Jim Kelly, who enacted the role of Williams, a karate instructor, in Bruce Lee-starrer 'Enter The Dragon,' in 1973, died on Saturday from cancer, Kelly’s ex-wife, Marilyn Dishman told Associated Press. He was 67.
Kelly died in his San Diego home, and Dishman announced in a Facebook post that there would be no funeral service for the actor.
“Yesterday, June 29, 2013, James Milton Kelly, better known as Jim Kelly, the Karate expert, actor, my first husband and Sabrena Kelly-Lewis's biological father died,” Dishman wrote on Sunday. “Sabrena needs all of your good thoughts and prayers. This is a difficult situation to process. Even I am having trouble processing it. Like his mother, there will be no service!”
Kelly was working as a martial arts instructor in Los Angeles when he was roped in for his first movie, 'Melinda.' But, what propelled him to the limelight was Lee-starrer 'Enter The Dragon,' a film where he was noted for his Afro hairstyle and wisecracks, according to AP.
Sharing his experience of working in ‘Enter the Dragon’ with Lee, Kelly once told Salon.com that it was one of his best experiences in life. “I probably enjoyed working with Bruce more than anyone else I'd ever worked with in movies because we were both martial artists. And he was a great, great martial artist."
Kelly followed it up with ‘Black Belt Jones,’ ‘Three the Hard Way’ and ‘Black Samurai,’ but left acting to become a professional tennis player and played in the United States Tennis Association's senior circuit.
On his decision to leave movies, Kelly said during an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2010, that a lack of good roles prompted him to switch careers.
"It's just that after a certain point, I didn't get the type of projects that I wanted to do," Kelly said at the time.