R.I.P. Michael Parks

It is with a heavy heart that I must share the passing of film legend Michael Parks. Mr. Parks has appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows over 50+ years. His career began back in the 1960s and he garnered wide recognition as the star of the series Then Came Bronson.  Mr. Parks worked steadily for many years, but achieved a  career renaissance in the 1990s when he appeared in Twin Peaks and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn. The latter was the debut of Mr. Parks’ most recognized character, Sheriff Earl Mcgraw. As Earl McGraw, Michael Parks appeared in the aforementioned From Dusk Till Dawn,  Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Parks appeared in Vol. 2 as a different character), and both Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof for Grindhouse.  He reunited with Tarantino once more in Django Unchained.
The news was revealed on Instagram by Kevin Smith, who directed Mr. Parks in Red State and Tusk, in parts written specifically for the actor. Here’s what Mr. Smith had to say:

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

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Thank you, Mr. Parks. xo