There was no doubting David Carradine’s pedigree. He was an iconic actor. He had an iconic personality. People loved him.
So, following his death yesterday, which of these things will David Carradine most likely be remembered for? Sadly, it looks like it won’t be any of them. Not the way he almost single-handedly brought kung-fu to a western audience. Not his electrifying presence on stage and screen. Not his phenomenal charisma.
No, it looks as if David Carradine will be remembered for the being the old man who tied a shoelace around his willy and wanked himself to death. Bummer.
When news broke about David Carradine’s sudden death yesterday, there were a flurry of conflicting reports. Firstly it was claimed that Carradine died of natural causes, which sounded completely feasible – after all, he was a man in his seventies visiting a strange country. And, in a way, those reports were right. David Carradine did die of natural causes.
Because, come on, who hasn’t shut themselves in a hotel cupboard, tied a length of string around their neck and genitals and wanked themselves silly until they accidentally died? We know we have.
Sadly, bizarrely, that looks like it’ll end up being David Carradine’s official cause of death. The Telegraph reports:
Thai police are investigating the twin theories that the death was either suicide or a sex game gone wrong. Initially, police said they believed Carradine had committed suicide and were not seeking anyone else in connection with the death. However, there was no suicide note and an unnamed officer claimed the death may have been an attempt at auto-eroticism.
Of course, it could still be argued that David Carradine’s death was deliberate, given his long-standing belief that death would be nothing more than an ‘inconvenience’ and his unusual relationship with suicide. While writing his autobiography, for instance, David Carradine famously toyed with the idea of shooting himself in the head with his loaded Colt .45 daily, “just to see”.
But let’s be clear here – all the signs are pointing to a botched Michael Hutchence-style attempt at auto-erotic asphyxiation. Which is fine – if you’re going to take your death into your own hands, you might as well do it half-naked in a cupboard with a bit of string wrapped around your wrinkly old pecker – but it’s bound to overshadow everything else you’ve ever accomplished in your life.
As good as Kung Fu was, or Kill Bill, or his work with Ingmar Bergman, or his incredible age-defying physicality, will you be able to watch any of David Carradine’s old performances and not be constantly reminded of the fact that he’d one day wind up dead in Bangkok with his balls in his hands? It’s hard to say.
However, if Heath Ledger‘s death proved anything it’s that Hollywood loves an actor who can accidentally kill themselves in the nude. Maybe Carradine’s role as horny triad Poon Dong in Crank 2 will get that best supporting actor Oscar after all.