Genre actor and Quentin Tarantino favorite Michael Parks has passed away at the age of 77. The actor died this morning, though the official cause of his death has not yet been confirmed. Director Kevin Smith, who collaborated with the actor several times in recent years, first broke the news.
Kevin Smith used his personal Instagram to break the news, announcing that Michael Parks was no longer with us. Parks worked with Kevin Smith on his movies Red State and Tusk, which Smith says he wrote specifically for the actor. Michael Parks was also originally supposed to star in Yoga Hosers, but for health reasons, he wasn't able to take the part. Here's what Kevin Smith had to say about the late actor in his Instagram post.
"I hate to report that my cinematic muse #michaelparks has passed away. Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known. I wrote both #RedState and @tuskthemovie FOR Parks, I loved his acting so much. He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set. From the moment I saw him steal the opening scene of #fromdusktildawn at an advance screening at the Sunset 5 back in the mid-90's, I said to @samosier "Could you imagine what it must be like to work with a Yoda of acting like that guy? I gotta write for him one day." It took me 15 years but my dream came true on Red State (for which Parks won Best Actor at the @sitgesfestival) and then again years later with #tusk. Only Michael Parks could have delivered the line "Is man indeed a walrus at heart?" and make it scary as fuck. My favorite memory of Michael is watching him and #johnnydepp act with and at each other, like a couple of dueling wizards, in their shared scene in Tusk. Parks was in Heaven that day, sharing the screen with another brilliant actor and creating an unforgettable performance. He elevated any flick or TV show he was in and elevated every director he ever acted for. I was so fucking blessed to have worked with this bonafide genius. But really, I was just lucky to have known him at all. My heart goes out to James (Michael's son), Oriana (Michael's wife), Quentin Tarantino (Michael's biggest fan) and any movie or music lover who was ever dazzled by the talents of Michael Parks. Farewell, old friend. I'll see you farther along... #KevinSmith #actor #genius #rip #walrusyes"
As an actor, Michael Parks had a nearly 60-year career in the business, getting his start on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1958. He then went on to work steadily, in projects like Wild Seed, The Bible: In the Beginning, and movies like The Return of Josey Wales, which he starred in and directed. However, in more recent years, Michael Parks has become something of an icon thanks to his work with directors like Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino, the later of which calls Michael Parks his favorite actor.
His recurring role as Earl McGraw, a character he first played in the opening scene of From Dusk Till Dawn, is probably the role for which he is known best. He played the character in several other movies, including Kill Bill, Death Proof and Planet Terror. He also worked with Tarantino on Django Unchained. Other noteworthy performances from Michael Parks include his work in Argo, Twin Peaks and Walker Texas Ranger.
Parks had completed work on several projects that have yet to be released, including Other Fish and The Queen of Hollywood Boulevard. Michael Parks is survived by his wife Oriana and son James, who he had the chance to work with on Kill Bill and Death Proof. RIP, Michael Parks. You will be missed.