Beloved actor Michael Parks has died at the age of 77. You will likely remember Parks mostly for his recurring role as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in Quentin Tarantino’s films (including From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse and Kill Bill). Parks most recently connected with indie film mastermind Kevin Smith where he also delivered some of the finest work of his career – especially in the highly underrated Red State where he delivered perhaps his most mesmerising monologue ever as a deranged and murderous priest.
The news of Parks’ passing came this morning when director Kevin Smith announced the news with a moving Instagram post where he fondly calls Parks the best actor he’d ever known. (Read his full tribute below). Parks leaves behind a wife (Oriana) and his only son James Parks (who also portrayed his on-screen son in the Tarantino films as a fellow Texas Ranger – and put on an amazing performance himself in The Hateful Eight).
I’ll miss Michael Parks – a lot. He was in some ways the backbone of Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic universe, playing this wise-cracking, too old for this shit ranger, who stole every damn scene he was a part of and that included multiple movies throughout the years. Hell — even Tusk, which was divisive amongst audiences, Parks delivered one helluva performance as a twisted man who kidnaps people and turns them into monstrous walruses. Smith likes to smoke that weed doesn’t he? Say what you will about that film – Parks nailed it and he nailed every single role, every single time no matter the project and because of that – he will be sadly missed. Truly one of the best of all time.
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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