Then Came Bronson Star Michael Parks Dies
Michael Parks, the star of motorcycle hit Then Came Bronson, Twin Peaks and auteur director Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, among others, died Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at the age of 77. The cause of death was not reported.
If you were a kid coming into the age where your favorite two-wheeler had to have an engine back in 1969, chances are one of your favorite TV shows was an action drama called Then Came Bronson, starring Parks.
The show aired on NBC from the fall of 1969 through spring of 1970. Parks portrayed the lead character, Jim Bronson, who sets out to see America on a Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster he inherited from a friend who committed suicide in the series pilot.
We took a look back at the series in 2014, the 45th anniversary of the show going on the air. Check out our Then Came Bronson retrospective.
While Then Came Bronson was Parks’ defining role for fans of the show, he had a much larger career apart from it. Appearing in more than 100 films and TV shows, his career spanned over 50 years, starting with the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys in 1961.
By 1969, he landed the leading role in Then Came Bronson, and it was his voice singing the show’s closing theme song, “Long, Lonesome Highway,” which was written by James Hendricks. He recorded three albums around the same time.
In more recent years, Parks appeared in Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Red State, Twin Peaks, and Tusk.
In addition to his acting and singing, Parks was a remarkable athlete. He turned down an offer to play minor league professional baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates and also tried out for the 1972 summer Olympic team in the mile.
Parks was born April 24, 1940 in Corona, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Oriana, whom he married in 1997, and a son, actor James Parks.