Parks in Then Came Bronson (1969)
Harry Samuel Parks
April 24, 1940
Corona, California, U.S.
|Died||May 9, 2017 (aged 77)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1956; div. 1958)
Joanne E. "Jan" Moriarty
(m. 1964; died 1964)
Carolyn Kay Carson
(m. 1969; div. 1977)
Frances Alston Fenci Walker
(m. 1987; div. 1996)
|Children||2, including James Parks|
Michael Parks (born Harry Samuel Parks; April 24, 1940 – May 9, 2017) was an American singer and actor. He appeared in many films and made frequent television appearances, notably starring in the 1969–70 series Then Came Bronson, but was probably best known for his work in his later years with filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith.
As of 2018–2019, Kevin Smith was producing a documentary on Michael's life titled Long Lonesome Highway, The Story of Michael Parks. It stars James Parks, Kurt Russell, Haley Joel Osment, Robert Rodriguez, Leonard Maltin, Mickey Rourke, Justin Long, Wyatt Russell, Mark Frost, and more.
He drifted from job to job during his teenage years, including picking fruit, digging ditches, driving trucks, and fighting forest fires.
Parks married five times. His first marriage in 1956 at age 16 to Louise Johnson lasted until 1958, and produced a daughter. His second marriage in 1964 to actress Jan Moriarty lasted only a few months, ending with her apparent suicide from an overdose. His third marriage in 1968 to Carolyn Kay Carson produced a son, James, and ended in divorce in 1977. His fourth marriage to Alston Fenci, whom he married in 1987, ended in divorce in 1996. In 1997 he married Oriana. The union lasted until his death.
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In 1961, Parks portrayed the nephew of the character George MacMichael on the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys. He appeared with Bette Davis as Cal Leonard in the 1963 Perry Mason episode "The Case of Constant Doyle", and gained recognition in the role of Adam in John Huston's The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966).
Parks was the star of the series Then Came Bronson from 1969 to 1970, in which he rode an iconic red Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster, as he drifted from town to town. He sang "Wayfarin’ Stranger", a duet with pilot episode co-star Bonnie Bedelia, and later the theme song for the show, "Long Lonesome Highway", which became a No. 20 Billboard Hot 100 and No. 41 Hot Country Songs hit. "Lonesome Lonesome Highway" also peaked at number 84 in Australia.
After disputes with the producers of Bronson, Parks said he was informally blacklisted in Hollywood. Parks admitted he could be "difficult on the set" and also said he objected to producers wanting to make the series more violent. After the cancellation of Bronson, Parks didn't work in a major Hollywood production for several years, but he had regular small roles in independent or Canadian features throughout the 1970s.
He played in twelve episodes of ABC's The Colbys, a spin-off from Dynasty, first as Hoyt Parker, and then Phillip Colby during the second season (1986–1987). He appeared as Irish mob boss Tommy O'Shea in Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994), French-Canadian drug runner Jean Renault in the ABC television series Twin Peaks, Dr. Banyard in Deceiver (1997), Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in From Dusk till Dawn (1996), and Ambrose Bierce in From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000).
Parks played two roles in the Kill Bill film series, reprising the role of Earl McGraw in the first film (2003) and playing pimp Esteban Vihaio in the second film (2004). He again reprised the role of Earl McGraw in both segments of the film Grindhouse (2007), making his fourth appearance as the Texas Ranger. His son, James Parks, played the son of Earl McGraw in Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Death Proof and Planet Terror. Parks played a villain in Kevin Smith's horror films Red State (2011) and Tusk (2014).
Smith later announced on his podcast that Parks had recorded an album during Red State's production, after Smith and producer Jon Gordon noticed his singing talent during filming. The album, titled The Red State Sessions, was released on August 15, 2011 as a download from the film's website.
Death and reaction
Parks died on May 9, 2017, in his Los Angeles home at the age of 77. He requested a full body burial at sea, which his wife attended alone. The public memorial service was held at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
Upon hearing the news, director Kevin Smith posted on his Instagram account "Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known. I wrote both Red State and Tusk for Parks, I loved his acting so much." He also included, "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." In a Twitter post, director Robert Rodriguez referred to Michael Parks as "a true legend".
