A Tribute to Jim Kelly (1946-2013)

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In a celebrity death which seemed to fly completely under the radar, former martial arts/blaxploitation star Jim Kelly passed away of cancer on June 29, 2013 at the age of 67. In the early 1970s, Kelly was a notable figure in the world of martial arts and won the middleweight title in the 1971 Long Beach International Karate Championships. He caught the eye of producer Fred Weintraub and was cast alongside Bruce Lee and John Saxon in what is probably the most famous martial arts film of all time, Enter the Dragon.

The novelty of being an African-American martial artist helped Kelly capitalize on Enter the Dragon‘s success and become a prominent blaxploitation star during the decade. He starred in such films as Three the Hard Way, Hot Potato and Black Samurai, though his best starring vehicle was undoubtedly the goofy, but ridiculously entertaining Black Belt Jones.┬áHere’s a compilation of the movie’s best fight scenes and the climactic brawl inside a car wash is classic! R.I.P. Mr. Kelly, you will be missed.

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