The Blacklisting of Michael Parks: How a Hollywood Star Was Quietly Shunned

In 1970 Michael Parks was one of the most popular and idolised faces on American television. After years of appearing in minor roles, he finally hit the big time as the motorcycle riding protagonist of the hit TV series Bronson, which was seen by millions of viewers on a weekly basis. His appeal was widespread and his chiselled good looks made him a symbol of both masculinity and femininity, appealing to both male and female viewers.

However, for Parks, the immense popularity he gained during this time would disappear just as quickly as it came. After making some less than complementary comments about the Hollywood system and making moral judgements regarding the content of Bronson, he was quietly blacklisted by the major film studios and TV networks, hindering his career for several decades.

Michael Parks might have been a major Hollywood actor.
Michael Parks might have been a major Hollywood actor.

Hollywood’s blacklisting of actors was no new occurrence; with the most infamous case being the ‘Hollywood ten’ incident of the 1950s in which ten filmmaking personnel were persecuted by the United States congress for refusing to clarify their stance on communist ideology. However, a less publicised blacklisting happened to Park in the early 70s, and it would hinder his career for decades to follow.

The Hollywood system was not new to having their actors accept their place as performers, being little more than mouthpieces for the studio, just looking good for the cameras and generally shying away from views that might go again against the views of middle America. But Parks is a man of an outspoken nature, and made no secret of his contempt for Bronson’s producers deciding to make the character more aggressive, and to raise the levels of violence on the show. At this time, American homes were receiving nightly footage of the ongoing bloody and nationally divisive Vietnam War, and studio’s felt they needed more aggressive protagonists’ on television to reflect support for the increasingly unpopular war effort.

Once he made his view felt, both publically and privately, the wrath of Hollywood executives was, according to parks, quiet yet vitriolic. The actor quickly went from being one of the most sought after actors in the industry to not finding acting work for four years after Bronson’s abrupt cancellation. Parks claimed: “If you don’t play the game, you don’t work”. During the 70s and 80s, he could only muster sporadic appearances in independent films.

Hollywood’s blacklist didn’t stop Parks from being creative outside of the acting world though. He continued the singing career he began before Bronson, and produced several gold selling country and western albums. He also attempted to join America’s long-distance-running squad to compete for the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada, but to no avail.

Parks acknowledged how the only avenue for finding acting work during this time was with directors who worked outside the Hollywood sphere of influence. These were filmmakers that admired Parks’ work and intentionally sought him out, like Earl Bellamy, who cast him in the low-key movie ‘Sidewinder One’ in 1977.

The ‘New Hollywood’ movement of the 70s that offered alternative views to the excessive cold war morals that were synonymous with previous filmmaking gave rise to new outspoken filmmaking personnel whose views did not conform to the views of the past, such as Martin Scorsese and actor Jack Nicholson. Parks might have found a home in this filmmaking style, but his reputation was damaged too early to have been established with this movement.

However, there is some concern regarding the veracity of the version of events that Parks tells. In a 1977 interview he made remarks that reveal a different side to the blacklisted performer views, admitting he could be a challenging performer when making movies: “sure I had a reputation for being difficult on the set […] I have my own ideas of how a role should be played”. Comments like this suggest there might have been a deeper reasoning behind the blacklist, as his tendency to question authority could be at least part of the dismissal he received.

Parks’ finding work through director’s that feel a personal admiration for him has been a great help to his returning to prominence. He slowly broke back into the mainstream with supporting roles, including a memorable role in David Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks, and has since been repeatedly cast in the work of Quentin Tarantino, who calls him the “the world’s greatest living actor”.

Parks could have been one of the biggest names in movie and television. He had the charm, talent and charisma to be a superstar, but he will forever be known and remembered as a cult figure instead. Now aged 73, he occasionally mentions his past. In a podcast to promote the 2011 movie Red State by Kevin Smith (another director who admires him), he didn’t express any regret or even show resentment for how his career has turned out. Even at the height of his blacklisting, Parks simply remarked, “I’m just paying the price for living by my own values”.

So was he just an actor ahead of his time? In today’s filmmaking world, a rebellious artist is usually admired and praised by Hollywood studios. There are probably hundreds of promising careers that were flattened by the steam roller of Hollywood values and rules, but Parks is a survivor and proof that you can stand up to the Hollywood beast and still have a strong career. His supporting roles in recent Oscar-winning films like Argo and Django Unchained has certainly proved this.

