Michael Parks dead: Twin Peaks and Kill Bill actor dies aged 77

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The Independent Culture

Michael Parks, who starred in the cult TV series Twin Peaks and the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill II, has died aged 77.

Director and close friend Kevin Smith announced the news via social media channels Twitter and Instagram, and it was confirmed by Parks agent.

The veteran actor died on Tuesday morning, Jane Schulman from Vesta Talent Agency said. She called Parks the “greatest living actor”.

His first screen roles included playing a nephew named Tom in 1961 in the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys and the role of Park in a 1962 Gunsmoke episode.

He also appeared in legal dramas like Perry Mason and Sam Benedict, and had a role in Then Came Bronson.

He played French-Canadian drug runner Jean Renault in the ABC television series Twin Peaks. The prolific actor also had a late-career surge, working with directors including Smith, Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez. In the first and second Kill Bill films he played Texas Ranger Earl McGraw and Esteban Vihaio.


Smith, who cast Parks as a villain in horror films Red State and Tusk, said he had written the films "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."

He called him a "Yoda of acting", adding his favourite memory was of Parks and Johnny Depp working together "like a couple of duelling 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 f****** blessed to have worked with this bonafide genius. But really, I was just lucky to have known him at all.”

He added: “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.”His 50-year career saw him appear in more than 100 films and TV shows, beginning in 1961 in ABC sitcom The Real McCoys.

A close friend of Johnny Cash, Parks was also a singer and recorded the theme song for Long Lonesome Highway as well as three studio albums.

Parks was born in Corona, California in April 1940 and is survived by his wife Oriana and their son, James.

Press Association