Michael Parks (born Harry Samuel Parks; April 24, 1940 – May 9, 2017) was an American singer and actor. He appeared in many films and made frequent television appearances, notably starring in the 1969-70 series Then Came Bronson, but was probably best known for his work in his later years with filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith.
Parks in Then Came Bronson (1969)
Harry Samuel Parks
April 24, 1940
Corona, California, U.S.
|Died||May 9, 2017 77) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Children||2, including James Parks|
As of 2018-2019, Kevin Smith was producing a documentary on Michael's life titled Long Lonesome Highway, The Story of Michael Parks. It stars James Parks, Kurt Russell, Haley Joel Osment, Robert Rodriguez, Leonard Maltin, Mickey Rourke, Justin Long, Wyatt Russell, Mark Frost, and more.
Parks was born in Corona, California.
His first marriage at age 16 to Louise Johnson produced a daughter. His second marriage in 1964 to actress Jan Moriarty lasted only a few months, ending with her apparent suicide from an overdose. His third marriage produced a son, James. After living in New Orleans in the 1980s and ending his fourth marriage in 1991, he moved back to California. In 1997 he married Oriana. The union lasted until his death.
In 1961, Parks portrayed the nephew of the character George MacMichael on the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys. He appeared with Bette Davis as Cal Leonard in the 1963 Perry Mason episode "The Case of Constant Doyle", and gained recognition in the role of Adam in John Huston's The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966).
Parks was the star of the series Then Came Bronson from 1969 to 1970. He sang “Wayfarin’ Stranger“, a duet with pilot episode co-star Bonnie Bedelia, and later the theme song for the show, "Long Lonesome Highway", which became a #20 Billboard Hot 100 and #41 Hot Country Songs hit. Albums he recorded under MGM Records (the label of the studio which produced the series) include Closing The Gap (1969), Long Lonesome Highway (1970), and Blue. He had various records of songs included on these albums.
After disputes with the producers of Bronson, Parks said he was informally blacklisted in Hollywood. Parks admitted he could be "difficult on the set" and also said he objected to producers wanting to make the series more violent. After the cancellation of Bronson Parks didn't work in a major Hollywood production for several years but had regular small roles in independent or Canadian features throughout the 1970s.
He played in twelve episodes of ABC's The Colbys, a spin-off from Dynasty, first as Hoyt Parker, and then Phillip Colby during the second season (1986–1987). He appeared as Irish mob boss Tommy O'Shea in Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994), French-Canadian drug runner Jean Renault in the ABC television series Twin Peaks, Dr. Banyard in Deceiver (1997), Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in From Dusk till Dawn (1996), and Ambrose Bierce in From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000).
Parks played two roles in the Kill Bill film series, reprising the role of Earl McGraw in the first film (2003) and playing pimp Esteban Vihaio in the second film (2004). He reprised the role of Earl McGraw in both segments of the film Grindhouse (2007). His son, James Parks, played the son of Earl McGraw in Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Death Proof and Planet Terror. Parks played a villain in Kevin Smith's horror films Red State (2011) and Tusk (2014).
Smith later announced on his podcast that Parks had recorded an album during Red State's production, after Smith and producer Jon Gordon noticed his singing talent during filming. The album, titled The Red State Sessions, was released on August 15, 2011 as a download from the film's website.
Death and reaction
Parks died on May 9, 2017, in his Los Angeles home at the age of 77. He requested a full body burial at sea which his wife attended alone. The public memorial service was held at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
Upon hearing the news, director Kevin Smith posted on his Instagram account "Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known. I wrote both Red State and Tusk for Parks, I loved his acting so much." He also included, "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." In a Twitter post, director Robert Rodriguez referred to Michael Parks as "a true legend".
