I was shocked and saddened to learn about the death of David Carradine today. His roles in Kung Fu and Kill Bill are getting plenty of attention in the national media but I prefer to remember the films Carradine made for Roger Corman (Death Race 2000 and DeathSport) and his horror films (Trick or Treats and the ultra bizarre Sonny Boy).
Endless Highway, Carradine’s 1995 autobiography, is one of my favorite books. His life before acting and between film projects was more interesting and adventurous than any movie he made. There are numerous anecdotes about the many different genre actors (Richard Lynch, Paul Smith, Claudia Jennings, Craig Wasson to name a few) and directors (Paul Bartel for example) David Carridine worked with during his long career. He also chronicled the highlights and low points of growing up with a famous actor for a father.
I’m going to close with a passage from Endless Highway:
“My life has been filled with action, adventure, glory, and disgrace, romance, farce and pathos, damnation, and salvation-illustrating the best and worst of life on Earth. I’ve led a life full of extremes. I’ve gone as far as I can go in many respects-sometimes right over the fucking edge. ”
Rest easy, Mr. Carradine.