David Carradine Book Reveals Incest, Murder Suspicions

Marina Anderson, wife of David CarradineCourtesy Marina Anderson
Actress Marina Anderson with her then-husband "Kung Fu" actor David Carradine. She has written a memoir about their four-year marriage, which ended in 2001. He died last year of asphyxiation in a hotel room in Thailand.

Just over a year ago actor David Carradine died a seedy death, hanging by a drapery cord in the cramped closet of a Bangkok hotel room. Now, his ex-wife says she believes the 72-year-old "Kung Fu" actor was murdered.

Authorities ruled that Carradine had accidentally suffocated in a lone sex practice known as autoerotic asphyxiation, but his fourth wife, Actress Marina Anderson, claims in a new book that the actor "never flew solo" and the autopsy and other details of his death "just don't fit."

VIDEO: Thai police are investigating his death as a potential murder.Play
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Anderson, who was married to Carradine from 1998 to 2001, admits that her husband's kinky sex life -- a penchant for bondage and being choked to the point of orgasm -- was no surprise, ultimately destroying their marriage and leading to his death.

"I believe he was murdered," she told ABCNews.com in an interview this week. "That's all there is to it."

"For David to accidentally do it to himself, that's not the act," said Anderson. "He never flew solo when we were together. That didn't fit the scenario. David liked participation."

Anderson knew that firsthand from satisfying Carradine's sexual requests during their marriage.

"I never got to the point of suffocation," she said. "It totally freaked me out. I liked having oxygen in my brain."

In her memoir, "David Carradine: The Eye of My Tornado," which hit bookstores this month, Anderson said she was compelled to investigate the mysterious circumstances of Carradine's death, obtaining autopsy results and death scene photos and interviewing coroners in Bangkok, as well as American coroners Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Steven Pitt.

"I was angry," wrote Anderson, now 58. "There were certain things on there that I thought, 'Well, you can't have marks around your neck by just doing an autoerotic or sexual asphyxiation.' I mean, it went over the line. There was something really hinky that happened."

"Maybe someone would want to do that for money. David always carried a lot of cash and he always wore expensive watches -- you can attract unwanted elements," she suggests. "Given what David was into, Thailand, Bangkok is sex heaven, and I think he indulged and something went incredibly wrong."

Carradine was found dead on June 4, 2009 at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel where he was staying while shooting the film "Stretch." At first it was called a suicide.

Family and friends refuted the findings and Anderson agreed. "David was always happy when he worked," she said. Later, after two autopsies were conducted, Thai authorities concluded Carradine's death had been caused by "accidental asphyxiation."

"I believe he was targeted, whether they went up to his room unsolicited or he got bored and went into town and brought somebody up," said Anderson. "I don't believe he was by himself."

At the time, Carradine family attorney Mark Geragos blamed the death on a mysterious sect of secret kung fu assassins. Geragos did not answer an e-mail from ABCNews.com, and he did not pick up his phone to comment on Anderson's book.

A year later, in June, Carradine's fifth wife and widow, the former Annie Bierman, filed a lawsuit against the production company that was handling the film, alleging breach of contract and wrongful death.

Anderson said she began writing the book long before the couple divorced in 2001, hoping to bring insight into the man whom she said had "intoxicating energy" and a renegade life infused with drugs, alcohol and an appetite for deviant sex.

"I don't think he ever wanted to intentionally hurt anybody," said Anderson. "But when he passed away under the circumstances he did, he was handing the baton to me to correct people's thinking and explain why. I didn't want the last memory with the public to be just that. There's got to be an understanding now of him as a human being, not a celluloid fantasy, with faults and his own demons, and for people to understand why he was like this."

Anderson, who is also an author of children's books and designs jewelry, has made appearances on television's "Ghost Whisperers" and "Desperate Housewives." Last year, she was cast as co-lead in an episode of the NBC series "Unsolved."

Incest Destroyed Carradine-Anderson Marriage

Her book is a tribute to the continuing affection she said she still felt for Carradine, now eight years after their divorce. Anderson explores the most intimate moments of their relationship, as well as the actor's "dark side."

"I felt I had a very heavy responsibility to his fans, family and our relationship to see that my book was a balanced and truthful recount of our life together," said Anderson. "My memoir is very much a love story...I wanted people to know David as a man, not just an icon, with incredible talents and quirky idiosyncrasies.

"Fans may think this is a trash book, but it's not," she said.

Anderson's four-year marriage to Carradine was eventually derailed by incest. She won't identify the family member she calls, "X" -- not even the gender -- though she acknowledges the relationship was with a younger relative and spanned both his marriages to her and to his previous wife of 11 years, Gail Jensen

Anderson married Carradine after Jensen, a longtime friend, introduced them. Jensen died at the age of 60 this year after a fall linked to her long-time struggle with alcoholism.

