Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly (born James Milton Kelly; May 5, 1946 – June 29, 2013) was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist who rose to fame during the Blaxploitation film era of the 1970s. Kelly is perhaps best known for his role as Williams in the 1973 martial arts action film Enter the Dragon. He also had lead roles in 1974’s Black Belt Jones as the title character and Three the Hard Way as Mister Keyes.

Kelly was born in Millersburg, Kentucky.  He began his athletic career at Bourbon County High School in Paris, Kentucky, competing in basketball, football, and track and field. He attended the University of Louisville, where he played football, but left during his freshman year to begin studying Shorin-ryu karate.

Kelly began his martial arts career under the tutelage of Sin Kwan The (Shaolin-Do) in Lexington, Kentucky. He trained in Okinawan karate under the direction of Parker Shelton, Nate Patton, and Gordon Doversola. During the early 1970s, Jim Kelly became one of the most decorated world karate champions in the sport. In 1971, Kelly won four prestigious championships that same year, most notably, the World Middleweight Karate title at the 1971 Long Beach International Karate Championships.

As an actor, Kelly became the first Black martial arts film star. He co-starred alongside Bruce Lee in the blockbuster, Enter the Dragon (1973) in a role originally intended for actor Rockne Tarkington, who unexpectedly dropped out days before shooting in Hong Kong. Producer Fred Weintraub had heard about Kelly’s karate studio in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, went there to see him, and was immediately impressed.

Filmography

Melinda (1972) as Charles Atkins
Enter the Dragon (1973) as Williams
Black Belt Jones (1974) as Black Belt Jones
Three the Hard Way (1974) as Mister Keyes
Golden Needles (1974) as Jeff
Take a Hard Ride (1975) as Kashtok
Hot Potato (1976) as Jones
Black Samurai (1977) as Robert Sand
The Tattoo Connection (a.k.a. E yu tou hei sha xing, Black Belt Jones 2) (1978)[9] as Jones
Death Dimension (1978) as Lt. Detective J. Ash
The Amazing Mr. No Legs (a.k.a. Mr. No Legs) (1979)[10]
One Down, Two To Go (1982) as Chuck
Stranglehold (1994)[11]
Ultimatum (1994)[12] as Executive
Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered and Shafted (2004)[13] as Executive #4
Afro Ninja (2009) as Cleavon Washington

Television

Highway To Heaven (1985/1986) (2 episodes) as Reporter

 

Ref: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Kelly_(martial_artist)