Saturday, June 6, 2009


I just heard that David Carradine died. I feel for his family and friends, and fans, despite the stories about his creating difficult situations for all of them at times.

One of the first professional acting jobs I had was playing John Carradine's grandson in a horror movie (THE NESTING). I loved working with this Hollywood legend, and he seemed to dig working with me as well. I always loved the elder Carradine's work in movies during the so-called Hollywood golden years (.e.g GRAPES OF WRATH), but was relatively unaware of his actor sons, David, Keith and Robert.

I met all three in the years that followed. Robert struck me as a kind and decent guy, and an actor with a pretty wide range that seemed to go mostly unappreciated by Hollywood (though not entirely: the disturbed Viet Nam vet in COMING HOME, the lead nerd in REVENGE OF THE NERDS and its sequels).

The one time I had dinner with Keith and several mutual friends, I got in an argument with him and John Milius (if I remember correctly) over the whole "gay" issue after they started complaining about how gay men (not the term they used) were ruining "their" city, San Francisco (this was in the early 1980s). Nonetheless I was impressed with Keith's appearance in a favorite film at the time WELCOME TO L.A. and later with his lead role in CHOOSE ME (not to mention in the first episodes of HBO's DEADWOOD, which may be his best work ever).

David I met later, in the '90s before I left L.A. I had dinner with him a few times with just us and the women we were with (can't remember if my partner was a friend of his or of him). He struck me as an insightful and intelligent man half the time, and an obtuse and unintelligible man the other half.

I knew him vaguely as the TV Kung Fu guy, a show I only saw once or twice, and had seen him in a few other things that didn't impress me that much. But I loved him in BOUND FOR GLORY, where he played Woody Guthrie very touchingly and realistically I thought, despite Hal Wexler's glossy glow to the Depression (something David complained about at a panel discussion only recently and was criticzed for, though the account I read on Huffington Post left me agreeing with Carradine more than Wexler).

The exact cause of his death is uncertain, according to accounts I've read, but how ever it happened, I hope he's now at peace.

1 comment:

grasshopper said...

it seems like Carradine got a lot of living in before he passed on, though... RIP