Thai Police: Carradine Death May Be Accidental

Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, has been found dead in the Thai capital, Bangkok. Video by AP
By Tim Johnston
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, June 5, 2009; 9:23 AM

BANGKOK, June 5 -- Thai police officers investigating the death of David Carradine, the American actor who made his name in the "Kung Fu" television series in the 1970s, say he most likely died of asphyxiation, possibly when an autoerotic sex game went wrong.

Carradine, 72, was found naked in a closet in an upscale Bangkok hotel on Thursday with cords around his neck and his genitals. The police are checking DNA found on the cords, but say they found no signs of a struggle, suggesting that Carradine might have either tied himself up or submitted voluntarily to his incapacitation.

"It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not or he died of suffocation or heart failure," Lt. Gen. Worapong Chewprecha of the Royal Thai Police told reporters. The results of the autopsy are expected to be released on Saturday.

Tiffany Smith, a spokeswoman for Carradine's agents Binder and Associates, said she did not believe that he would intentionally kill himself.

"All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide," Smith told the Associated Press. "We're just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give . . . and that's not something David would ever do to himself."

Worapong said that Carradine had been drinking on the day before he was found, but did not say whether he thought that might have been a factor in the death.

Fingerprint experts have examined the room in the Swissotel Nai Lert Park and, although they have not ruled out the possibility of murder, they say they have found no evidence that there was anyone else in the room between 9 p.m. Wednesday, when Carradine left the hotel bar, and 11 a.m. Thursday, when his body was found.

Carradine was in Bangkok for the shooting of the film "Stretch."

Part of an acting dynasty that included his father John and brothers Keith and Robert, Carradine was best known for the "Kung Fu" series, but he recently returned to the red carpet playing the role of Bill, the arch villain in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films.

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