Do you think blacklisting continues behind the scenes in Hollywood today?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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My name is Liam Brennan. I am about to graduate from The University if the West of England with a degree in Film and English.

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  1. I never really believed that this happened. Amazing and really shame.

    • Mark Martinez

      If you look at Mr. Parks´ credits on you will see that he never stopped working on films and TV. 145 credits as of 2016 not bad at all if you consider other actors of his generation, let´s say Troy Donahue with 99 credits. This article about a “blacklisting” is a lot of BS.

      • Charlie

        Yeah, I really don’t believe this ‘blacklisting’ talk. I think it’s more like he had a bad reputation that was catching up to him and cutting off his opportunities to do bigger things.

        I’m reading about him in the oral history of Twin Peaks and even though they talk about it like it’s funny, he sounds kind of like an asshole in a lot of ways. They talk about casting him on the show and he was doing French-Canadian accent and then he was told that the brothers of his character, characters who had appeared in earlier episodes, didn’t have an accent. His response to that, first day on set, was: “That their fuckin’ problem.” And then he just continued with the accent. Now, on the one hand that is funny but on the other you can imagine that kind of behaviour being a problem at times.

        In the book they also talk about how he was talking so quietly that it was difficult to pick up and that he was talking real slow and drawn out in a way that was a problem and that the director could do nothing to make him speed up. They ended up having to do things in the editing room to speed up his scenes.

        I’m not trying to speak ill of him. I don’t think he was an asshole in a bad way, just that from what from I’m reading in the current book, and other things here and there, I think the ‘blacklisting’ story is more colourful/exciting spin he or someone else put on things later. Lots of times actors find significant work drying up because they have a reputation as being difficult and I think that’s all he was finding, especially given how he still continued to work continuously over the years.

  2. Jessie Jakes

    Parks was outstanding in Red State! Sad to hear about this blacklisting.

  3. IMO Michael Parks deserved every award possible for this role in Kevin Smith’s movie. His performance reminds me a lot of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White. Maybe because they look alike?

    Do blacklisting continue behind the scenes in Hollywood today? Oh yes it does. There is a whole power play in motion, much of it we will never find out about. It’s not all glamor.

    • Michael Parks didn’t always resemble Bryan Cranston, was actually a very good-looking guy who could act circles around Cranston before anyone ever heard of that actor from “Malcolm in the Middle.”

      Take a look at Parks in the film “Wild Seed” (1965) or in an episode of “Then Came Bronson,” if you can find one, to see how alluring and mesmerizing the guy was as even a young man.

      Both Parks and Robert Blake really reserved to be the successors to the stage and film legacies of Marlon Brando and James Dean, before Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro usurped the honors. And in my opinion Dean was overrated anyway, having only made three films before he died. But somehow these two actors (Blake and Parks) never attained the big screen fame predicted for them when they were younger. Blake blamed his big screen failure, at least in part, on having worked in the “Baretta” TV series. But Parks never blamed his lack of work in feature films on “Then Came Bronson.” And that is because Parks wisely knew his short, one-year stint in that TV series, alone, made him a legend just for that role. But Parks also never stopped working as an actor, as one may see from a simple perusal of his résumé on So Parks never really had the need of “comeback.” His superb acting ability was merely rediscovered by a younger generation or two.

      • Though I agree that Parks was a hell of an actor, to say that he “deserved” the type of career that Brando(!!!!) had is ridiculous. James Dean is over-rated? What??? With only three films, he influenced many generations of actors. The imitators (Parks included) are endless. There is a simple reason as to why Michael Parks didn’t become a star: His films flopped. Audiences then (early 1960’s) didn’t take to him. As for “Bronson” making him a legend…come on. It was a mid-level hit, at best. Do you think a television network would have let him walk after only a year if it was a huge hit? Hell no. He was under a five year contract, which was the standard duration for a television deal. No, NBC let it go because he wasn’t worth the trouble-another reason why many studios and producers probably avoided him. The business is full of malcontents, but those who aren’t box office find themselves on the outside. Again, I’m a fan, but most people today don’t have a clue as to who Parks was and many only have a semblance of an awareness because hip directors like Tarantino and Smith praised him. Unfortunately, the bulk of his work is hard to find.

