Murphy’s Law – The tragic death of David Carradine

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

Loyal readers, I need to ask you all a favor – if I am ever found dead in a Bangkok hotel room – naked with ropes tied around places they shouldn’t be – please don’t pry into the circumstances surrounding my death. It’s probably best for everyone if we chalk it up to a horrible accident and you all just move on with your lives.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room last Thursday. Originally, it was reported that the Kung Fu and Kill Bill actor committed suicide, but it eventually came to light that he was found naked with ropes around his wrists, neck and genitals. The prevailing theory is that his death was a result of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong.

Of course, Carradine’s family has been having a tough time accepting this theory. Coming to terms with a beloved family member’s death is tough enough, but when he dies under bizarre circumstances like this, it’s even harder to deal with. It’s natural to look for other explanations. However, the explanation they have turned to is a bit out there.

The New York Post reports: “A secret sect of kung fu assassins could have silenced actor David Carradine as he delved into their shadowy activities, according to his family’s lawyer.”

According to a panel member on Larry King Live, “David was very interested in investigating and disclosing secret societies.” Family attorney Mark Geragos said Carradine’s family believes that he may have been killed by one of these secret societies. The Carradine family has even met with the FBI to seek their cooperation in investigating the circumstances surrounding the actor’s death.

Other’s have also found the death to be suspicious.

“The thing that I am really questioning is, how was he bound, and how was he able to tie his own hands?” said Robert Dunlap, a documentary filmmaker who created a film you don’t want to accidentally leave lying around on your coffee table entitled Beyond Vanilla: An Unforgettable Journey Into the Wilder Side of Sex.

“This doesn’t look like a solo act at all,” Dunlap told “In order to have an orgasm, his hands would have had to be free. There is something very peculiar about this.”

Two of Carradine’s ex-wives have come forward to reveal that the actor was indeed into some very kinky activities. Gail Jensen, his third wife, said he had a fetish for riding horses bareback in Speedos and would often nearly drown himself in their pool. She also said that he liked tying himself up and that he once strung himself up in a crucifix position in the basement while a party was going on above him.

She also added: “He liked to be tied up. And he could tie himself up … He spent days planning a different feature. He would go to a hardware store and buy the stuff.”

While I respect his family’s desire to make sense of a senseless death, I feel that in the long run prying into the circumstances surrounding Carradine’s passing will only bring more disturbing details about the actor’s sex life to light. It’s highly unlikely that a secret society of ninjas had him killed because he was getting too close to the truth. While that sounds like a great setup to one of Carradine’s movies, the chances of it happening in real life are slim to none.

If Jensen is correct and Carradine could tie himself up, then it is entirely possible that he did it to himself and accidentally died in the process. But even if someone was there with him, chances are that person was invited into the hotel room by Carradine and was there to aid the actor in the process. Perhaps the other person panicked when he died and left without attempting to free him or perhaps the other person couldn’t get the ropes untied and that’s what led to his death. But whatever the circumstances, I still believe that this was an accidental death, not some vast conspiracy.

And since the evidence seems to suggest that it was indeed an accident (regardless of whether or not someone was in that hotel room with Carradine), perhaps it’s best if we drop the investigations and just chalk it up to a horrible mishap. No amount of digging is going to bring Carradine back, nor will it make sense of his death. Chances are, all it will do is reveal more tawdry details of the actor’s sex life and bring more pain to the family.

So let’s just try to let it go. Like INXS singer Michael Hutchence, let’s just all agree that Carradine died under strange and tragic circumstances and leave it at that.

Trust me, it’s for the best.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at

  1. Joelle June 10, 2009
  2. Loyal Reader June 12, 2009

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