Jim Kelly who starred with Bruce Lee in “Enter The Dragon” has died at age 67.
His ex-wife Marilyn DIshman confirmed the sad news on Facebook that Jim had passed June 29th after a battle with cancer.
Kelly began his career into 1970s superstardom after graduating from University of Louisville, Kentucky.
After winning the middleweight title at the 1971 International Karate Championships in Long Beach, California he opened his own school (dojo).
Acting alongside actors John Saxon and kung fu legend Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” Kelly was introduced to big screen action film fans.
Displaying impressive fighting skills and a cool-cat smooth delivery as an actor, Kelly taunted the film’s Dr. No-like villain Han with the memorable line, “Man, you come right out of a comic book.”
His popularity landed Kelly starring roles in other so-called “blackploitation” films including “Black Belt Jones” “Black Samurai” and “Melinda”.
He earned a three-film contract with Warner Brothers and made “Three the Hard Way” with Jim Brown and Fred Williamson among many others.
After dropping out of movies in 1983, Kelly became a professional tennis coach and played in the senior tournament.
“I never left the movie business,” Kelly told the LA Times in 2010. “It’s just that after a certain point, I didn’t get the type of projects that I wanted to do. I still get at least three scripts per year, but most of them don’t put forth a positive image. There’s nothing I really want to do, so I don’t do it.
“If it happens, it happens, but if not, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.”
Jim was still mobbed at conventions and had remained a fan favorite.