Michael Parks is dead.
The character actor was 77 years old.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith took to Instagram to announce the thespian’s death. “He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform,” Smith says.
“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.”
Parks began his career in television during the 1950s and early 1960s. He is known for his roles in The Real McCoys and Then Came Bronson. In 1966, his first big film part was Adam in John Huston’s The Bible: In The Beginning.
Aside from acting, Parks had a recording career as a musician. While working on Then Came Bronson, he scored a Top 20 hit with the show’s theme song, “Long Lonesome Highway.” His talent can be seen on The Johnny Cash Show. During the making of Red State, Parks performed several hymns for the film. These became part of an album titled The Red State Sessions.
In later years, Parks got a career revival. He won the part of Jean Renault in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Despite being a ruthless criminal, Jean manages to be charming and soft-spoken. As the show progresses, his true nature comes to light, which leads to a shootout in the second season.
On the big screen, he found success working with Quentin Tarantino. He became known to a new generation of fans with his role as Earl McGraw in From Dusk till Dawn. Later, he appeared in Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2, Grindhouse, and Django Unchained.
In 2011, Parks starred as extremist pastor Abin Cooper in Smith’s horror film Red State. He later retimed with the director as a sinister mariner in 2014’s Tusk.
“My favorite memory of Michael is watching him and Johnny Depp act with and at each other, like a couple of dueling wizards, in their shared scene in Tusk,” Smith says. “Parks was in Heaven that day, sharing the screen with another brilliant actor and creating an unforgettable performance.”
Parks is survived by his wife and two children. The cause of death is not yet known.