FACTBOX: Actor David Carradine, dead at 72

Thu Jun 4, 2009 12:06pm EDT

1 of 4. David Carradine arrives at the London premiere of 'Kill Bill Volume 2' in a 2004 photo.

Credit: Reuters/File

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(Reuters) - U.S. actor David Carradine, who starred as the wandering monk in the long-running "Kung Fu" television series, was found hanged in his Bangkok hotel room, Thai police said on Thursday. He was 72.

Here are some facts about the actor:

* David Carradine was born John Arthur Carradine on December 8, 1936, in Hollywood, California, the eldest son of character actor John Carradine.

* Educated at San Francisco State University, he studied music theory and composition. It was while writing music for the drama department's annual revues that he discovered his own passion for the stage, joining a Shakespearean repertory company.

* After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Carradine found work in New York as a commercial artist and got his first taste of fame on Broadway in "The Deputy" and "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" opposite Christopher Plummer.

* In 1964, he made his feature film debut with a bit part in "Taggart," a western based on a novel by Louis L'Amour.

* Carradine rose to fame as Kwai Chang Caine, the half-Asian student of life on the popular TV series "Kung Fu" (1972-75). He reprised the role for a syndicated series in the late 1990s.

* He starred as folk singer Woody Guthrie in the Oscar-nominated "Bound for Glory" in 1976.

* Quentin Tarantino cast Carradine as the enigmatic assassin leader Bill in the director's violent exploitation homage "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" (2003) and its sequel "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" (2004). The movies were a sensation, bringing Carradine a legion of younger fans who were not alive during his original "Kung Fu" run. Carradine received his fourth Golden Globe nomination for "Kill Bill: Vol. 2."

* Carradine is survived by his wife, Annie Bierman, whom he married in 2004.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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