Kevin Smith is producing a documentary on the life and times of Michael Parks, directed by Michael's former assistant, Josh Roush. Long Lonesome Highway covers his beginnings as an itinerant farmer where he hopped boxcars at age 12, through being blacklisted in Hollywood, to his career resurgence at the hands of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino.
|Bus Riley's Back in Town||Bus Riley|
|1966||The Bible: In the Beginning...||Adam|
|Stranger on the Run||Vincent McKay|
|1976||The Last Hard Men||Noel Nye|
|The Savage Bees||Dr. Jeff DuRand|
|1977||Murder at the World Series||Larry Marshall|
|Escape from Bogen County||Jack Kern|
|Sidewinder 1||J.W. Wyatt|
|The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover||Robert F. Kennedy|
|1978||Love and the Midnight Auto Supply||Duke|
|1979||The Evictors||Ben Watkins|
|North Sea Hijack||Harold Shulman|
|1982||Savannah Smiles||Lt. Savage|
|1986||The Return of Josey Wales||Josey Wales||Also director|
|1988||Arizona Heat||Larry Kapinski|
|Nightmare Beach||Doc Willet|
|1989||Caged Fury||Mr. Collins||Also associate producer|
|Prime Suspect||Bill Nevins|
|1991||The Hitman||Det. Ronny "Del" Delany|
|1992||Storyville||Det. Michael Trevllian|
|Over the Line||Pearlmutter|
|1994||Death Wish V: The Face of Death||Tommy O'Shea|
|Stranger by Night||Detective Larson||Direct-to-video|
|1996||From Dusk till Dawn||Earl McGraw|
|1999||From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter||Ambrose Bierce||Direct-to-video|
|2001||Big Bad Love||Mr. Aaron|
|2003||Kill Bill: Volume 1||Earl McGraw|
|The Librarians||William Clark|
|2004||Kill Bill: Volume 2||Esteban Vihaio|
|2005||Miracle at Sage Creek||Justice Stanley|
|2006||The Listening||James Wagley|
|2007||Grindhouse||Earl McGraw||Segments: Planet Terror / Death Proof|
|El Muerto||Sheriff Stone|
|The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford||Henry Craig|
|2008||Noble Things||Pete Collins|
|2010||Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball||Fritz Tremor||Direct-to-DVD|
|2011||Red State||Pastor Abin Cooper|
|Django Unchained||LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee|
|2013||We Are What We Are||Doc Barrow|
|2017||The Queen of Hollywood Blvd||Chet Fuller||Posthumous release|
Final film role
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||Juanito||Episode: "Ransom"|
|1961||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||The Younger Prisoner||Episode: "The Scar"|
|The Law and Mr. Jones||Mike Enslow||Episode: "One by One"|
|The Asphalt Jungle||Ty||Episode: "The Sniper"|
|Straightaway||Episode: "Pledge a Nightmare"|
|The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor||Johnny Blaine, Eddy Washburn, and Jimmy||Episodes: "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", "Personal Enemy", "The Frightened Ones"|
|1962||Gunsmoke||Park||Episode: "The Boys"|
|Target: The Corruptors!||Rocky Kustak||Episode: "Nobody Gets Hurt"|
|Stoney Burke||Tack Reynolds||Episode: "The Mob Riders"|
|The Real McCoys||Tom||Episode: "George's Nephew"|
|Bus Stop||Episode: "The Opposite Virtues"|
|Sam Benedict||Larry Wilcox||Episode: "Too Many Strangers"|
|The Gallant Men||Billy Ray Medford||Episode: "A Place to Die"|
|1963||Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Skip Baxter||Episode: "The Cadaver"|
|1963||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Dr. Daniel Dana||Episode: "Diagnosis: Danger"|
|The Greatest Show on Earth||Cristos||Episode: "The Hanging Man"|
|Perry Mason||Cal Leonard||Episode: "The Case of Constant Doyle"|
|Arrest and Trial||Gregory Wade||Episode: "We May Be Better Strangers"|
|77 Sunset Strip||Eddie Marco||Episode: "Crash Out!"|
|1963–1964||Channing||Dante Donati||2 episodes|
|Wagon Train||Hamish Browne and Michael Malone||Episodes: "The Heather and Hamish Story", "The Michael Malone Story"|
