Longtime character actor Michael Parks has passed away at the age of 77, his agent has confirmed. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Parks appeared in a great number of things—over 145 credits to his name over the course of his 57-year career—but one needn’t look any further than Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill to know what kind of talent he was. In Tarantino’s two-part revenge epic, Parks played two very different characters: a Texas Ranger named Earl McGraw, and a Mexican pimp named Esteban Vihaio.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however. Parks began his acting career in 1960, appearing in a couple of episodes of the western anthology series Zane Grey Theater. He built on that with a number of short TV series stints throughout the ’60s, including episodes of The Untouchables, The Detectives, The Real McCoys, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and Wagon Trail.
In the mid-’60s he also started appearing in feature films, with titles like Bus Riley’s Back in Town alongside Ann-Margret and John Huston’s The Bible: In the Beginning…, in which he played Adam. His career continued steadily over the next few decades, appearing in a variety of TV and movie roles, including a handful of episodes of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, playing the character Jean Renault.
In 1996, he starred in Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, which also starred Tarantino, playing the same Earl McGraw character he would later play in Kill Bill alongside his son James Parks’ (who has also appeared in Tarantino’s works including as stagecoach driver O.B. in The Hateful Eight). He also played the character in the Tarantino/Rodriguez double-feature Grindhouse. He has a small role in Tarantino’s Django Unchained, as well.
In 2011, Parks starred in Kevin Smith’s first shift from comedy to horror, Red State. He then starred in another Smith horror, Tusk.
Of Parks’ passing, Smith shared this post:
Other more recent notable roles for Parks include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Best Picture winner Argo, and Blood Father with Mel Gibson.
He was still working to this day, too. A short he appeared in titled Other Fish is completed, and The Queen of Hollywood Blvd is currently listed as in post-production. He had a few future projects lined up as well, including a western titled Boone and a horror titled The Summoning.
And if all of that wasn’t impressive enough Parks was also a musician, releasing multiple albums, mainly in the ’70s. You can see him singing with Johnny Cash below, along with a short clip from the From Dusk Till Dawn documentary Full Tilt Boogie.