Kiai-Kick is sad to report on the death of Tom Laughlin a few days ago. Star of the Billy Jack films, Tom always did things his own way, even when it came to making a Hapkido martial arts film. A political activist and one of the great independent filmmakers (Billy Jack, adjusted for inflation, is one of the highest grossing indie films of all time). Tom is best known for his four Billy Jack films and for The Born Losers, as well as The Master Gunfighter. Tom passed away at the age of 82.
On a personal note, in my eyes at least, Tom Laughlin threw the gauntlet down for indie filmmakers in regards to making their own martial arts films. Some have had the minerals to do it themselves, and I think there is a renaissance of indie martial arts films coming. I think we have Tom to thank for showing us the way to do things…our way.
Our condolences go out to Tom Laughlin’s family during this time.
And here is my favorite Billy Jack moment: