Actor Jim Kelly died June 29 at his San Diego home at the age of 67 after a battle with caner. Kelly was best known for his martial arts films like "Enter the Dragon" with Bruce Lee. Speaking on his role in "Enter the Dragon", Kelly said, "it was one of the best experiences in my life. Bruce was just incredible, absolutely fantastic. I learned so much from working with him. I probably enjoyed working with Bruce more than anyone wlse I'd ever worked with in movies because we were both martial artists. and he was a great, great martial artist. It was very good."
Kelly first began studying karate in his native Kentucky, but earned his black belt in California where the four time champion had aspirations of becoming an actor.
He was born James Milton Kelly on May 5, 1945 in Paris, Kentucky. A second cousin to Hall of Fame baseball player, Kelly was a natural athlete who played football, baseball, and ran track.
Kelly appeared in a little over a dozen films during his career beginning with his 1972 debut in "Melinda". From there he went on to appear in "Enter the Dragon", "Black Belt Jones", "Three the Hard Way", "Golden Needles", "Take a Hard Ride", "One Down, Two to Go", "Hot Potato", "Black Samuri", "The Tattoo Connection", "Death Dimension", "Mr. No Legs", an episode of "Highway to Heaven", "Ultimatum", "Stranglehold", and "Afro Ninja".
Kelly later became a professional tennis player where he was ranked in the top 10 in California senior men's circuit; saying that while he never left acting, he just wasn't being offered roles that they were roles that didn't portray a positive image and therefore he didn't want to do them.
Kelly is survived by his daughter Sabrena and ex-wife Marilyn DIshman. No service is planned.