Jim Kelly (martial artist)
Actor Jim Kelly
|Born||James M. Kelly
May 5, 1946
|Occupation||Martial Artist, Actor, athletic instructor|
|Spouse(s)||Marilyn Dishman (1967–1968) (divorced)|
James M. "Jim" "the Dragon" Kelly (born May 5, 1946) is an American athlete, actor, and martial artist who came to prominence in the early 1970s. He is best known from his performance as Williams in the 1973 Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (September 2012)|
Early life 
Kelly was born in Paris, Kentucky. He began his athletic career in high school, competing in basketball, football, and track and field. He attended the University of Louisville where he played football, but left during his freshman year to begin studying Shorin-ryu karate. Additionally, he trained in Okinawa-te karate under the direction of Shihan Gordon Doversola. Kelly won the Huntington Beach Classic and credits Doversola with making him a world class fighter. During this time, other notables such as Joe Lewis would also train in the same martial arts school. After winning the middleweight title at the 1971 Long Beach International Karate Championships in Long Beach, he opened his own dojo. He taught karate to actor Calvin Lockhart for a role in a thriller feature film Melinda; he ended up playing a martial arts instructor in the movie.
Acting career 
As an actor, Kelly is best known for co-starring alongside Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. The role was originally supposed to go to actor Rockne Tarkington, who unexpectedly dropped out days before shooting in Hong Kong. Producer Fred Weintraub had heard about Jim Kelly's karate studio in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, and went there to see him and was immediately impressed. Kelly's role as Williams, an inner-city karate instructor who is harassed by white police officers, made a good impression upon directors and African-American males with his cool-cat demeanor and formidable physical skills.
This appearance led to starring roles in a string of martial arts-themed blaxploitation films, among them Melinda and Black Belt Jones. Most of Kelly's film roles played up the novelty of an African-American martial arts master.
He earned a three-film contract with Warner Brothers and made Three the Hard Way with Jim Brown and Fred Williamson, and Hot Potato, a movie in which he rescues a diplomat's daughter from the jungles of Thailand. After his contract ended with Warner Brothers, he starred in low-budget films Black Samurai, Death Dimension, and Tattoo Connection.
After his appearance in 1982's One Down, Two to Go, Kelly appeared in movies only rarely.
Most recent activities 
Still to this day, he considers Bruce Lee as "the greatest martial artist, that ever lived". 
- Melinda (1972)
- Enter the Dragon (1973) as Williams
- Black Belt Jones (1974) as Black Belt Jones
- Three the Hard Way (1974) as Mister Keyes
- Golden Needles (1974)
- Take a Hard Ride (1975) as Kashtok
- Hot Potato (1976) as Jones
- Black Samurai (1977) as Robert Sand
- The Tattoo Connection (a.k.a. E yu tou hei sha xing, Black Belt Jones 2) (1978)
- Death Dimension (1978)
- The Amazing Mr. No Legs (1981)
- One Down, Two To Go (1982)
- Stranglehold (1994)
- Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered and Shafted (2004)
- Afro Ninja Destiny (2009)
- Afro Ninja (2009)
- Highway To Heaven (1985/1986) (2 episodes)
- Ryfle, Steve (January 10, 2010). "DVD set is devoted to '70s martial arts star Jim Kelly". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- http://rankandrevue.com/archives/rr19/movies.htm. Missing or empty
- Jim Kelly at the Internet Movie Database
- Jim Kelly at AllRovi
- Jim Kelly on Twitter
- Jim Kelly on Facebook
- Jim Kelly Personal website