|1964||Route 66||Tank||Episode: "Cries of Persons Close to One"|
|1965||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Lieutenant Colonel Burt Engle||Episode: "A Time for Killing"|
|1969–1970||Then Came Bronson||Jim Bronson||Lead role, 26 episodes|
|1973||Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law||Ollie Gregson||Episode: "Sometimes Tough Is Good"|
|Medical Center||Dr. Chris Wells||Episode: "Fatal Memory"|
|1974||Ironside||Professor Riley MacDane||Episode: "A Death in Academe"|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Terry Purvis||Episode: "The Adventure of the Wary Witness"|
|1986, 1988||The Equalizer||Logan / Jonathan Grey||2 episodes|
|1987||The Colbys||Phillip Colby||12 episodes|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Ben Aaron||Episode: "Prediction: Murder"|
|War of the Worlds||Cash McCullough||Episode: "My Soul to Keep"|
|Billy the Kid||Rynerson||Television film|
|1990||The China Lake Murders||Officer Donnelly||Television film|
|1990–1991||Twin Peaks||Jean Renault||5 episodes|
|1991||Shades of L.A.||Rev. James Scarborough||2 episodes|
|1993||SeaQuest 2032||George Le Chein||Episode: "To Be or Not To Be"|
|1996||Hart to Hart||Evan Powell||Episode: "Secrets of the Hart"|
|1996, 1999||Walker, Texas Ranger||Major Caleb Hooks||2 episodes|
- 1969 – Closing The Gap (MGM)
- 1970 – Long Lonesome Highway (MGM)
- 1970 – Blue (MGM)
- 1970 – Lost & Found (Verve)
- 1971 – Best Of Michael Parks (MGM)
- 1981 – You Don't Know Me (First American)
- 1998 – Coolin' Soup (Listen)
- 2011 – The Red State Sessions (SModcast)
- Singles include Long Lonesome Highway/Mountain High (MGM K 14104); Big "T" Water/Won't You Ride In My Little Red Wagon (MGM K 14363); Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again (MGM K 14092); Sally/Spend A Little, Save A Little, Give A Little Away (MGM K 14154) (all from 1970).
- "Obituaries for 8/17". The Daily Sentinel. August 17, 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
- "Michael Parks". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- "Long Lonesome Highway". ParksDoc.com. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Long Lonesome Highway: The Story of Michael Parks, Kevin Smith, Haley Joel Osment, Wyatt Russell, 2019, retrieved August 16, 2018CS1 maint: others (link)
- Evans, Greg (May 10, 2017). "Michael Parks Dies: 'Then Came Bronson', 'Kill Bill' Actor Was 77". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2019 – via deadline.com.
- "Harry Samuel Parks". California Birth Index. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- "Michael Parks, 'Kill Bill' and 'Twin Peaks' Actor, Dies at 77". NBC News. Associated Press. May 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- Whitburn, Joel (August 2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 315. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Liam Brennan The Blacklisting of Michael Parks: How a Hollywood Star Was Quietly Shunned, The-Artifice.com, Sep 12, 2013; accessed Sep 06, 2019
- "Michael Parks dies, aged 77". denofgeek.com. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- "Michael Parks, 'Twin Peaks' Actor and Tarantino Favorite, Dead at 77". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- Kelley, Seth (May 10, 2017). "Michael Parks, Character Actor in 'Kill Bill' and 'Tusk,' Dies at 77". Variety. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
- "RIP Michael Parks: Hollywood's most underrated actor?". bbc.com. May 10, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- "Michael Parks and I". Film Threat. May 11, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- "Josh Roush [Interview]". TRAINWRECK'D SOCIETY. November 5, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.