"David did to her what he did to me," said Anderson. "Obviously, it was a major problem in the relationship. I wanted to confront him and help him move forward, but I could not."

In 2003 statements to a Los Angeles court when she filed for divorce from the actor, Anderson also said she had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after their http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=7777993">"roller coaster" marriage.

Anderson writes about pleading with Carradine to seek counseling for the incestuous relationship -- she had even caught him in a compromising situation with the younger relative in their home -- but he refused.

The incest sparked flashbacks to Anderson's own abuse by an uncle as a child, a trauma that she chronicles in the book with the help of "Celebrity Rehab" psychiatrist

Dr. Drew Pinsky. Pinsky also suggests that Carradine was addicted to opiates, which enabled him to sustain pain.

"Not to say he was addicted, but we had a lot of painkillers around," said Anderson. "I have a feeling he was taking some opiates along the way with the [erotic] asphyxiation -- taking it up a notch, escalating the activity to the next level."

Anderson, a Canadian-American, met Carradine in the 1970s, but they did not fall in love until they worked together in Toronto on the set of "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," a television series that aired from 1993 to 1997. She played a variety of roles in different episodes of the series.

The couple called each other affectionately "Johnny" [Carradine was born John Arthur] and "Blackie" [for her raven hair].

Anderson is largely credited for resurrecting Carradine's career, keeping him sober during their six-year relationship, acting as his publicist and personal manager. She introduced the actor to Quentin Tarantino, who in 2003 cast him in "Kill Bill."

Anderson said she wrote the book to help herself heal and to help others understand the casualty of Carradine's life of addiction and risk-taking.

"I started writing this about nine years ago before he passed away," she said. "I saved letters and notes sent to friends and David. I put them in a folder to help me release a lot of pent-up hurt and frustration."

Anderson reveals numerous personal secrets, from their sensuous lovemaking sessions to the actor's propensity for urinating in public.

"He was very out-there," she said, referring to his experimentation with LSD and mushrooms. "It was the '70s and the free-love era and he had this whole viewpoint on life and you color outside the lines and don't put yourself in a box -- very much the rebel thing and one of the things I loved about him. I learned a lot from him."

Marina Anderson Played Choking Sex Games With Carradine

Anderson admits she, too, tried erotic asphyxiation with Carradine, and felt "obligated to talk about it in her book because of her concern over increased interest among teens in the so-called "choking game."

"I had never experienced anything like that and I was really excited about my relationship and that was new territory for me," she said. "I didn't know that was his meat and potatoes. For me, it was just a phase and I just tried it because it was something new. I was already hooked in the relationship."

But at some point, Anderson said she thought, "Aw, oh, this is really his preference. I really have got a problem on my hands."

Her book is also filled with juicy Hollywood details -- she dated rocker Don Henley of the Eagles and actor Dabney Coleman -- and describes star-studded celebrity parties.

She and Carradine were both dog lovers. Anderson used connections with Robert Redford to buy Carradine a Bernese mountain dog. He helped her choose Lulu, her beloved collie, a sister to one of the dogs used in the TV series "Lassie," to whom Anderson dedicates the book

Profits from the sale of the book will go to animal rescue groups and Children of the Night, an organization that fights child prostitution.

Skeptics may raise their eyebrows over Anderson's heavy reliance on noted psychics and numerologists, including the famed clairvoyant John Edward, who helped her unravel what had happened in Thailand.

She even describes a self-exorcism with olive oil to cleanse their house of "bad vibes."

But the memoir isn't just about Carradine's bizarre sexual proclivities, and Anderson said she hopes it's not a "vindictive" tell-all.

"I was totally intoxicated with him" she said. "Many people can identify with what I went through, and that's the reason I put everything in there. There are complex problems with relationships and it wasn't just the sexual stuff. It is a love story and healing journey."

Though Carradine, son of the prolific actor John Carradine, never talked about it, Anderson said an unstable youth was the source of many of his "demons."

"It didn't come out of the air," she said. "It had to come from somewhere. He wasn't open about it, but he projected an inner core of unhappiness. He was very young when his parents separated and he was off to schools. It was a big abandonment issue. He was shuffled off to one person, then another. It's terribly damaging to a child growing up in those circumstances. He never healed from it."

The couple had tried to have their own children, but several attempts at in vitro fertilization failed.

"David was extremely shy, but I think he would be pleased with this book as well as this being an avenue to help others," she said. "And the dark side was a part of our life, but only a small part of the book."

Even a year later, Anderson says she still gets "choked up" talking to press about Carradine's death.

"I've got to prep myself," she said. "I start shaking with clammy palms and I start crying. It brings it all up again."