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R.I.P. Michael Parks, Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith favorite

Photo: Todd Williamson Archive / Getty Images
Photo: Todd Williamson Archive / Getty Images

Michael Parks, the longtime character actor who was a favorite of directors like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Kevin Smith, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The news was confirmed by his agent, who declined to name a cause of death. He was 77.

Parks was born in 1940 in Corona, California, where he worked manual labor jobs like picking fruit and driving trucks before his breakthrough on the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys in 1961. Although he also appeared in films during the decade, he remained an in-demand TV actor throughout the 1960s, starring in the counterculture drama series Then Came Bronson in 1969-1970. (Parks also recorded the theme song to the show, “Long Lonesome Highway,” which led to a three-album run at MGM.)

Parks worked steadily throughout the ’70s and ’80s, and scored another breakout role as Canadian drug runner Jean Renault on the second season of Twin Peaks. A few years later, director Robert Rodriguez cast him as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), a role he would later reprise in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies and in both the Planet Terror and Death Proof segments of Grindhouse (2007). He also appeared in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo (2012), Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2013), and Kevin Smith’s Tusk (2014) and Red State (2011).

Parks is survived by his wife Oriana and son James Parks, who is also an actor.

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