  4. Emma Mcwaters

    Very important writeup Liam. One blacklisting that I cannot get over is that of Vanessa Redgrave. She is a supported of Palestinian rights and her political views have killed her career.

    • Thanks Emma. Yes, Vanessa Redgrave is another good example.
      She was booed for making political comments during her 1978 Oscar acceptance speech and her Hollywood career never recovered.

      • As much as I respect Vanessa Redgrave, I do feel Paddy Chayefsky made a fair point that the Oscars should not be an exploitation of people’s political views. It should be what it’s meant to be which is a celebration of films in the previous year.

      • ilovesaintpaul

        Liam: do you believe that Hollywood actively participates in blacklisting as a shunning tactic or as a politically self-preservation tactic? I’d be interested to hear what you believe the motivation is behind this. Thanks!!

      • Correction: The show Parks was on was called “Then Came Bronson,” not just “Bronson.”

        • I was just about to post that same correction. Wonder why Brennan hasn’t fixed it.

          • Probably the same reason he hasn’t fixed the other textual errors in the piece. Boy needs an editor.

    • Doctor Jerry

      In the case of Vanessa Redgrave there is no great mystery as to why she was shunned. Consider the fact that the Hollywood film industry has traditionally been run by Jewish businessmen. Redgrave’s support of Palestinian rights flies in the face of Israeli policy, which is universally supported by Jews world-wide. No wonder she found it hard to find work in an industry run by the very people whom she had most offended in her Oscar night speech.

      • I’m pretty sure that Israeli policy is not, actually, “universally supported by Jews worldwide.” Many have major issues with Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians.

      • Marhannah

        Just as someone else mentioned, Ms Redgrave should have left her political views out of the Oscars. It ticks me off to no end when people, especially celebrities, babble-on without knowing history.

        Historically and literally, there is no legitimate Palestine. All one need do is research history; Roman conquest of Jerusalem and an Emperor named ‘Hadrian’.

        • Hollywood film industry is the largest supporter of Israel.
          Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are hugely sympathetic of Palestinian plight
          Why did Brad Pitt not yet win an Oscar?

          • Pitt has one Oscar and five nominations.

          • Urquart

            Hollywood film industry does NOT support Israel. Is there a doctor in the house? Oh, you and Dr. Jerry will go well together.

            • Are you serious? Hollywood is run by a small group of jewish business men mostly from the same region of Eastern Europe. These are the same people who began migrating to Palestine in the late eighteen hundreds at the time of the Balfour declaration. Hollywood completely supports Israel as well as the war mongers who have routinely invaded Arab countries in the near east to colonize them: Iran in the 1950’s, Lebanon in the1980’s, Iraq in the early 2000’s, Syria in the last 10 years and now they are after restarting yet another “regime change” (code for colonization) in Iran.

    • Vanessa Redgrave is known internationally as the grestest actress of her generation.
      She will never be short of work.

    • Janeen Moore

      Yes James Dean was great in the movies he did, but Parks was stunning in the Idol. Should have been nominated for the academy awards. Credits hated the movie but gave him great reviews. That is really difficult to get wonderful reviews when the movie is hated. I myself like the movie. I don’t believe Mr. Parks copied Mr. Dean, but was a method actor also. Mr. Parks did comedy as well and was good at it. We don’t know weather Mr. Dean would have been. We only saw him in the same type of roles. Watch Mr. Parks on Wagon Train in two completely different roles and you will see the complete package.

  5. SWicker

    I think it’s wrong. And, the big problem is that in this politically correct world, they often do it based on perspective rather than reality.

    Parks is great in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

  6. Was waiting for someone to take this topic up so I could be better informed about the subject, I’ll have to dig up some of his work for sure.

    Nice article.

  7. Michael Clancy

    Very interesting read, I’ve enjoyed Parks in a lot of things in recent years but didn’t know this side of the story.

