Family tree of David CARRADINE


AmericanBorn John Arthur CARRADINE

American actor and martial artist

Born on December 08, 1936 in Los Angeles, California, USA , United States

Died on June 03, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand

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He was born John Arthur Carradine in Hollywood, California, the son of Ardanelle "Abigail" (née McCool, 1911–1989) and actor John Carradine. He was a maternal half-brother of Bruce, paternal half-brother of Keith, Christopher and Robert Carradine, and an uncle of Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton. He was the great-grandson of Methodist evangelical author Beverly Carradine and the grandnephew of artist Will Foster.

Affectionately called "Jack" during his childhood years, Carradine's childhood was turbulent. Both of his parents repeatedly re-married. He was the product of his mother's second marriage of three, and his father's first of four. At the time his parents married each other, his mother already had a son, Bruce, by her first husband, whom John adopted. John Carradine planned a large family but, as his son explained in his autobiography, after his wife had a series of miscarriages, he discovered that she had had repeated illegal abortions without his knowledge. This rendered her unable to carry a baby to full term. It was with this backdrop of marital discord that at the age of 5, Jack almost succeeded in committing suicide by hanging. He said that the incident followed his discovery that he and Bruce had different biological fathers. He added that, "My father saved me, and then confiscated my comic book collection and burned it – which was scarcely the point".


After three years of marriage, Ardenelle Carradine filed for divorce from John, but the couple remained married for another five years. Divorce finally came in 1944, when Jack was seven years old. His father left California to avoid court action in the alimony settlement. After the couple engaged in a series of court battles over child custody and alimony, which at one point landed John in jail, Jack joined his father in New York City. By this time his father had remarried. For the next few years Jack was shuffled between boarding schools, foster homes and reform school. He also would often accompany his father while the elder Carradine performed summer theater throughout the Northeast. He spent time in Massachusetts and even one miserable winter milking cows on a farm in Vermont.

Eventually, Jack Carradine returned to California where he graduated from Oakland High School. He attended Oakland Junior College for a year before transferring to San Francisco State College where he studied drama and music theory. There he wrote music for the drama department's annual revues while juggling work at menial jobs, a fledgling stage acting career and his studies. After he dropped out of college, Carradine spent some time with the "beatniks" of San Francisco's North Beach and Venice, California. During this time he collected unemployment insurance and sold baby pictures. He was also prosecuted for disturbing the peace.

Despite an attempt to dodge the draft, in 1960 Carradine was inducted into the United States Army, where he drew pictures for training aids. That Christmas he married his high school sweetheart, Donna Lee Becht. While stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia he helped to establish a theater company which became known as the "entertainment unit". He met fellow inductee, Larry Cohen, who later cast him in Q, The Winged Serpent. He also faced court-martial for shoplifting. In 1962, Donna gave birth to their daughter, Calista. Carradine was honorably discharged after a two-year tour.

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Geographical origins

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