Wednesday, May 10, 2017

R.I.P., Michael Parks

Dammit––another great one gone.

Parks as Ambrose Bierce in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3.

From playing "Adam" in THE BIBLE to "Josey" in THE RETURN OF JOSEY WALES to the scariest Renault brother in TWIN PEAKS to Norris antagonist in THE HITMAN to his latter-day Rodriguez and Tarantino-fueled resurgence, Michael Parks always brought his A-game. Whether he was in a television bit part, or a villain in a straight-to-video actioner, he was bringing Shakespearean complexity and Strasbergian specificity to his roles, fusing the diligence of a craftsman with the fervency of a true believer.

I'll leave you with a true celebration of his acting chops––a brief scene in DEATH WISH 5 that can only be described as "Michael Parks forcing Charles Bronson to question his sexuality":
You'll be missed, Mr. Parks.


Cannon said...

Yeah. A solemn bummer. Parks was definitely a snake-in-the-grass of lurid genre cinema along with its sub-television forms. And I mean that in a good way. As a predecessor, he was like the Laurence Olivier of Billy Dragos (plural).

I'm glad you referenced The Hitman, which was my introduction to his work and thus will always remain that special first impression (also, The Hitman on principle alone...), no matter how much I've adored his more popular roles since. And let me mention 1988's Arizona Heat as well, where he plays a reckless lawman who teams up with a lesbian partner played by Star Trek: TNG's Denise Crosby in order to track down a serial cop-killer. No bullshit.


Sean Gill said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And I can't believe I've never seen ARIZONA HEAT!

gweeps said...

Death Wish 5 has my favourite Parks performance.

I didn't know he did some Alfred Hitchcock episodes. I'll have to track them down.

Sean Gill said...


Yes! That DEATH WISH 5 performance is incredibly layered and so bizarre, that there's no way that role existed as written. I'd love to check out the Hitchcock episodes, too.

John Guedes said...

It should also be noted that the man recorded a few country music albums around '69/'70, I see them pop up in the second hand stores from time to time.

I'll always love him for playing Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in the Tarantino universe, with such classic lines as "Pete, when you gonna learn that damn microwave food gone kill you quicker than a bullet."

Sean Gill said...


Wow, I'll have to check out his music––I had no idea. And yeah, Earl McGraw is certainly one of his finest achievements.