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by Peter Knegt
June 8, 2009 5:59 AM
7 Comments
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Rumors and Conspiracy Theories Surround Carradine Death

David Carradine on the set of "Kill Bill, Vol.1" with director Quentin Tarantino. Image courtesy of Miramax Films.

Following reports Thursday that actor David Carradine had tragically committed suicide in his Bangkok hotel room, Thai police are now questioning their initial theory. The Associated Press is reporting that Carradine, found in a hotel room closet with a rope tied to his neck and genitals, might have died of accidental suffocation. There was no suicide note, and Pornthip Rojanasunand, director of Thailand's Central Institute of Forensic Science, said it's possible Carradine died attempting auto-erotic asphyxiation, which entails cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

AP interviewed Tiffany Smith, one of Carradine's managers, who said: "All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide. We're just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give ... and that's not something David would ever do to himself."

However, while police say they have ruled out foul play after interviewing hotel staff and reviewing surveillance footage of the corridors near Carradine’s room, many are suggesting otherwise. The Associated Press has reported the family of the actor have asked the F.B.I. and Dr. Michael Baden, a private forensics expert, to help investigate Mr. Carradine’s death. The family was upset over the weekend after learning that photos of Mr. Carradine’s body were published in a Thai newspaper. Additionally, the photo implicates a second party, as TMZ says it has a higher resolution copy of the photo, noting that fishnet stockings cover his body, and that you can also see red women's lingerie on the bed. Movieline's S.T. Van Airsdale sums up the speculation thoroughly here.

Thai police said today that they would "welcome the FBI's assistance," but only "as observers in the high-profile case." Thai police completed an autopsy on Carradine Friday, and results will not be ready "for at least three weeks because the cause of death was unclear."

Carradine was born John Arthur Carradine on Dec. 8, 1936, in Hollywood, California. His father was part of director John Ford’s company of character actors. His mother was the former Ardanelle McCool, the first of his father’s four wives. Carradine is survived by his wife, Annie Bierman, and four children. He was well-known for his work as Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970s television series "Kung Fu" (which spawned sequels in the 1980s and 1990s, in which he also starred), and starred in over 200 films and television series, including work for directors Martin Scorcese (playing 'Big' Bill Shelly in 1972's "Boxcar Bertha"), Ingmar Bergman (playing Abel Rosenberg in 1977's "The Serpent's Egg"), and Hal Ashby (playing Woody Guthrie in 1976's "Bound for Glory," in which he won a National Board of Review award for best actor, and was nominated for a Golden Globe). Recently, he found a significant career resurgence playing "Bill" in Quentin Tarantino's two-part "Kill Bill" films, and can be seen on the film festival circuit right now in David Lee Miller's well-received "My Suicide."

Memorials have been pouring in: Bruce Weber offers an extensive obituary at The New York Times; The Guardian's Xan Brooks has a "life in clips" memorial on his blog; The House Next Door has created a forum for people to share their thoughts and remembrances; Cinematical's Peter Martin takes a look at Carradine's lesser known works; Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collis said Carradine "was a sly, devilish, and at times downright freaky movie presence"; CHUD's David Oliver wrote of the actor: "In a staggering career that ranged from the 1966 TV series Shane, to the iconic Kung Fu in the 1970s, to Death Race 2000, all the way to Kill Bill, Carradine is a man who seemingly did it all on film, for all the good and bad that that entailed"; While Living In Cinema's Craig Kennedy emphasizes that while "speculation as to the circumstances and cause of his death are spreading around the Internet," the "only important fact is that Caine walks the earth no more."


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7 Comments

  • Sablicious | June 18, 2011 3:11 AMReply

    He was auto erotically asphyxiating himself, jerking off with a ladyboy, and his 72 year-old ticky-ticker gave out.

    So what if BKK PD covered it up to look like it was a solitary act? Whoever he was with likely had dick-all to do with his death other than to partake in a dubious act Carradine himself almost certainly solicited. As if they'd rob a guy in an upmarket hotel when they were likely getting a years equivalent wage for partying with the Qui Chang. It didn't happen on a Pattaya beach, FFS!

    The point is, why turn it into a tourist industry nightmare for the sake of humoring his eccentric family and their delusions of a secret kung fu mafia plot...? (lol)
    We all know the media would have had a field day and ended up making The Land of Smiles seem like a tourist death trap... Which we all know is not the case.

    It's a simple open and shut case of a guy trying to eek out the last vestiges of sexuality from his dwindling life and mistaking his libido for his VO2 level. In fact, rather than his post Kill Bill success further casting aspersions over his demise, it in fact cements the idea that the guy was having the time of his life and happened to die with a smile on his face.

    They say masturbation can send you blind. That maybe bullshit, but (at least in a 72 year-olds case) it CAN kill you!

    Case closed.

  • magickpapers | June 19, 2009 3:50 AMReply

    Meanwhile back in the Big Mango, inside the belly of the beast, I recieve a phone call from award winning author cum investigative journalist, Mark Ebner. He has found me via my invaluable blogmeister and social media rockstar from Austin Texas, Paul Terry Walhus. Maxim magazine has dispatched Ebner to Bangkok to investigate the Carradine affair. I arrange for a summit meeting with David Winters and Gary Stretch.

    Ebner arrives at Winters penthouse office. He and I exchange books. I receive Six Degrees of Paris Hilton, which has just been optioned by 20th Century Fox TV, in exchange for my novel, The Magick Papers. David Winters and Gary Stretch are going over the script for their next film project, The Warrior King, to be shot on locations like Bulgaria and Thailand. We exchange pleasantries. Mark Ebner inquires about the career of Jan Michael Vincent, whom he considered to be the next James Dean.

