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Michael Parks Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (25)

Overview (4)

Born in Corona, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameHarry Samuel Parks
Height 6' (1.83 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 V: 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) (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 and 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)

Spouse (5)

Oriana Parks (13 February 1997 - 9 May 2017) (his death)
Alston Fenci (1987 - 1996) (divorced)
Carolyn Kay Carson (13 November 1969 - 13 December 1979) (divorced) (1 child)
Jan Moriarty (11 January 1964 - 2 March 1964) (her death)
Louise M. Johnson (21 November 1956 - 1958) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Calm, gravelly voice
His intense, chameleon-like performances
Often worked with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez

Trivia (25)

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.
His father Harry was a baseball player. His son James is also an actor.
He has 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 of the series Then Came Bronson (1969) reflects and drew heavily on the background of Parks' own life story.
His brother Jimmy drowned in 1968.
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.
Was one of five children of an itinerant laborer. Like the rest of his family, Parks drifted from job to job in his early teens, briefly marrying at age 16.
Plays the lead, an aging, misguided NSA listener in indie thriller In ascolto (2006). [2006]
Filming a new movie Julian Po (1997) with Christian Slater and Robin Tunney. [1996]
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.
In the opening of Then Came Bronson (1969) pilot, Bronson drives up to a red light in San Francisco and briefly chats with a commuter introducing Bronson's signature-phrase which he often uses in the episodes "Hang in there".
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 . His wife also held a funeral at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery for the rest of family and friends.

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