sometime whenever I visited San Diego again. May his soul rest in peace!


Rest in Power Mr. Kelly. He was such an amazing man.

"I'll be too busy lookin' good!"

Joe Doughrity

RIP to a great Spiritual Soul Brother. He made it acceptable to want to do martial arts and appreciate things from other cultures in the 'hood. My whole childhood is going to see karate flicks and reading comics in Detroit. I'm beyond devastated but so appreciative to have met and thanked him for all his contributions to the pop-culture landscape. Just spoke with him at WonderCon in LA a few months ago (where I was wearing his face on a t-shirt at the time). God bless Jim Kelly. Without him I don't know if I would have had the courage to pursue so many things in my life that people said "weren't for Black folks." @joedfilmmaker

Terry jackson

Rip sifu Kelly…… We will miss u dearly……


Before Taimak, before Wesley Snipes, we had Jim Kelly. I always thought he should've been bigger in the movie industry but after he and others from the black exploitation era saved Hollywhite they kicked him to the curb.

He was a bad mofo


:( Jim was that dude!!! R.I.P.

Marlon T.

"Man you come right out of a comic book"….classic line i cant beleive he's gone!!!!!!

that dude

Iconic presence. Never duplicated. Bravely walked away from the game. Gone waaaay too soon.

Black Belt Jones

One of the coolest and likable brothers in film. R.I.P.


The Chinese had Bruce Lee but we had Jim Kelly. His name rang internationally. We'll miss your double fist bow and that Kee-yah! you screamed on the bad guys in your films… OY-EEEEEE!!!

RIP my brother RIP


Very sad, rest well Jim


The man was a true pioneer. First black man I ever witnessed performing martial arts on film. Made it look cool and sexy too! May God rest your soul Jim Kelly.

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