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Sad News From The Entertainment World - Saying Goodbye To A Fan-Favorite Actor

Actor Michael Parks, who rose to public fame with 1960s counterculture roles and later became a favorite of directors Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, has passed away at the age of 77.

Parks died in Los Angeles, according to his agent Jane Schulman, who spoke to the press on Wednesday. No cause of death was mentioned.

In a more than 60-year career, Parks appeared in over 100 films and TV shows. Many of his early roles were in anti-establishment '60s-era films including "Wild Seed," ''The Happening," with Anthony Quinn, and "Bus Riley's Back in Town," alongside Ann-Margret.

He also had the lead role as a disillusioned, motorcycle-riding newsman in the 1969 TV series "Then Came Bronson." Parks, who recorded a number of albums throughout his career, also sang the popular closing theme song for the series, "Long Lonesome Highway."

Parks rose to fame in the 1990s thanks to directors such as Tarantino, Smith and Robert Rodriguez. All of these independent directors used Parks on multiple occasions for serious supporting roles. Tarantino cast him in various roles in both parts of "Kill Bill" and in "Death Proof" in 2007's epic "Grindhouse."

In fact, some of Parks’ characters were so memorable they followed him from filmmaker to filmmaker. For example, he played Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn," and reprised the role in both "Kill Bill" and "Grindhouse."

Smith gave Parks many meaty roles, including his 2014 film "Tusk," working with Johnny Depp, and 2011's "Red State," where he was cast as a preacher. Smith called Parks his "my cinematic muse," in remarks this week.

"Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known," Smith commented on social media. "I wrote both 'Red State' and 'Tusk' 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."

Note that Parks is survived by his wife, Oriana Parks (they married in 1997) and his actor son James Parks.

Source: NBC News
Photo: YouTube

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