  8. Sure it happens all the time. Especially if you happen to have a conservative or religious bent

  9. Doctor Jerry

    Sure Hollywood has its rules and if you don’t play by them you may find yourself shunned. But this is really no different than what people encounter in any business. Any large corporate employer imposes its will upon its employees as they climb the corporate ladder. If you’re a college professor wishing to advance his or her academic career you have to flatter the department head and publish a few papers on the way up. Ditto for a surgeon looking to establish himself at a large hospital. Every profession has its strictures and unless you have made it to the top already you must tow-the-line or pay the consequences. Michael Parks was never very good at towing-the-line.

  10. I have enjoyed Michael Parks ever since I basically fell in love with him as Fargo in the most lovely love story, Wild Seed, in 1965. I was 13 at the time and even then appreciated the handsome actor’s ability to express himself with less talk, great acting. I’ve seen the movie over 100 times. Sadly it was not well known. I had hoped he would be a leading man for many years to come. He had enormous talent. When he was cast as Jim Bronson I was in high school. We all loved that peaceful , exciting show. However he blew it when he told of his support for George Wallace , who, let’s face it, was a notoriously ignorant bigot. I believe he had the right to like Wallace although I must admit I was pretty shocked ! Still, I was saddened that he alienated others because he could have had a brilliant career. Now Tarantino and others have him playing such strange roles. I’m happy that Michael is working. I just wish he could do one more romantic mainstream film rather than movies about cannibals and vampires. He’s still awesome !

    • pat Jordan

      I am for him doing a mainstresm film romatic or otherwise He’s still the greatest,asfar asI am concerned the film industry did this to Larry Parks in the 50’s. I only have two of michaels discs I would like to know where I can get more here in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am glad to have another reson to avoid movies.

      • Rich Lomire

        Pat, you may have “Closing the Gap” but if not it’s a great album. My favorite song of his is “Wayfaring Stranger”, I can listen to that song all
        day long. Inside the album cover are pictures of him and him Mom
        during the albums recording. I believe he was from Carona, CA., and he
        was a great long-distance runner, very athletic in his younger years. Then Came Bronson was a great show. If you liked James Dean you would also like Michael Parks in Then Came Bronson. There was a movie & from the movie came the weekly show.
        -Rich Lomire, McGrath, Alaska, 9 Mar 2019

    • In an interview I just watched on you tube, Parks denied that he supported or campaigned for George Wallace. I remember reading that also about 50 years ago.

  11. Michael Parks is a good actor and probably would have been a big star. But even stars can be limited by others perceptions of them and what they really are. He is right that it is a game with rules and has to be played as such. I think he was portrayed as the next James Dean and it affected his ability to be himself.

    • WRONG ! I knew Michael well and it has nothing to do with James Dean.

    • It might well be true that the producers wanted to exploit that aspect of the Bronson character’s personality in order to somehow re-create a new facsimile of James Dean, being as James Dean always portrayed troubled, mentally distressed characters himself. Hollywood is always mired in the past.

  12. Michelle

    I loved Michael Parks for yrs, and will continue to do so.

    • I remember watching the program Bronson, I made sure to watch it,because I really liked Michael, I thought he was good looking and very suave, and sexy, and a good actor, I have often wondered what happened to him, I am with the other ones that would like to see him in a good love story. Miss seeing him on tv.

  13. I was just watching an old episode of Alfred Hitchcock’s television series.
    Michael Parks has been a favorite of mine for years.
    He exuded sex appeal and still does for me!!!!
    The bio was interesting in that I didn’t know he’d been blacklisted…Mcarthyisim at it’s finest,although he wasn’t personally effected by that barbarian.
    I admire him for standing up for his personal views even it did cost him a better career back on the day.
    Great article.

  14. I’m from Riverside,right next to Corona!!!!!
    A new fact about him I didn’t know!!!

  15. i loved then came bronson “hang in there” is somethng he advised someone to do almost every week. im glad he had his singing career to fall back on and that he was so successful . i dont remember ever hearing him. i see theres a clip of him being on the johnny cash show. if ever there was someone like they said parks was it johnny cash. hed been to prison about drugs i think. i was dissappointed when the show only lasted a year. of course that could be for the reasons him expressing his opinions as well as those reasons he said
    anyway i missed the show

  16. Terry Trentham

    When Bronson came on the air, I had a new wife, a new job and a newly purchased condo. Loved the show. Three years later had ditched the wife, the job and the condo, was making my way as a musician with, of course no regular paycheck. Oh, and I was the proud owner of my first motorcycle. No idea how much influence Parks and the show had, but I`ve never been sorry. Worked out better than I could have ever imagined.

