Michael Parks, a character actor best known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Kevin Smith film Tusk, died Tuesday at age 77. No cause of death was announced.
Smith himself shared the news of Parks’ passing on his Instagram account, which was then confirmed by his agent. Smith called Parks his “cinematic muse.”
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
“Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I’ve ever known,” wrote Smith. “I was so f**king blessed to have worked with this bonafide genius. But really, I was just lucky to have known him at all.”
Born in Corona, Calif., Parks’ career onscreen began in 1961 with a small role in TV sitcom The Real McCoys. From there, he built a hearty résumé over several decades, appearing in movies like From Dusk Till Dawn and The Return of Josey Wales; his TV roles were plentiful, and he showed up in some notable productions including Twin Peaks, Walker, Texas Ranger, Gunsmoke and many, many others.
As with many character actors, Parks enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as he got older, appearing in Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies and co-venture with Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse. He had parts in Smith’s disturbing Tusk and Red State. Parks tended to gravitate to “weird” roles, and that often meant he’d show up in movies of the horror genre. He frequently played the villain as well.
In addition to acting, Parks was also an accomplished singer, releasing eight albums over his 40-year career.
Directors and fans alike flooded Twitter with condolences.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) May 10, 2017
"Every breath, beat and fluttering of an eye was a revelation when Michael Parks was on screen."
— WILL McCRABB (@mccrabb_will) May 10, 2017
A heartfelt farewell to the one and only Michael Parks. A very kind man and a true legend. pic.twitter.com/OsKTfZFiS2
— Robert Rodriguez (@Rodriguez) May 10, 2017
— Cesare Augusto (@RanesHook) May 10, 2017
RIP Michael Parks. A truly great character actor. pic.twitter.com/Ed5hseCP6i
— Little White Lies (@LWLies) May 10, 2017
Parks leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Oriana, and a son, James.