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One-time Woody Guthrie actor created near riot before death

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When David Carradine died of an accidental hanging last week at the age of 72, most obits mentioned him as the star of the TV series "Kung Fu" or the titular dude in Quentin Tarantino's revenge flick "Kill Bill." But there was another role that brought the troubled actor perhaps his greatest acclaim.

No, not "Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror," but Hal Ashby's 1976 drama "Bound for Glory," a biopic of Oklahoma-born folk singer Woody Guthrie. Based on Guthrie's own 1943 autobiography, the film earned Carradine a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.

The film jumped back into visibility in March, albeit for all the wrong reasons, when Carradine turned a Los Angeles public screening of "Glory" into "a near-riot," according to the movie news Web site Hollywood Elsewhere.

Attending the moderated screening with "Glory" co-star Ronny Cox and director of photography Haskell Wexler, Carradine was reportedly "very probably high on something," which led to rambling statements on labor unions, a shouting match with an audience member and hitting a publicist on the head with a thrown microphone.

Things got so uncomfortable, reported the site, that Cox headed for the exits. Maybe Wexler should have, too, because Carradine slammed the DP's work on "Glory," criticizing him for "ruining" it, and that it "looks like it was shot through a glass of milk." (Mind you, Wexler took home the Academy Award that year for his supposedly piss-poor job.)

Former Entertainment Weekly scribe Chris Willman wrote of the melee, "Not since I saw Bill Irwin and Kathleen Turner go at each other in an excellent production of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' a couple of years ago have I experienced a night of live theater quite as riveting as the three-way cage match between David Carradine, Haskell Wexler, and the audience."

Ah, David. You will be missed. ?

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