Kevin Smith is producing a documentary on the life and times of Michael Parks, directed by Michael's former assistant, Josh Roush. Long Lonesome Highway covers his beginnings as an itinerant farmer where he hopped boxcars at age 12, through being blacklisted in Hollywood, to his career resurgence at the hands of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino.
|Bus Riley's Back in Town||Bus Riley|
|1966||The Bible: In the Beginning...||Adam|
|Stranger on the Run||Vincent McKay|
|1976||The Last Hard Men||Noel Nye|
|The Savage Bees||Dr. Jeff DuRand|
|1977||Murder at the World Series||Larry Marshall|
|Escape from Bogen County||Jack Kern|
|Sidewinder 1||J.W. Wyatt|
|The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover||Robert F. Kennedy|
|1978||Love and the Midnight Auto Supply||Duke|
|1979||The Evictors||Ben Watkins|
|1980||North Sea Hijack||Harold Shulman|
|1982||Savannah Smiles||Lt. Savage|
|1986||The Return of Josey Wales||Josey Wales||Also director|
|1988||Arizona Heat||Larry Kapinski|
|Nightmare Beach||Doc Willet|
|1989||Caged Fury||Mr. Collins||Also associate producer|
|Prime Suspect||Bill Nevins|
|1991||The Hitman||Det. Ronny "Del" Delany|
|1992||Storyville||Det. Michael Trevllian|
|Over the Line||Pearlmutter|
|1994||Death Wish V: The Face of Death||Tommy O'Shea|
|Stranger by Night||Detective Larson||Direct-to-video|
|1996||From Dusk till Dawn||Earl McGraw|
|1999||From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter||Ambrose Bierce||Direct-to-video|
|2001||Big Bad Love||Mr. Aaron|
|2003||Kill Bill: Volume 1||Earl McGraw|
|The Librarians||William Clark|
|2004||Kill Bill: Volume 2||Esteban Vihaio|
|2005||Miracle at Sage Creek||Justice Stanley|
|2006||The Listening||James Wagley|
|2007||Grindhouse||Earl McGraw||Segments: Planet Terror / Death Proof|
|El Muerto||Sheriff Stone|
|The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford||Henry Craig|
|2008||Noble Things||Pete Collins|
|2010||Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball||Fritz Tremor||Direct-to-DVD|
|2011||Red State||Pastor Abin Cooper|
|Django Unchained||LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee|
|2013||We Are What We Are||Doc Barrow|
|2017||The Queen of Hollywood Blvd||Chet Fuller||Posthumous release|
Final film role
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||Juanito||Episode: "Ransom"|
|1961||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater||The Younger Prisoner||Episode: "The Scar"|
|The Law and Mr. Jones||Mike Enslow||Episode: "One by One"|
|The Asphalt Jungle||Ty||Episode: "The Sniper"|
|Straightaway||Donald Stafford||Episode: "Pledge a Nightmare"|
|The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor||Johnny Blaine, Eddy Washburn, and Jimmy||Episodes: "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", "Personal Enemy", "The Frightened Ones"|
|1962||Gunsmoke||Park||Episode: "The Boys"|
|Target: The Corruptors!||Rocky Kustak||Episode: "Nobody Gets Hurt"|
|Stoney Burke||Tack Reynolds||Episode: "The Mob Riders"|
|The Real McCoys||Tom||Episode: "George's Nephew"|
|Bus Stop||Episode: "The Opposite Virtues"|
|Sam Benedict||Larry Wilcox||Episode: "Too Many Strangers"|
|The Gallant Men||Billy Ray Medford||Episode: "A Place to Die"|
|1963||Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Skip Baxter||Episode: "The Cadaver"|
|1963||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Dr. Daniel Dana||Episode: "Diagnosis: Danger"|
|The Greatest Show on Earth||Cristos||Episode: "The Hanging Man"|
|Perry Mason||Cal Leonard||Episode: "The Case of Constant Doyle"|
|Arrest and Trial||Gregory Wade||Episode: "We May Be Better Strangers"|
|77 Sunset Strip||Eddie Marco||Episode: "Crash Out!"|
|1963–1964||Channing||Dante Donati||2 episodes|
|Wagon Train||Hamish Browne and Michael Malone||Episodes: "The Heather and Hamish Story", "The Michael Malone Story"|
|1964||Route 66||Tank||Episode: "Cries of Persons Close to One"|
|1965||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Lieutenant Colonel Burt Engle||Episode: "A Time for Killing"|
|1969–1970||Then Came Bronson||Jim Bronson||Lead role, 26 episodes; a feature-length pilot was released theatrically in some European countries|
|1970||The Johnny Cash Show||Himself (singing)|
|1973||Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law||Ollie Gregson||Episode: "Sometimes Tough Is Good"|
|Medical Center||Dr. Chris Wells||Episode: "Fatal Memory"|
|1974||Ironside||Professor Riley MacDane||Episode: "A Death in Academe"|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Terry Purvis||Episode: "The Adventure of the Wary Witness"|
|1981||Dial M for Murder||Max||Television film|
|1986, 1988||The Equalizer||Logan / Jonathan Grey||2 episodes|
|1987||The Colbys||Phillip Colby||12 episodes|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Ben Aaron||Episode: "Prediction: Murder"|
|War of the Worlds||Cash McCullough||Episode: "My Soul to Keep"|
|Billy the Kid||Rynerson||Television film|
