Next to Bruce Lee, he was responsible for bringing Eastern martial arts to a Western audience: And as a kid in the 70’s, watching David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine in “Kung Fu”, may well have subliminally started off my own journey in the martial arts.
Kids in those days kids were used to their TV action heroes being blue-eyed cowboys and cops, so creating the character of a Buddhist monk who played the flute and tried to avoid violence (but always spectacularly kicked ass) was a breakthrough.
Ironically Bruce Lee was considered and rejected for the part, and a Westerner with no background in the martial arts was cast. Only after the series was made did David Carradine develop a genuine interest in kung fu, although as the owner of one of his laughable instructional tapes I am not sure that he attained any great standard. After Death Race 2000, I then lost track of his career for many years, but he was fantastic when he reappeared in Tarantino's Kill Bill films.
It’s a sad footnote that he should have been found dead in bizarre circumstances ‘a la Michael Hutchence’. Each to their own of course, but I never could understand that particular taste for ‘auto-erotic asphyxiation'. Apart from anything else does it not occur that if it goes wrong you’re going to be stuck with a pretty embarrassing obituary for your grandchildren to read?
And whatever would Master Po have said ?