Carradine, David 1936- (John Arthur Carradine)

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Carradine, David 1936- (John Arthur Carradine)


Original name, John Arthur Carradine; born December 8, 1936, in Hollywood, CA; son of Richmond Reed Carradine (also known as John Carradine; an actor) and Ardanelle Abigail McCool; half-brother of Keith Ian Carradine (an actor and songwriter), Bruce Carradine (an actor), Robert Carradine (an actor), and Michael Bowen (an actor); uncle of Martha Plimpton (an actress) and Ever Carradine (an actress); married Donna Lee Becht (an actress and dancer), December, 1960 (divorced); married Linda Gilbert, February 2, 1977 (divorced, 1983); married Gail Jensen (an actress, manager, producer, and songwriter), December 4, 1988 (divorced, 1997); married Coco d'Este (also known as Marina Anderson; an actress); February 20, 1998 (divorced December 12, 2001); married Annie Bierman, December 26, 2004; children: (first marriage) Calista Miranda (an actress); (with actress Barbara Hershey; also known as Barbara Seagull) Tom (a special effects artist; also known as Free); (second marriage) Kansas (an actress); (fifth marriage) four stepchildren. Education: Attended Oakland Junior College, San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University), and University of California, Berkeley; studied acting, dialects, voice, piano, music theory and composition, tap, ballet, martial arts, fencing, aerobatic flying, horsemanship, and fast draws. Politics: "Jeffersonian Democrat." Religion: Christian Scientist. Hobbies and other interests: Music, songwriting, film-making, sculpting, painting, creating computer art, philosophy, art, science, horses, children, French, the American Revolution, tai chi, baseball, coaching athletes of the Special Olympics.


Agent—(commercials and voice work) International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; Manager: Chuck Binder, Binder and Associates, 1465 Lindacrest Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210; Publicist: Beth Morris, Rogers & Cowan Public Relations, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., 7th Fl., Los Angeles, CA 90069.


Actor, director, producer, and writer. Composer of more than seventy songs for the publishing company of Catahoula and Carlin. Affiliated with Art House. Also worked as a commercial illustrator and at the Lucky Lager Brewery.