|1990||The China Lake Murders||Officer Donnelly||Television film|
|1990–1991||Twin Peaks||Jean Renault||5 episodes|
|1991||Shades of L.A.||Rev. James Scarborough||2 episodes|
|1993||SeaQuest 2032||George Le Chein||Episode: "To Be or Not To Be"|
|1993||The Untouchables||Dion O'Banion||Pilot episode, billed as guest star|
|1996||Hart to Hart||Evan Powell||Episode: "Secrets of the Hart"|
|1996, 1999||Walker, Texas Ranger||Major Caleb Hooks||2 episodes|
This section does not cite any sources. (August 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- 1969 – Closing The Gap (MGM)
- 1970 – Long Lonesome Highway (MGM)
- 1970 – Blue (MGM)
- 1970 – Lost & Found (Verve)
- 1971 – Best Of Michael Parks (MGM)
- 1981 – You Don't Know Me (First American)
- 1998 – Coolin' Soup (Listen)
- 2011 – The Red State Sessions (SModcast)
- Singles include Long Lonesome Highway/Mountain High (MGM K 14104); Big "T" Water/Won't You Ride in My Little Red Wagon (MGM K 14363); Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again (MGM K 14092); Sally/Spend A Little, Save A Little, Give A Little Away (MGM K 14154) (all from 1970).
- "Obituaries for 8/17". The Daily Sentinel. August 17, 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
- "Michael Parks". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- "Long Lonesome Highway". ParksDoc.com. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Long Lonesome Highway: The Story of Michael Parks, Kevin Smith, Haley Joel Osment, Wyatt Russell, 2019, retrieved August 16, 2018CS1 maint: others (link)
- Evans, Greg (May 10, 2017). "Michael Parks Dies: 'Then Came Bronson', 'Kill Bill' Actor Was 77". Deadline Hollywood. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- "Harry Samuel Parks". California Birth Index. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- "Michael Parks, 'Kill Bill' and 'Twin Peaks' Actor, Dies at 77". NBC News. Associated Press. May 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- Bucher, Chris (May 10, 2017). "Michael Parks' Wives: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
- Frasier, David K. (September 11, 2015). Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-0807-5.
- III, Harris M. Lentz (April 30, 2018). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2017. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-7032-4.
- "PERRY MASON: THE CASE OF CONSTANT DOYLE (TV)". Raymond Burr. The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
- Brockman, Dave. "The Case of Constant Doyle". Perry Mason TV Series. Big Dave Brockman's Perry Mason TV Series Wiki. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
- Cooley, Patrick. "Actor Michael Parks' seven best roles during his decades-long career". Cleveland. Advance Local. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
- Nichols, Dave (May 8, 2010). One Percenter: The Legend of the Outlaw Biker. Motorbooks. ISBN 978-0-7603-3829-2.
- "Michael Parks, Star of Then Came Bronson, Dies at 77". Ultimate Motorcycling. May 12, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
- Leszczak, Bob (June 25, 2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950-2000. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-4274-6.
- Whitburn, Joel (August 2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 229. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Liam Brennan The Blacklisting of Michael Parks: How a Hollywood Star Was Quietly Shunned, The Artifice, September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2019
- Gordon, Dr Roger L. (September 7, 2018). Supporting Actors in Motion Pictures: Volume II. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4809-5841-8.
- Browning, Mark (July 19, 2012). George Clooney: An Actor Looking for a Role. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-39622-9.
- "Michael Parks dies, aged 77". denofgeek.com. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- "Michael Parks, 'Twin Peaks' Actor and Tarantino Favorite, Dead at 77". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- Kelley, Seth (May 10, 2017). "Michael Parks, Character Actor in 'Kill Bill' and 'Tusk,' Dies at 77". Variety. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
- "RIP Michael Parks: Hollywood's most underrated actor?". BBC. May 10, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- "Michael Parks and I". Film Threat. May 11, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- "Josh Roush [Interview]". TRAINWRECK'D SOCIETY. November 5, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- Pitts, Michael R. (December 21, 2012). Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6372-5.
- Harrison, John (September 28, 2012). Hip Pocket Sleaze: The Lurid World of Vintage Adult Paperbacks. SCB Distributors. ISBN 978-1-900486-98-9.
- Prouty (1996). Variety and Daily Variety Television Reviews, 1993-1994. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-8240-3797-0.