Jim Kelly Dies; Actor, Martial Artist Was 67

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Actor Jim Kelly, an actor and martial artist who memorably starred in Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee, died at age 67 of cancer at his home in San Diego.

Jim Kelly Pic

Sporting a distinctive Afro hairstyle and sideburns, Jim Kelly made an impact with his many one-liners and fight scenes in the 1973 martial arts classic.

His later films included Three the Hard Way, Black Belt Jones and Black Samurai.

Kelly studying martial arts in 1964 in Kentucky and later moved to California where he earned a black belt in karate, then set his sights on becoming an actor.

The role in the Bruce Lee film was his second, and he ended up with about a dozen film roles in the 1970s before his acting work began to taper off.

In recent years, he drew lines of autograph seekers at comic book conventions.

"It was one of the best experiences in my life," he said recently of working on Enter the Dragon. "Bruce was just incredible, absolutely fantastic."

"I learned so much from working with him. I probably enjoyed working with Bruce more than anyone else because we were both martial artists."

"And he was a great, great martial artist. It was very good."