Film appearances include Taggart, Universal, 1964; Bus Riley's Back in Town, Universal, 1965; The Violent Ones, Feature Film, 1967; Too Many Thieves, Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968; Heaven with a Gun, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1969; Young Billy Young, United Artists, 1969; The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Warner Bros., 1969; Macho Callahan, Avco-Embassy, 1970; The McMasters, Chevron, 1970; Boxcar Bertha, American International Pictures, 1972; Mean Streets, Warner Bros., 1973; The Long Goodbye, United Artists, 1973; You and Me, 1975; Death Race 2000, New World Pictures, 1975; Cannonball, New World Pictures, 1976; Bound for Glory, United Artists, 1976; The Serpent's Egg, Paramount, 1977; Thunder and Lightning, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977; A Look at Liv, Win Kao Productions, 1977; Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel, Blackwood Films, 1978; Gray Lady Down, Universal, 1978; Deathsport, New World Pictures, 1978; Cloud Dancer, Blossom Pictures, 1979; Circle of Iron,Avco-Embassy, 1979; Fast Charlie, the Moonbeam Rider, Universal, 1979; The Long Riders, United Artists, 1980; Americana, Crown International, 1981; The Best of Sex and Violence, Wizard Video, 1981; Q, United Film Distributors, 1982; Safari 3000,Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1982; Trick or Treats, Lone Star International Pictures, 1982; Lone Wolf McQuade, Orion, 1983; On the Line, El Iman/Amber, 1984; Kain of the Dark Planet, 1984; The Warrior and the Sorceress, New World Pictures, 1984; Labyrinth, TriStar, 1986; P.O.W.: The Escape, Cannon, 1986; Armed Response, CineTel, 1986; Wheels of Terror, Manley, 1986 (released as The Misfit Brigade, Trans World, 1988); Marathon, 1987; Run for Your Life, Multivideo, 1987; Animal Protector, Producers Corporation, 1988; Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II, Concorde-New Horizons, 1988; Warlords, American International Pictures, 1988; Open Fire, 1988; Fatal Secret, Swedish Action Film Force, 1988; Maniac Cop,Shapiro-Glickenhaus, 1988; Crime of Crimes, Trident Releasing, 1989; Las huellas del lince, A.G. Films/Casablanca Films/Tripod Films, 1989; Ministry of Vengeance, Concorde Pictures, 1989; Sauf votre respect, Candice Productions, 1989; Nowhere to Run, Concorde Pictures, 1989; Crime Zone, Concorde Pictures, 1989; Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, Vestron Video, 1989; Tropical Snow, 1989; The Mad Bunch, Swedish Action Film Force, 1989; Martial Law, Media Home Entertainment, 1990; Bird on a Wire, Universal, 1990; Think Big, Concorde Pictures, 1990; Sonny Boy, Triumph Releasing, 1990; Omega Cop II: The Challenge, Romarc, 1991; Dune Warriors, Concorde Pictures, 1991; Project Eliminator, Victory Pictures, 1991; Night Children, Columbia/TriStar Home Video, 1992; Waxwork II: Lost in Time, LIVE Home Video, 1992; Field of Fire,Concorde Pictures, 1992; Evil Toons, American Independent Pictures, 1992; Midnight Fear, Rhino Home Video, 1992; Distant Justice,Columbia/TriStar Home Video, 1992; Animal Instincts, Academy, 1992; Double Trouble, Motion Picture Corporation of America, 1992; Roadside Prophets, New Line Cinema, 1992; Night Rhythms, Imperial Entertainment, 1992; Frontera Sur, 1993; Kill Zone, New Horizons Home Video, 1993; Dead Center, 21st Century Film Corporation, 1994; Capital Punishment, Screen Pix Home Video, 1996; Full Blast, Showcase Entertainment, 1997; Knocking on Death's Door, Concorde Pictures, 1997; The Defectors, 1998; Light Speed, Santelmo Entertainment, 1998; Nosferatu: The First Vampire, 1998; Natural Selection, Rio Bravo Entertainment, 1998; Stray Bullet II, New Horizons Home Video, 1998; The Rage, Miramax, 1998; Children of the Corn V: Field of Terror, Dimension Films, 1998; Sublet, Krasko Productions, 1998; Lovers and Liars, 1998; Drop-Dead, Libra Pictures/Regent Entertainment, 1998; Crossroads of Destiny, Concorde Pictures, 1999; Zoo, Pilgrims 5, 1999; American Reel, KiMina Entertainment/North by Northwest Entertainment, 1999; Kiss of a Stranger, Libra Pictures/Regent Entertainment, 1999; Shepherd, 1999; The Donor, RGH/Lions Share Pictures, 2000; Down and Dirty, Golden Lion Productions, 2000; Nightfall,Concorde-New Horizons, 2000; G.O.D., Amsell Entertainment, 2000; An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, Universal Pictures Home Video, 2000; Balto II: Wolf Quest, Universal Cartoon Studios, 2002; Wheatfield with Crows, Stirling Trinity Films, 2002; Naked Movie, Seven Arts Entertainment, 2002; Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Miramax, 2003; Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Miramax, 2004; Bala perdida, El Palenque Producciones, 2003; Dead & Breakfast, Anchor Bay, 2004; Hair High, E.D. Distribution, 2004; Last Goodbye, Warner Home Video, 2004; Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon, Rigel Entertainment, 2004; Brothers in Arms, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2005; Miracle at Sage Creek, Talmarc Productions, 2005; Last Hour, Pathe Distribution, 2006; Homo Erectus, Burnt Orange Productions, 2006; Final Move, Imageworks Entertainment International, 2006; Treasure Raiders, Lightning Entertainment, 2006; The Last Sect, Peace Arch Entertainment Group, 2006; What We Did on Our Holidays, Whatever Entertainment, 2006; How to Rob a Bank, Rick Lashbrook Films, 2006; My Suicide, Go Code Productions, 2006; and Richard III, 2006. Appeared in the documentary Shows of Strength: David Carradine's Martial Arts Adventure. Also appeared in Action Force Team and Caddo Lake.

Film work includes (director) You and Me, 1975; (director, producer, and editor) Americana, Crown International, 1981; (associate producer) Project Eliminator, Victory Pictures, 1991; and (executive producer) Richard III, 2006.

Television appearances include (series) Shane, ABC, 1966; Kung Fu, ABC, 1972-75; Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, syndicated, 1993-97; Walking after Midnight, 1999; and Wild West Tech, History Channel, 2004. Television appearances include (miniseries) Mr. Horn, CBS, 1979; North and South, ABC, 1985; North and South, Book II, ABC, 1986. Also appeared in Confessional. Television movies include Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring, ABC, 1970; High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane, CBS, 1980; Gauguin the Savage, CBS, 1980; Jealousy, ABC, 1984; The Bad Seed, ABC, 1985; Oceans of Fire, CBS, 1986; Kung Fu: The Movie, CBS, 1986; Six Against the Rock, NBC, 1987; The Cup, 1988; I Saw What You Did, CBS, 1988; The Cover Girl and the Cop, NBC, 1989; Future Force, syndicated, 1990; Brotherhood of the Gun, CBS, 1991; Future Zone, syndicated, 1991; Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns, NBC, 1991; Deadly Surveillance, Showtime, 1991; Last Stand at Saber River, TNT, 1997; Lost Treasure of Dos Santos, The Family Channel, 1997; Martian Law, 1998; Out of the Wilderness, 1998; The New Swiss Family Robinson, ABC, 1998; The Warden, syndicated, 2000; By Dawn's Early Light, Showtime, 2000; Warden of Red Rock, Showtime, 2001; Out of the Wilderness, Showtime, 2001; The Defectors, 2001; The Outsider, Showtime, 2002. Appearances on television specials include Johnny Belinda, ABC, 1967; Don Johnson's Music Video Feature and Heartbeat, HBO, 1987; and Too Hot to Skate, CBS, 1997; Brandon Lee: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1997; Masters of the Martial Arts Presented by Wesley Snipes, Martial Arts Network, 1998; David Carradine: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1997; Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary Primetime Special, NBC, 1999; The Art of Action: Martial Arts in Motion Picture, Starz!, 2002.

Appearances on episodic television include "The Eli Bancroft Story," Wagon Train, ABC, 1963; "Go Fight City Hall," East Side, West Side, CBS, 1963; "The Intruders," The Virginian, NBC, 1964; "Thou Still Unravished Bride," The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, NBC, 1965; "The War and Eric Kurtz," Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater, NBC, 1965; "The Greatest Game," Trials of O'Brien, CBS, 1966; "Cortez and the Legend," Saga of Western Man, NBC, 1967; "The Hunted," Cimarron Strip, CBS, 1967; "The Rebels," Coronet Blue, CBS, 1967; "Due Process of Law," Ironside, NBC, 1968; "Tarot," The Name of the Game, NBC, 1970; "License to Kill," Ironside, NBC, 1971; "The Quincunx," Ironside, NBC, 1971; "Lavery," Gunsmoke, CBS, 1971; "The Phantom Farmhouse," Night Gallery, NBC, 1971; "The Long Way Home," The Family Holvak, CBS, 1975; Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1980; "Hostage," Today's F.B.I., ABC, 1981; "Partnership," Darkroom, ABC, 1981; "To the Finish," The Fall Guy, ABC, 1983; "Mind of the Machine," Airwolf, CBS, 1984; "Paddles Up," Partners in Crime, NBC, 1984; "October the 31st," The Fall Guy, ABC, 1984; "A Distant Scream," Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, Associated Television and Hammer Film Productions, 1984; "Dead Ringer," The Fall Guy, ABC, 1985; "Thanksgiving," Amazing Stories, NBC, 1986; "And the Moon Be Still as Bright," The Ray Bradbury Theater, USA Network, 1987; "Tell Me a Story," Night Heat, CBS, 1987; "The Country Boy," Matlock, NBC, 1987; "The Prisoner," Matlock, NBC, 1989; "Ghosts," The Young Riders, ABC, 1990; "Hostage," Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, CBS, 1996; "Ape-pocalypse … A Little Later!," Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys, syndicated, 1997; "The Mandrill Who Knew Too Much," Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys, syndicated, 1997; Profiler, NBC, 1999; and "Deja Vu All over Again," Charmed, WB, 1999; "Code Name: Flight 401," Acapulco H.E.A.T., 1999; "Brandi, You're a Fine Girl," Just Shoot Me!, NBC, 2000; "Telling Lies, Conclusion," Family Law, CBS, 2000; "For Love," Family Law, CBS, 2000; "The Serpent," Queen of Swords, syndicated, 2001; "The Warrior Incarnate," Jackie Chan Adventures (animated), WB, 2001; "Revelations," Largo Winch, Mystery Channel, 2001; "Houseboat," Titus, Fox, 2001; "Between a Rock and a Bra Place," Lizzie McGuire, Disney Channel, 2001; The Making of "Kill Bill," Bravo, 2003; "Countdown," Alias, ABC, 2003; "Hourglass," Alias, ABC, 2004; "Kung Fu Divas," Eve, UPN, 2005; "The Ultimate Enemy," Danny Phantom (animated), Nickelodeon, 2005; and "Allison Wonderland," Medium, NBC, 2006. Also appeared in an episode of Armstrong Circle Theater, NBC and CBS. Appearances on television pilots include Kung Fu, ABC, 1972; Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, syndicated, 1993; and Largo Winch: The Heir, Mystery Channel, 2001. Appearances in music videos include "Heartbeat" by Don Johnson, 1987.

