A Hollywood legend has passed away. Michael Parks, who gained quite a following after appearing in some of Quentin Tarantino‘s and Robert Rodriguez‘s films, passed away today at the age of 77.
Born Harry Samuel Parks on April 24, 1940, Parks worked a series of odd jobs before the acting bug hit him in 1961. Starting out in television, Parks appeared in shows such as The Real McCoys and Perry Mason. In 1969, he was the lead in the short-lived series Then Came Bronson, where he also sang the theme song. The song, “Long Lonesome Highway”, actually charted on the country music charts.
While primarily known for his work in television at the time, Parks had made his film debut in 1965’s Wild Seed and appeared sporadically in films, including a few of the major straight-to-video B-movies of the late 80’s and early 90’s. These include 1988’s Nightmare Beach aka Welcome to Spring Break and 1990’s Caged Fury. He would also play a villain in both The Hitman (1991) and Death Wish V: The Face of Death in 1994 and the hit TV series Twin Peaks as Jean Renault.
1996 would be Parks’ breakthrough in a way when he appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn as Sheriff Earl McGraw, a role he would reprise in Kill Bill: Volume 1 and the Grindhouse films. His son James would play his character’s son in the films as well. Interesting enough, the elder Parks would play an alternate character in Kill Bill: Volume 2 as well as From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter. He would appear in more mainstream fare like Ben Affleck‘s Academy Award winning Argo and Django Unchained.
Parks recently appeared in two of Kevin Smith‘s horror films, Red State and Tusk. He made a few films just last year, including the sports biopic Greater and Mel Gibson‘s comeback film Blood Father.
Parks is survived by wife Oriana and son James.
World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Michael Parks. As a final tribute, here is a 2006 interview with TV host Skip E. Lowe, courtesy of YouTube user Alan Eichler:
Rest in Peace, Michael Parks.