Martial artist and actor Jim Kelly has passed away at the age of 67 after a long battle with cancer, AP is reporting.
Kelly was best known for his part as Williams in the 1973 Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon, as well as his roles in the 1974 film Black Belt Jones, and the 1977 film Black Samurai. He died on Saturday at his home in San Diego. His ex-wife, Marilyn Dishman, announced the news to AP.
Kelly came to prominence in the early '70s, and was soon a successful martial arts actor due to his fight scenes and unmatchable wit. He appeared in less films as the '80s rolled around. He began studying martial arts in 1964 in Kentucky after dropping out from college, and eventually moved to California where he received his black belt in karate. He also played college football.
Of his famous role in Enter the Dragon, Kelly told Salon in 2010:
What about working with Bruce Lee? Working with him both as an actor and a martial artist on “Enter the Dragon”?
JK: That would take me a long time to explain all of that to you. I’ll tell you quickly: It was one of the best experiences in my life. 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.
According to Dishman on her Facebook, there wil be no memorial service for the actor.