Television work includes (series; director) Kung Fu, ABC, 1972-75; (producer) Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, syndicated, 1993-97; (producer) Kung Fu: The Movie, CBS, 1986; and (coproducer) Future Force, syndicated, 1990.

Stage appearances include Othello, Prometheus Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 1958; The Deputy, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York, NY, 1964; The Royal Hunt of the Sun, American National Theatre and Academy, New York, NY, 1965; The Transgressor Rides Again, 1969; and The Ballad of Johnny Pot, 1970. Appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Playbox Theatre, Berkeley, CA; Black Elk Speaks, American Indian Theatre, Tulsa, OK; and in productions of other Shakespearian plays, including Hamlet. Stage work includes (producer) Othello, San Francisco State College, 1958.

Recordings include (videos) David Carradine's Tai Chi Workout, Boxtree, 1994, produced as David Carradine's Tai Chi Workout: The Beginner's Program for a Healthier Mind and Body, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1995; (with David Nakahara) David Carradine's Introduction to Chi Kung: The Beginner's Program for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1997; Chi Energy Workout, Goldhil Home Media, 2003; AM & PM Tai Chi Workouts, Goldhil Home Media, 2003; From Grasshopper to Caine: The Making of "Kung Fu,", Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2003; The Tao of Caine: Production and Beyond, Warner Bros., 2003; The Making of "Kill Bill: Volume 2," Miramax Home Entertainment, 2004; Zen & Now: A Dinner with David Carradine and Friends, Warner Home Video, 2004; Serpent's Egg: Away from Home, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2004; Serpent's Egg: German Expressionism, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2004; Brothers in Arms: The Making of a Modern Western, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005; Shaolin Diary: Back to the Beginning, Warner Home Video, 2005; The Ring Comes Full Circle, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005; The Making of "Miracle at Sage Creek," Universal, 2005; and World War 1—American Legacy, Inecom Entertainment Company, 2006. Military service: U.S. Army, 1960-62.


Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors' Equity Association, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Rifle Association, Fraternal Order of Police (honorary member), 1199 Club.


Theatre World Award, most promising personality, 1965, for The Royal Hunt of the Sun; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding continued performance by an actor in a leading role in a drama series, 1972, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best television actor—drama, 1974, both for Kung Fu; National Board of Review Award, best actor, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor—drama, both 1976, both for Bound for Glory; Man of the Year Award, Fraternal Order of Police, 1985; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, miniseries, or motion picture made for television, 1986, for North and South; received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1997; Capri Legend Award, 2004; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, and Saturn Award for best supporting actor, 2005, both for Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Directors Fortnight Award, Cannes International Film Festival, for Americana.


Spirit of Shaolin: A Kung Fu Philosophy, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1991.

Endless Highway (autobiography), Journey Editions (Boston, MA), 1995.

The Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through the Eyes of a Screen Legend, Harper (New York, NY), 2006.

Also wrote (with Christopher Sergel) the book Troublemaker. Wrote episodes for the TV series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, 1993-97. Composer of songs and music for dramatic productions, including the films Americana, Crown International, 1981; and American Reel, KiMina Entertainment/North by Northwest Entertainment, 1999. Composed the score of Mata Hari. Composed music for the annual revues of the Drama Department, San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University).


In a career that has spanned more than four decades, actor David Carradine has appeared in over one hundred films, dozens of television movies and specials, and numerous stage productions. In what must surely have come as a shock to his fans, Carradine admitted in Spirit of Shaolin: A Kung Fu Philosophy: "I was a fake. When I left the [television] series [Kung Fu] after four years I knew nothing about kung fu. At the time I did not understand it at all, and I was faking it all the time even though I knew the moves. I am an actor. We just thought we had a good story." Carradine had clearly fooled an entire nation: in the enormously popular television series, which ran from 1972 to 1975, he played Kwai Chang Caine, a nineteenth-century Chinese immigrant to America who—despite his meek demeanor and unassuming appearance—is a master of the martial arts. Moreover, as Ty Burr noted in Entertainment Weekly, Caine embodied an "ass-kicking hippie Zen" ethic that was perfectly suited to the moment. The series, along with the films of Bruce Lee, helped popularize kung fu and other martial arts in the West, but Carradine himself, as he revealed in Spirit of Shaolin, only studied the skills and philosophy of Eastern self-defense much later. However, by the time he returned to the small screen in a reprise of his most popular role, playing Caine's grandson in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, he had not only learned aspects of the discipline, but had made several instructional videotapes on the subject.