    Winters reveals that Vincent worked on a film with him. Jan Michael had a son whom he encouraged to be a stuntman. His son died in a horrific on set accident. Jan Michael succumbed to the demon rum. David had to post a sentry outside his hotel room, to prevent Vincent from sneaking into town at night to drink himself to death. Gary Stretch, fresh from Cannes and the success of his film, The Heavy, graciously acquiesces to show us two gold WBC championship belts, which he received as former WBC middleweight boxing champion. The Heavy also stars the evergreen 87 year old film icon, Christopher Lee. Oscar winner Stephen Rea, Vinnie Jones, and Lee Ryan of the pop group, Blue, round out the cast.

    more at http://magickpapers.com/blog/

  • larry-411 | June 9, 2009 6:49 AMReply

    Thanks Peter! You're the best.

  • magickpapers | June 8, 2009 10:23 AMReply

    The bomb. Today http://magickpapers.com/blog releases the inside story from film maker David Winters in Bangkok who knew Carradine best and who says "this may get me killed". An excerpt.

    David Carradine was murdered and there is a cover up over here in Bangkok. It was probably done by a ladyboy, either on purpose or accidentaly. The ladyboy would be strong enough and big enough to pick him up and place him in the closet. I want to see the tapes from the hotel"s cameras. Please try to get your hands on them and check them out as they may have been tampered with already.

    I think the police and the hotel are both involved.

    David would never kill himself �. for sure �. he was happily working and that was all he wanted in life � he was on a roll as Chuck and Tiffany his managers say. He had many more films to make and money was rolling in.

    the rest at http://magickpapers.com/blog

  • Peter Knegt | June 8, 2009 9:27 AMReply

    all good now. sorry about that.

  • larry-411 | June 8, 2009 8:13 AMReply

    Your link "sums up the speculation throughly here" is invalid.

  • magickpapers | June 6, 2009 1:42 AMReply

    I’m a Bangkok blogger at the hotel where Carradine died. My blog is http://magickpapers.com/blog/

    The announcer for the BBC breaks the story on TV. David Carradine was found dead in the Swiss Hotel on Soi Nailert. The film star was found in the closet of his room bound by curtain rope around his neck, and the inference is that his genitals were bound as well. The news ran through the Bangkok film colony like a forest fire.

    I consult investigative journalist David Walker. He is also a screenwriter and author of the cult classic book, Hello My Big Big Honey. Walker is at the hotel. He has already led a CBS crew to legendary film producer-director David Winters penthouse office. Winters is a dear friend of Carradine from their glory days in Hollywood. Walker wants to see the surveilance tapes. No chance Bagger Vance. Dr. Pornthip, a colorful Thai forensic scientist is on the scene at the hotel. Walker says Pornthip, who is famous for sporting many hued punk hair styles and is a bit of a celebrity,delares the case to be death by auto sexual strangulation.

    I roll up to Winters penthouse office. He is devastated by the tragic loss of a dear friend. He has not slept. CBS and People Magazine have already come by to solicit intelligence. David is shocked by the tawdry inferrences. He has spoken to 3 of Carradines agents. The agents declare that Carradine was on the roll of a lifetime. Quentin Tarantino redefined the 72 year old actor in Kill Bill. Carradine recieved a Golden Globe nomination for his work with Tarantino. The actor of the classic cult TV series Kung Fu had starred in 13 motion pictures since Kill Bill. His salary was in the stratosphere.

    The strange circumstances of the verdict by auto- sexual strangulation trouble Winters. It takes two to tango. Why indeed would a man of his talent take his own life alone. Bangkok is known as a city with love for sale. Film people come here to shoot and avail themselves of the pleasures to be found in the gilded city of sin. Kinky sex is no big deal. Could this be a coverup for a sex robbery murder. The Royal Thai Police have shut the door on this case all too quickly. The tourist industry has been severely damaged by the recession and political instability. The murder of a famous film star would be a final nail in the coffin of the tourism industry. Winters says that Carradine, son of John , iconic members of an American cinema dynasty were above the fray. David Carradine was according to Winters a consumate gentleman, a brilliant actor, and a man for all seasons.

    I run into local film producer Tom Waller at a reception hosted by the Italian Embassy. Tom does not believe in the verdict of death by auto-sexual strangulation. He concludes that it was a sex robbery gone wrong, and that to cover the motives the body had been arranged to fit the profile of death by auto- sexual strangulation, a theory once confined to the genre of novels classified as psychological thrillers. The denizens of the film colony in Bangkok are incredulous at the grisly circumstances of the sad demise of this brilliant talent.

    The reception is attended by beaucoup des artistes and cineastes. Film critic Nick Palevski and I schmooze at the bar. Between glasses of vino rosso and spumante Nick expresses his distaste for the tawdy belching of the media and press. He is the critic for Auteur, a web site devoted to film criticism. He can not believe the shabby and sensational manner in which this case is being exploited.

    In no way is this story meant to impugn the reputation of the Royal Thai Police, their meritorious service is well known. Nor is it meant to slander the bereaved Carradine family. The American Embassy has issued a statement wishing the family the best in this tragic moment, embassy staff have no other conclusion re this case except the finding of the body. Aristotelian logic might conclude that something is rotten in Denmark. Western countries would conduct a far more sophisticated investigation.

    The epilogue is delivered by my dear friend in Santa Monica Martin Zweiback. He is a writer- producer director with 50 years of credits in Hollywood. Martin scrpted the original Kung Fu series and is a close friend of David Carradine. Martin is a gentleman of class and distinction. He often graces the Bangkok film colony with his presence. It is fitting that a cineaste of his stature have the final word in this affair. I recieved this e mail from Martin, and with all due respect to this fine bloke it is represented here below as a final testament to this sordid affair.

    More at http://magickpapers.com/blog/