David Carradine

David Carradine may have joined the family profession (his father is character actor John Carradine) but has always set his own path. Born Dec. 8, 1936, in Hollywood, Calif., the younger Carradine graduated from San Francisco State University and worked as a transient laborer and singer-songwriter before turning his attention to acting in the mid-1960s.

During this time, Carradine embraced the psychedelic lifestyle, experimenting with drugs and delving into Eastern philosophy. The latter interest, coupled with his martial arts skills, made him perfect for the part of the Chinese-American Shaolin priest and martial arts master at the heart of "Kung Fu."

Highlights of a movie career that's waxed and waned over the years include Carradine's portrayal of folksinger Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory (1976) and the Kill Bill movies (2003 and 2004). The Emmy-nominated actor died June 3, 2009.