With the autobiography Endless Highway, Carradine delineates what a reviewer in Publishers Weekly called a "dreary catalogue of human disaster"—that is, his own life story. Though he enjoyed a seemingly charmed youth as son of veteran character actor John Carradine, he reveals that he tried to kill himself as early as the age of five. Things became much worse after his parents divorced, as he was farmed out to foster homes, boarding schools, and a reform school. Burr noted that it is "hard to muster sympathy" over some of Carradine's romantic problems, such as choosing between two beautiful actresses—Barbara Hershey, mother of a son by Carradine, and Season Hubley—and several reviewers faulted Carradine for placing the blame for all his problems on others. Yet even these critics extolled the writing and Carradine's storytelling ability: a reviewer in Publishers Weekly called Endless Highway "breezy and anecdotal and … good-natured," while Burr pronounced it "a pithy, occasionally stirring read." Mike Tribby in Booklist was unqualified in his praise for what he called an "exhaustive and intensely personal" book containing "600-plus pages of good reading."

A self-proclaimed Hollywood "outsider," Carradine saw his film career languish for nearly two decades until director Quentin Tarantino chose the actor for a lead role in his two-part martial arts revenge film Kill Bill, which also starred Uma Thurman. In fact, Tarantino, a longtime Carradine fan, drew inspiration for the character of Bill from Endless Highway. "The result," Carradine told Entertainment Weekly contributor Josh Rottenberg, "is that Bill has a lot of my character in it—or at least a lot of what Quentin thinks my character is." The film put Carradine back in the limelight, and he earned a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor. He chronicled his nearly two-year stint on the project in the 2006 work The Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through the Eyes of a Screen Legend, a "mixture of autobiography, biography, and behind-the-scenes account," observed David Pitt in Booklist. In the work, Carradine offers praise for the director and his costars, describes his exhausting training sessions with fight choreographer Yuen Wu Ping, and shares his thoughts about acting, creativity, and the film industry. According to a Kirkus Reviews critic, The Kill Bill Diary "is by turn engrossing, funny and surprisingly moving as it records both the impossibly difficult realities of personal-yet-epic filmmaking and an under-appreciated talent's return to professional grace."



Carradine, David, Spirit of Shaolin: A Kung Fu Philosophy, Charles E. Tuttle (Boston, MA), 1991.

Carradine, David, Endless Highway, Journey Editions (Boston, MA), 1995.

Carradine, David, The Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through the Eyes of a Screen Legend, Harper (New York, NY), 2006.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 72, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2007.


Booklist, December 1, 1995, Mike Tribby, review of Endless Highway, p. 603; September 1, 2006, David Pitt, review of The Kill Bill Diary, p. 34.

Business Wire, May 6, 2006, "David Carradine's Role in Kill Bill Marks End of Twenty Years on Hollywood's ‘Outsider List,’" p. 483.

Entertainment Weekly, December 8, 1995, Ty Burr, review of Endless Highway, p. 59; April 30, 2004, Josh Rottenberg, "Oh, No!!!!! Mr. Bill! The Arch-villain Of Kill Bill—Vol. 2 Is a Ruthless Killer, a Doting Father, and a Mean Comeback Vehicle for Actor David Carradine," p. 116; November 3, 2006, Neil Drumming, Whitney Pastorek, Josh Rottenberg, and Chris Willman, "Deep Dish and Thin Slices of Life," p. 81.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of The Kill Bill Diary, p. 763.

Library Journal, December, 1991, Jennifer Langlois, review of Spirit of Shaolin, p. 156; November 15, 1995, Richard W. Grefath, review of Endless Highway, p. 75; September 15, 2006, Barry X. Miller, review of The Kill Bill Diary, p. 61.

Newsweek, April 19, 2004, Devin Gordon, "Newsmakers," p. 71.

New York Times Book Review, February 11, 1996, Kathryn Shattuck, review of Endless Highway, pp. 723-724.

Publishers Weekly, October 16, 1995, review of Endless Highway, p. 49; September 11, 2006, review of The Kill Bill Diary, p. 45.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 14, 1991, "David Carradine Was a Kung-Fu Faker," p. A3.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 3, 1995, review of Endless Highway, p. 2A.

USA Today, January 27, 1993, Brian Donlon, "Caine's New Kicks: ‘Kung Fu’ Carradine's Reincarnation," p. D3.

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Carradine, David 1936- (John Arthur Carradine)

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