  17. pgjopop

    in the fall of 1980, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Parks at Raspberries in Angels Camp CA. I had just finished playing a bit and was standing at the bar, someone tapped me on the left shoulder and complemented my playing with, “can I buy you a beer?”, I turned to my left to see who it was, the next word from me, didn’t you used to be Bronson? We ended up playing until closing, he said, ‘we should take this to the Marmot”. Subsequent to that, our paths crossed again on Cannery Row, Mr Parks knows California.

  18. The name of the show was “Then Came Bronson”, not “Bronson”.

  19. Yes Dr Jerry is right about one thing: Black listing is in every work place and it’s becoming worse…Of course the stakes are much higher in Hollywood land !…I read ‘you’ll never eat lunch in this town again’ & ‘you’ll never nanny here in this town again’..both books on how La La land blacklists you if you don’t ‘play the game’!
    Wealthy, powerful people who are personally miserable and it makes them happy to annihilate someone’s career/job/life because they about low life…Michael Parks was the James Dean of the 70s..unfortunately April born people talk before they think !

  20. Matthew

    I think Mel Gibson after his comments, and Jim Carrey after his hypocrisy with kick ass 2 would say yes blacklisting is very much still a real deal.

  21. Harry Minetree


    Michael is a bright guy with a comes-and-goes threat, very clever, unpredictable and oddly thrilling. This blacklisted bunch should get together and make a bombshell picture.

  22. Jim Johnson

    I know there is quiet blacklisting and not just in Hollywood. Michael Parks is one of the best. I especially like one of the last songs that Gene Clark wrote about Michael and the Then Came Bronson character called “Gypsy Rider” . It was one of his and best songs.

  23. Lorraine Johnson

    Michael Parks has been our family favorite since “Bronson” and a favorite we
    had for our children was “You don’t work – You don’t eat!”. I have his LP
    albums and transferred them to cassette tapes to send to our daughter
    who was stationed in Australia in 1979. Still play them – love his soulful
    voice and the feeling he puts into his songs.. There will never be another
    like him.

  24. xboeing

    I know nothing about acting but do know a great deal about working and knowing who you work for. I have had a certain amount of first hand knowledge in the regard. It was always important to me to stand my ground and I’m happy with my decisions but also understand it stypled my career at some point. I’m retired now and am happy with where I’m at in life and never had to kiss anybodies foot to get here. You should understand that going though.

    • xboeing, Yes: As William Shakespeare himself once said: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” That’s being genuine, real, honest and true. Something Hollywood never will be.

  25. Mikeymouth

    I’m certain of it…



  27. clunker

    Very simple, mainstream/blockbuster type Hollywood films just plain suck, same old worn out scripts, same old worn out excuses for mediocrity.
    Support independent film makers and the creative minded actors working with them in order to change the film market.
    Your hard earned dollars should reflect broad values, not those narrow minded hacks in the film industry who continually recycle the same empty junk they know sells/appeals to the lowest standards.

  28. Robert Crowe

    Is this the same Michael Parks who was in the Broadway show Gypsy?

  29. Oh! Ya! Hollywood is the devils den! I love Michael parks great actor of his time.

  30. Probably the most under appreciated American film actor ever. Check out his work in the Tarantino films. Oscar performance quality…

  31. Scottie Lee Davis

    I had always wondered what happed to Then Came Bronson, my most favorite TV show as a teenager. Now I know. Glad to see Michael Parks in his later years at least. Ah, but how I loved Bronson.

    Do I think Hollywood made a mistake…yes, with this and other favorite shows of mine…but they have the power…..little spine…..little consideration…..but nonetheless the power.

  32. Terri Castleberry

    I think Micheal Parks is an extremely handsome man and very sad he was blacklisted. His looks are comparable to Clint Eastwood. Now that I am more settled and nearing 60 years old, I enjoy looking back at T.V. shows of the 50’s and 60’s and Parks good looks and acting ability really impressed me. I was not able to appreciate these T.V. shows when I was a child but now they do.

