Thailand: On David Carradine's death

Thailand Jumped the Shark has an advice to family and friends of the late Hollywood actor David Carradine: “…whatever you do, don't ever trust the Thai police or the Thai media to get to the bottom of the truth. I wouldn't trust the US embassy staff either. Get your own forensic expert to Bangkok as soon as possible to examine the body.”


  • I am a blogger on the scene in Bangkok at the hotel where Carradine died and am blogging about this on


    The announcer for the BBC breaks the story on TV. David Carradine was found dead in the Swiss Hotel on Soi Nailert. The film star was found in the closet of his room bound by curtain rope around his neck, and the inference is that his genitals were bound as well. The news ran through the Bangkok film colony like a forest fire.

    I consult investigative journalist David Walker. He is also a screenwriter and author of the cult classic book, Hello My Big Big Honey. Walker is at the hotel. He has already led a CBS crew to legendary film producer-director David Winters penthouse office. Winters is a dear friend of Carradine from their glory days in Hollywood. Walker wants to see the surveilance tapes. No chance Bagger Vance. Dr. Pornthip, a colorful Thai forensic scientist is on the scene at the hotel. Walker says Pornthip, who is famous for sporting many hued punk hair styles and is a bit of a celebrity,delares the case to be death by auto sexual strangulation.

    I roll up to Winters penthouse office. He is devastated by the tragic loss of a dear friend. He has not slept. CBS and People Magazine have already come by to solicit intelligence. David is shocked by the tawdry inferrences. He has spoken to 3 of Carradines agents. The agents declare that Carradine was on the roll of a lifetime. Quentin Tarantino redefined the 72 year old actor in Kill Bill. Carradine recieved a Golden Globe nomination for his work with Tarantino. The actor of the classic cult TV series Kung Fu had starred in 13 motion pictures since Kill Bill. His salary was in the stratosphere.

    The strange circumstances of the verdict by auto- sexual strangulation trouble Winters. It takes two to tango. Why indeed would a man of his talent take his own life alone. Bangkok is known as a city with love for sale. Film people come here to shoot and avail themselves of the pleasures to be found in the gilded city of sin. Kinky sex is no big deal. Could this be a coverup for a sex robbery murder. The Royal Thai Police have shut the door on this case all too quickly. The tourist industry has been severely damaged by the recession and political instability. The murder of a famous film star would be a final nail in the coffin of the tourism industry. Winters says that Carradine, son of John , iconic members of an American cinema dynasty were above the fray. David Carradine was according to Winters a consumate gentleman, a brilliant actor, and a man for all seasons.

    I run into local film producer Tom Waller at a reception hosted by the Italian Embassy. Tom does not believe in the verdict of death by auto-sexual strangulation. He concludes that it was a sex robbery gone wrong, and that to cover the motives the body had been arranged to fit the profile of death by auto- sexual strangulation, a theory once confined to the genre of novels classified as psychological thrillers. The denizens of the film colony in Bangkok are incredulous at the grisly circumstances of the sad demise of this brilliant talent.

    The reception is attended by beaucoup des artistes and cineastes. Film critic Nick Palevski and I schmooze at the bar. Between glasses of vino rosso and spumante Nick expresses his distaste for the tawdy belching of the media and press. He is the critic for Auteur, a web site devoted to film criticism. He can not believe the shabby and sensational manner in which this case is being exploited.

    In no way is this story meant to impugn the reputation of the Royal Thai Police, their meritorious service is well known. Nor is it meant to slander the bereaved Carradine family. The American Embassy has issued a statement wishing the family the best in this tragic moment, embassy staff have no other conclusion re this case except the finding of the body. Aristotelian logic might conclude that something is rotten in Denmark. Western countries would conduct a far more sophisticated investigation.

    The epilogue is delivered by my dear friend in Santa Monica Martin Zweiback. He is a writer- producer director with 50 years of credits in Hollywood. Martin scrpted the original Kung Fu series and is a close friend of David Carradine. Martin is a gentleman of class and distinction. He often graces the Bangkok film colony with his presence. It is fitting that a cineaste of his stature have the final word in this affair. I recieved this e mail from Martin, and with all due respect to this fine bloke it is represented here below as a final testament to this sordid affair.

    Antonio, my friend,
    Sorry I’ve been neglectful about keeping in touch of late.
    Thinking about Carradine this day, I recall when writing the Kung Fu show, how often his image inspired the words, and how much depth he brought to them. They sometimes had to pour him onto the set but he never read a line wrong. He was a gifted and underrated actor. I saw him at a screening of Kill Bill not too long ago. He seemed vibrant and clearly excited by the “second chance” Tarantino’s film had given him. Suicide in the middle of shooting a movie at this point in his life just doesn’t compute — but it does remind us to count our Blessings, Gifts, and Challenges — and be careful what we wish for.
    With All Good Thoughts,

    more to follow on

  • The bomb. Today releases the inside story from film maker David Winters in Bangkok who knew Carradine best and who says “this may get me killed”. An excerpt.

    David Carradine was murdered and there is a cover up over here in Bangkok. It was probably done by a ladyboy, either on purpose or accidentaly. The ladyboy would be strong enough and big enough to pick him up and place him in the closet. I want to see the tapes from the hotel”s cameras. Please try to get your hands on them and check them out as they may have been tampered with already.

    I think the police and the hotel are both involved.

    David would never kill himself �. for sure �. he was happily working and that was all he wanted in life � he was on a roll as Chuck and Tiffany his managers say. He had many more films to make and money was rolling in.

    the rest at

  • excerpt from

    Curioser and curioser, I roll down to Pattaya Beach to interview Peter Rnic, the actor and publican. Peter is a crack character actor in films. He also owns the Celebrity Corner, a happening pub in Pattaya. Peter totally debunks the theory that Carradine committed suicide.

    Back at the penthouse lair of David Winters in Bangkok, things are hotting up. He dictates a birthday greeting for Nancy Sinatra to his secretary Mina, a pretty and vivacious Thai girl. The greeting sparkles with bonhomie. He reminds her of the beauty of their friendship, and the love her father, Frank Sinatra, expressed to David re Nancy.

    Bob Burns, senior reporter for Globe magazine has contacted David. He is fascinated by the theory espoused by Wnters, that a katoey carried out the murder, and the crime scene was staged. Burns and Winters conduct an interview by phone.

    David refers me to an article in The Nation Newspaper. Forensic pathologist Dr Michael Biden , the former chief examiner for New York City, determined that Carradine did not commit suicide. He conducted the autopsy in California, and concluded more information was needed from Thai authorities before reaching a final determination of the case.

    excerpt from a fairly long post at

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