Bruce Lee

Enter the Dragon star Jim Kelly dies at age 67

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 3:00am


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Actor Jim Kelly, who played an afro-wearing American martial artist in Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee, has died. He was 67.

Marilyn Dishman, Kelly's ex-wife, said he died on Saturday of cancer at his home in California.

Sporting a sky-high hairstyle and sideburns, Kelly made the most of his memorable, if brief, appearance in Enter the Dragon.

The lanky actor, born in Paris, Kentucky, made a splash with his one-liners and fight scenes in the 1973 martial arts classic.

His later films included Three the Hard Way, Black Belt Jones and Black Samurai.

In a 2010 interview, Kelly said he started studying martial arts in 1964 in Kentucky and later moved to California. He said the role in the Bruce Lee film came about when his agent called him. It was his second film role.

"It was one of the best experiences in my life," he said of working on Enter the Dragon.

"Bruce was just incredible, absolutely fantastic. I learned so much from working with him. I probably enjoyed working with Bruce more than anyone else I'd ever worked with in movies because we were both martial artists. And he was a great, great martial artist. It was very good."

Kelly drifted out of acting and went on to become a professional tennis player.

Associated Press