Jim Kelly, Known For ENTER THE DRAGON, Dead At 67

Associate Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
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Jim Kelly, Known For ENTER THE DRAGON, Dead At 67
Jim Kelly, an International Karate champion and Bruce Lee's co-star in the seminal martial arts flick Enter the Dragon, died yesterday. Though there has been no official report of his death and the circumstances surrounding it have not been released, the announcement came via a post by his ex-wife, Marilyn Dishman, on her Facebook page. He was 67 years old. 

Kelly rose to stardom when he appeared alongside Bruce Lee and John Saxon in the 1973 Warner Bros. martial arts film. From there he went on to star in a handful of blaxploitation films, such as Three the Hard WayBlack Belt Jones, and Black Samurai. He seldom worked in film after the early 80s and went on to become a professional tennis coach in Southern California. 

Though his appearances in film and television were seldom, he was still adored by fans of martial arts fans around the world. 

From one of my favorite moments of his as Williams in Enter the Dragon...

Han: We are all ready to win, just as we are born knowing only life. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for.

Williams: I don't waste my time with it. When it comes, I won't even notice.

Han: Oh? How so?

Williams: I'll be too busy looking gooood.
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TheGhostOfGriffinMillJuly 1, 2013 12:16 PM

Aw, man. Even in the age of Google, I honestly thought he had passed away a long time ago because why else would someone with SOOOOOO much screen charisma not be working all the time?? Loveloveloved JK. Condolences to his friends and family.

60hzJuly 1, 2013 3:27 PM

same here man - now i'm doubly sad! One for not realizing he's alive and one for his death. Damn. How did - and why did - he fade into obscurity!?!??!

davebaxterJuly 2, 2013 12:35 AM

A couple of years back I was at SDCC and there was a booth with a comic being sponsored (or created by, or something like that) the great Jim Kelly. The comic looked...only okay...but I noted it and thought it'd be cool to check in on its status later down the line. Kelly was apparently there at the Con, though we was away from the booth at the moment I passed it, and I didn't come back because I thought there'd always be a better time to meet him/get something signed in the future.

Alas, and god dammit. There goes my chance. Funnily, Jim probably did go out just like he preordained in the quote above: he was still looking good, possibly even unhealthily so. So many MA greats are dropping like flies at too young an age, if not exactly a YOUNG age, per se. Makes me wonder if there isn't a time when such intense physical mastery shouldn't be let go of, replace it with light Tai Chi or something. I know Kelly was apparently just a tennis coach in his twilight years, but he was still looking incredibly fit, maybe too much so. Anyway, he'll probably be remembered better than he ever suspected....

mightyjoeyoungJuly 7, 2013 6:59 PM

"Jim Kelly, an International Karate champion and Bruce Lee's co-star in the seminal martial arts flick Enter the Dragon, died yesterday."
RIP, Mr Kelly, biggest afro, and the hardest kicks, you were an class act.
Thanks for the sad news Mr Mack.