Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jim Kelly May 5 1946 - June 29 2013


     Actor and Karate Champion Jim Kelly passed away yesterday at the age of 67. Born in Paris, Ky. in 1946 he won the World Middleweight Karate Championship in 1971 and soon thereafter was signed to co-star in Enter the Dragon in 1973 after Rockne Tarkington (Black Sampson) dropped out at the last minute. Even after 40 years Enter the Dragon still stands as one of the greatest pure action movies ever made. Its a credit to Kelly's screen presence, that even next to the mega-watt star power of Bruce Lee he is still highly remembered by fans for is role as Williams.
    After Enter the Dragon he signed a three picture deal with Warner and starred in such classics as Black Belt Jones, Three The Hard Way & Golden Needles (all from 1974) and Black Samurai (1977). In 1975 in appeared in the western Take a Hard Ride co-starring Lee Van Clef, Jim Brown & Fred Williamson.


  1. He was a hell of a presence in those movies. My first exposure to him would have been Enter the Dragon when it first aired on Showtime in 1980 or so. I then saw parts of the trailer to Black Belt Jones in It Came From Hollywood - but it was several years before I finally saw it. I did see all of the movies you listed for him though - all on VHS and rented in at least three different states. I just saw Golden Needles a few months ago. Really liked him. RIP.

  2. I've never seen Golden Needles - it's on my list. The trailer was on a DVD I picked recently up and it looks pretty intriging. I remember seeing Enter the Dragon at theatre in a kinda sketchy area of Detroit where we use to go see King-Fu movies - then it started playing all over the place & me and my friends kept going back to see it.

  3. That's a real shame. You'd think this news would be all over the place, but this is the first Im hearing of it. But yeah, I thought he was sooo cool when I was a kid. Oddly, when I was young, I always liked John Saxon and Jim Kelly best in Enter the Dragon.