11 May 2017

Kill Bill actor Michael Parks dies

9:47 am on 11 May 2017

Michael Parks, who was named by directors Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith as one of their favourite actors, has died at the age of 77.

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Michael Parks at the 2014 premiere of the film Tusk. Photo: AFP

Mr Smith broke the news, describing Parks as "the best actor I've ever known" and "the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform".

Mr Smith cast him in Red State and Tusk, while he appeared in both of Tarantino's Kill Bill films.

Mr Tarantino described him in 1997 as "one of my favourite actors in the world".

Mr Parks made his name on US TV in the 1960s and with film roles including Adam in director John Huston's 1966 epic The Bible: In the Beginning...

He had the lead role in TV series Then Came Bronson in 1969-70 - which Mr Tarantino described as "the most naturalistic acting I've ever seen on a TV show".

He was likened at the time to James Dean - but never had a major breakthrough and his career faded.

There were suggestions that he was shunned by Hollywood studios - which has been attributed to him speaking out about the violence in Then Came Bronson, a contract dispute with Universal, or being difficult to work with.

Something of a career revival began when David Lynch cast him as Jean Renault in the second season of Twin Peaks, which aired in 1990.

'A true legend'

His other film credits included Django Unchained, Grindhouse, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Argo.

Director Robert Rodriguez, who cast him in From Dusk Till Dawn, said in 2011: "He was always considered to be the actor who should replace James Dean when James Dean passed, and his naturalism was just amazing to watch."

Responding to the news of Mr Parks's death, Mr Rodriguez wrote on Twitter: "A heartfelt farewell to the one and only Michael Parks. A very kind man and a true legend."

In his Instagram tribute on Wednesday, Kevin Smith added: "He elevated any flick or TV show he was in and elevated every director he ever acted for. I was so... blessed to have worked with this bona fide genius."