Jim Kelly Biography
(Martial Artist and Actor Known for His Action Films ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Black Belt Jones’)
Birthday: May 5, 1946 (Taurus)
Born In: Paris, Kentucky, United States
Jim Kelly was an American martial artist, athlete, and actor. He was one of the most popular African–American faces in the martial arts movies of Hollywood. Kelly is most remembered for his role in the movie ‘Enter the Dragon,’ in which he co-starred with Bruce Lee. Since his school days, Kelly was athletically inclined. Though he was actively involved in football and basketball, Kelly did not pursue any of them, as he developed an interest in karate. In those days, it was not a popular game among African–Americans. Kelly won several world karate championships. He opened his “dojo,” which was frequented by several celebrities from Hollywood. A chance to provide martial arts training to actor Calvin Lockhart proved to be the turning point in his career. Kelly trained Lockhart for the movie ‘Melinda.’ His impressive performance secured him a role in the movie, marking his entry into the film industry. Kelly became the first African–American martial arts film star. Later, he was offered a part in the martial arts movie ‘Enter the Dragon,’ in which he co-starred with Bruce Lee. Kelly was offered roles in several “blaxploitation” movies, which had African-–Americans playing major roles. Some of them were ‘Black Belt Jones,’ ‘Three the Hard Way,’ and ‘Hot Potato.’ With his “Afro” hairstyle and superb karate skills, Kelly won many hearts. He died of cancer at the age of 67.