Michael Parks Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (23)

Overview (4)

Born in Corona, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (blockage in coronary arteries and pneumonia)
Birth NameHarry Samuel Parks
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Parks is known as an actor's actor by his peers with a breadth of astonishing range that has allowed him to portray stunning contrasts--sometimes in the same film, like in Tusk (2014), starring in dual roles as an erudite serial killer opposite Justin Long, and as a feeble rube opposite Johnny Depp. In Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). Parks portrayed spot-on contrasting roles as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw and the heavily accented Esteban Vihaio opposite Uma Thurman. Writers/directors, including Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino, wrote roles specifically for Parks, claiming all they need to do is "turn on the camera" to elicit a masterful performance.

Parks has played in more than 100 films and TV shows over a 50-year career. He started as a contract player in 1961 with the portrayal of the nephew of the character George MacMichael on the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys (1957). He played Adam in John Huston's 1966 movie The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966). His other early roles includes appearances in two NBC series: Sam Benedict: Too Many Strangers (1962) as "Larry Wilcox" and as "Dr. Mark Reynolds" in The Eleventh Hour: Pressure Breakdown (1963). He also starred in The China Lake Murders (1990) and Stranger by Night (1994), playing a police officer in both.

From 1969-70 he starred in the series Then Came Bronson (1969), in which he was the only recurring character. He sang the theme song for the show, "Long Lonesome Highway", which became a #20 Billboard Hot 100 and #41 Hot Country Songs hit. Albums he recorded under MGM Records (the label of the studio which produced the series) include "Closing The Gap" (1969)," Long Lonesome Highway" (1970) and "Blue". He also had various records of songs included on these albums. He played Philip Colby during the second season (1986-87) of ABC's Dynasty (1981) spin-off series The Colbys (1985). He played the antagonist Irish mob boss Tommy O'Shea in Death Wish: The Face of Death (1994) (1994), French-Canadian drug runner Jean Renault in the ABC television series Twin Peaks (1990), 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 (1999). After playing Earl McGraw in the "Kill Bill" film series he reprised the role in both segments of the film Grindhouse (2007). In Red State (2011) as villain Abin Cooper, quoting the Bible and issuing homicidal directives in the same gently insinuating voice, Parks plays a disturbingly soft-spoken psycho making the talk all the more convincing and scary with his brilliant delivery affecting a folksy "down-home" accent , knowing just how to modulate his remarks for maximum effect; most reviewers agreed with "Hollywood Reporter" writer Todd McCarthy that he is mesmerizing as he spews Cooper's hate in a way that brooks no argument . In "Tusk" as Howard Howe, a real-life ancient mariner (a role Kevin Smith tailor-made for him), "Parks has such light in his eyes, fire in his belly and a mellifluous purr in his voice" that "Variety" wrote, "it would probably be a pleasure to watch him recite the Manitoba phone book".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: J.S. (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Family (4)

Spouse Oriana Parks (13 February 1997 - 9 May 2017)  (his death)
Alston Fenci (1987 - 1996)  (divorced)
Carolyn Kay Carson (13 November 1969 - 13 July 1977)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Jan Moriarty (11 January 1964 - 2 March 1964)  (her death)
Louise M. Johnson (21 November 1956 - 1958)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children James Parks
Parents Parks, Harry
Relatives Parks, Jimmy (sibling)

Trade Mark (2)

Calm, gravelly voice
His intense, chameleon-like performances

Trivia (23)

Lived on a yacht in the Monterey, California, harbor in the early 1980s.
The theme song "Long Lonesome Highway" from Parks' TV series Then Came Bronson (1969), sung by Parks himself, was penned by James Hendricks, a Greenwich Village folksinger who was married to Cass Elliot of The Mamas and the Papas, not by Jimi Hendrix. The song became a Top 40 hit in 1970.
Prior to becoming an actor. his jobs included picking fruit, digging ditches, driving trucks and fighting forest fires.
Turned down an offer to play minor league baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates because he was making more money upholstering caskets.
Attempted to qualify for the 1972 Olympics as a miler, running a time of 4:06.
Recorded a half-dozen country/blues/jazz albums in the late '60s and early '70s.
He played Earl McGraw, the police officer with bad puns, in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and then played Esteban Vinaio, the 80-year-old, smooth Mexican pimp who once was Bill's mentor in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). This makes him only one of two actors to appear in both Kill Bill films playing different characters. The other person to play separate roles in both films is Chia-Hui Liu.
The official "Kill Bill" websites claim that he is "frequently cited by longtime fan Quentin Tarantino as the world's greatest living actor.".
Was a close friend of legendary director Jean Renoir.
He played the character of Earl McGraw in three separate films involving Quentin Tarantino: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Grindhouse (2007) (both Death Proof (2007) and Planet Terror (2007)).
He was a pall bearer for Lenny Bruce.
Was discovered by Frank Silvera while acting in a play entitled "Compulsion" at age 18.
The pilot movie of the series Then Came Bronson (1969) is based on the life of Birney Jarvis, the real Bronson and is credited in the movie as Assistant to the producer. Birney Jarvis initials were reversed for the character name Jim Bronson.
Michael Parks was one of five siblings whose father was a baseball player. Michael's brother, Jimmy, drowned in 1968. Michael drifted from job to job in his early teens. His son, James (named for his late uncle), also became an actor.
Parks' second wife, a small-part actress named Jan Moriarty, took a fatal overdose of pills in 1964, less than two months after their marriage. He was briefly married at sixteen with Louise Johnson with which he had a daughter. In 1997 he married Oriana Parks with a ceremony without any attendants.
Played the lead, an aging, misguided NSA listener in indie thriller In ascolto (2006). [2006]
Refused a role in a remake of "Beau Geste". That conflict triggered the end of a long-term contract with Universal and left Parks out of work for two years, apart from a few made-for-TV movies.
Turned down the Then Came Bronson (1969) pilot twice because he didn't like the script. They later rewrote it.
Declined to cover "Mr. Tambourine Man" as the end title theme of Then Came Bronson (1969).
Marlon Brando was going to star in Wild Seed (1965), produced by Brando's father, but it was later decided that Brando was too old for the part and Parks was cast instead.
As per his request, his body was buried at sea and his wife Oriana was his only witness .
He did a lot of rewriting on some mediocre scripts he had to work with . He disliked the lines the writers gave his character in the opening scene of "Then came Bronson" pilot and replaced with an impromptu " Hang in there!" .

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