[ Back ]His Official Website: davidcarradine.org Also, see Black Transgressions Website.
David Carradine was born December 8th, 1936 at precisely twelve noon to John and Abigail Carradine. David Carradine wrote in his autobiography Endless Highway, "I know the exact time because the doctor had a bet with the interns (a case of beer) that the baby would be born before noon. My mother was lucid enough to be able to deliberately push extra hard to help the doctor win. She liked him. He had to pay anyway, because he had said before noon."
David was not born David Carradine, nor would he be known by that name for many years to come, but was born John Author Carradine; named after his father (who chose his screen name after a man he respected) and a man John Carradine respected.
David lead a interesting and challanging childhood. He was the second born in his family, but his father's first natural born son. Bruce Carradine was Abigail's son by a previous marriage and adopted by John. David was unaware of this until a family trip around the age of five. When he discovered that he had no blood relation to his much larger older brother he was devastated. Being a small child he had had hopes of growing strong and big like his older brother. Those hopes were dashed.
David was an intelligent boy who tended not to apply himself to school. Matter of fact David hopped more schools than most people do websites on the internet. It wasn't that he couldn't do the classwork, but the opposite. He could do the work to easily and tended to get bored. With bordom came pranks and skipping classes. Each time he was removed from one school and entered into another, finally resulting in several boarding schools and homes. Through all of this David continued to learn, but at his own pace and in the areas he was interested in.
When he entered his young adulthood David had succeeded in pranks, becoming a beatnik and traveling most of America. He had also decided to become an actor, though he never lost his interest or love in both music and art.
He started his carreer in acting on the stage. For a more acturate picture of how David managed to become an actor I suggest you read Endless Highway. Anything I say here would not compare to the struggle he went through to gain the fame he has now.
David Carradine is best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine in both Kung Fu and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, though he has done well over eighty movies and other television series.
Kwai Chang Caine captured the hearts of America in the 1970's with his gentle voice and non-violent mannerisms. A renegad Shaolin Priest from China, he wandered the late 19th century America helping those in need and searching for his older brother. By the end of the series Caine had found his brother and had inspired a number of young Americans.
The most noted thing about Caine was his honesty. Even though he was wanted for the murder of the Emperor's nephew, and his capture would mean his death, he never lied about his name. Though he was a Shaolin Priest and carried the marks of the sect on his arms, he didn't brag about his abilities and tended to downplay them. His concern for women, childern, and men alike was "just" and consistant. He rarely became angry, but didn't deny anger as being a part of human nature. He showed young childern that strength and humilty rode hand in hand. For many [of that time on television in the 1960's] that was unheard of.
In 1992 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was aired, focusing on Kwai Chang Caine (played by David Carradine), the grandson of the origanal series [character], and Peter Caine (played by Chris Potter), the son of the 20th century Caine. Peter and Caine each believed the other had died in an attack on the temple they had been living in and for fifteen years had lived apart. Peter, having spent time in an orphanage, was now a police officer in a large metroplian city under the command of Paul Blaisdell (played by the late Robert Lansing), his foster father, who had removed him from the orphanage. Caine was a wanderer who entered the city his son was living in, though that was unknown to him.
Tan, the man who destroyed the temple, was now attempting to run Chinatown in the city Peter protected and Caine had entered. Caine, not wanting to stay in a single location for any given time, was planning to move on when he became involved in a fight with two of Tan's men. During the fight they injured Caine, who later collasped from it.
Lo Si (played by Kim Chan), an Ancient apothacary and Shaolin Priest, took Caine into his home. While Caine was staying there the two men who attacked him bombed Lo Si's apartment and left him in the building to die. Caine re-entered the building and rescued him. When he came out of the building with the Ancient (Lo Si) in his arms, Peter, who now was undercover in Chinatown and was attempting to join Tan's orginazation, saw his father.
Later Peter went to the hospital and told Caine who he was. The reunion was both joyful and filled with rage. Peter couldn't forgive the priest (Ping Hai, played by Kim Chan) who had told him that his father was dead, and couldn't believe that Caine could.
Peter left the hospital to continue his undercover work and was assigned to kill Caine and the Ancient. Before he had the opportunity to "kill" them, he called and ordered flowers to be sent to his father's room warning him. The flowers were delivered by the two men who had injured him and bombed Lo Si's apartment. Both wanting to prove to Tan they were capable of completing an assignment had acted on their own. Caine escaped them and removed the Ancient from the hospital. Peter, who aimed the gun at the now empty bed was not revealed to Tan's orginazation.
Later Peter found Caine in Lo Si's burnt out apartment and explained why he was in Chinatown. Caine was both pleased and surprised by the fact his son was "a cop". During their conversation a woman whom Tan was dating overheard them. She later reported Peter to Tan.
Tan assigned Peter to shoot the Mayor of the city and sent him to a location other than were the actual hit was going to be. Caine figured out Tan's plans and stopped the Mayor from being killed and then went to find his son. He found him with Tan in an underground parking lot. Tan ordered Peter killed before Caine. Caine fought Tan and prevented Peter from being killed, but did not prevent Peter from being shot. At the end of the episode Tan attacks Caine and Peter as they are leaving the building and then escapes.
This was the beginning of what was to become a continuing saga of Father and Son attempting to fit into each other's worlds. Caine, gentle and soft spoken, Peter filled with rage and violence clashed against two different sets of ideals, while the people who loved them tried to guide them.
From this another set of young Americans are learning that love can cross any bridge, even the bridge of rage, and that gentlness can overcome violence. That the martial arts are not just a means of fighting, but also a way of life. That knowing you can fight and beat someone doesn't mean you have to fight. That love means acceptance, even if it isn't easy. Caine learned to accept Peter as a cop. Peter learned to accept Caine as a priest. Together they learned.
This page is dedicated to David Carradine for potraying Kwai Chang Caine at a time of darkness thus providing light to not only myself, but many others. Thank you.