Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Jim Kelly

 "The Cool Master of King-Fu and Karate !"

Tagline from BLACK SAMURAI 1977

     A very special birthday wish and remembrance needs to go out today for Jim Kelly who was born on this day in 1946. In a decade that spawned more then it's share of cinema bad-asses, Jim Kelly was one of the 70's baddest.
    Winner of many karate championships, he became the first African American martial arts movie star and initially rose to prominence as Williams in the Bruce Lee classic ENTER THE DRAGON from 1973. In 1974 he starred as the title character in BLACK BELT JONES, kicked ass alongside Fred Williamson and Jim Brown in Gordon Park's THREE THE HARD WAY and appeared  with Joe Don Baker in GOLDEN NEEDLES. In 1977 there was Al Adamson's BLACK SAMURAI and the blacksploitation western TAKE A HARD RIDE FROM 1975.
    At 6' 2" with his trademark afro and sideburns he made a striking presence in his films and was able to convey an aura "don't mess with me" attitude without saying a word.
    He would later become a professional tennis player and passed away in 2013 much too young  from cancer at the age of 67.

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