Deadline has reported that veteran character actor Michael Parks has passed away at the age of 77. The cause of death is unknown at this time of posting.
Born April 24, 1940, in Corona, California, Parks held various jobs – fruit-picking, ditch-digging, truck driving and fighting forest fires, according to Schulman – and married, briefly, at 16 before beginning the acting career that would span six decades. He started with a bit part on the ABC rural sitcom The Real McCoys and was the Biblical Adam in John Huston’s 1966 The Bible: In the Beginning…, and appeared here and there on episodic TV before riding to fame on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as the title character of NBC’s short-lived Then Came Bronson, even singing the Billboard charting theme song, “Long Lonesome Highway“.
Though his career never really peaked into super-stardom, Parks enjoyed a variable degree of success as a character actor (usually the over-the-top villainous kind) over the next decades, appearing in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films and Django Unchained, the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse, Kevin Smith’s Red State and Tusk, Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Ben Affleck’s Argo. He also starred as the main villains in Chuck Norris’ The Hitman and Charles Bronson’s final cinematic outing Death Wish V: The Face of Death. One of his final film appearances was in Mel Gibson’s Blood Father.
Regardless of film quality, Parks was an actor who was not afraid of chewing the scenery each chance he got, and walked away with it every time.
Godspeed, Mr. Parks.