  33. Jackie Austin

    I often wondered what happened to Michael. I thought he was great and was headed for bigger roles. Hollywood just hurts itself by its small mindedness. Watching The Evictors made in 1979 now and still thinking, “Damn he’s one handsome talented man.” I guess in Hollywood a person isn’t supposed to have an independent thought…let alone express it..

  34. Michele Donahoe

    I do believe me. And it still is. WHY isn’t Then Came Bronson on disc. If he and the show are considered Cult then why can’t we see it? I was 12 yrs old when it came out and my straight laced mother wouldn’t let me watch it even though the show was teaching Values. I would give just about anything to see this show in entirety before I die. I would Honestly go peacefully having seen this show. This is not a joke. Thank you, Michele Donahoe Henderson Nevada. P.S. Michael Parks Great Great Actor. He deserves some recognition! !!

    • You can buy the series (The Came Bronson). I believe it’s been released finally. If not, it is available elsewhere- you just have to be careful where you buy it from. Look it up (Then Came Bronson) on Facebook. There are suggestions there where to buy it.

      • Trisha, only the pilot of the series is available. One hour and a half. Nothing more of the series is available that I know of.

    • Go to his website. You can get all his stuff there. Just got my 4 disc set of pilot, all episodes of TCB, his two albums and a Johnny Cash featuring Parks, Waylon and carl perkins. $44.00

  35. Rosemarie White

    Tarantino has a real talent for picking great actors. Christoph Waltz and Parks should star in the same film which Tarantino could write and that would be a super block buster in drama. How about it Quentin?

  36. Stephen Bowen

    A real pity. An amazing actor. Lost to politics by the sounds of it.

  37. jas rob

    Yes I do. Even though I don’t accept the LGBT belief, they are being blacklisted and for good reasons. To promote their cause, they are using their status as performers to justify their sexual orientation.


    I was the Manager of Advertising and Promotion at WMAQ-TV, the NBC ONO in Chicago in 1970. I liked the show. Each episode’s open revealed he was an upcoming lawyer that ecided to find the meaning of life – out on the road. It didn’t say that, but the audience knew it was his intent. Sitting at a Stop Light, a man in a car next to him would say, “I wish I was you.” Michael would say, “Really.”

    He became involved in people’s lives and his legal background sometimes benefited someone. It was a bit reminiscent of “The Fugitive.”

    I bought a single he recorded with his mother, I think, by Woody Guthrie…”way out younder on the Indian Nation ridinging my pony on the reservation…” Or, close to that.

    When the show was cancelled, I called Gene, the head Honcho for Promotion, based then in NY City.
    He said Michael had made remarks that pissed off the establishment who said he would never work again in Hollywood. Period.

    I so swear. Time passed, and it turned out he had an apartment in the same place as my brother’s friend. Parks had to apologize profusely before mainstream Hollywood would acknowledge his existence. He got bit parts but no more offers of a series…to my knowledge. I read other comments here with an impressive list of his work…and other comments disbelieving he had been, Blacklisted.”
    He was, it happened. He apologized and reappeared. I will always be his fan Period.

  39. NormCBS

    I know for a fact that co-Producer Robert Sabaroff did not want violence on the show, so this article is not entirely true. Sabaroff quit near the end of the series when co-Producer Justman wanted more violence in an episode.
    Too bad the show only lasted one season because it was pretty good. Some good music and the episodes shot in
    Wyoming were really good.

  40. If you are a fan of Michael Parks, check out . You’ll love this site.

    • marguerite

      Do you happen to know his private life. His daughter that I went to school with in Ojai?

      • Murray Sims

        Hi Marguerite,
        I was a student at Ojai Valley School Lower Campus 70-71. A year ahead. I remember the news when we heard that his daughter died.

  41. janie turnage

    I think the ones doing the blacklisting cut off their noses to spite their faces. He was a fabulous actor and I wondered for a long time what happened to him. The shunners are the losers in more ways than one. The tables have a way of turning.

  42. lively_linda

    The Wild Seed and Hatful of Rain – Loved him then – love him now.

  43. Armelia Thomas

    Sure it does as long as they are being ran by the rich from behind the scenes and we all know who I am referring to it will continue to be blacklists (they who can not be named)

  44. Just saw him in a 63′ episode of Perry Mason with Betty Davis. Thought it was James Dean…

  45. Michael Parks is one of the Hollywood greats. I first ran across him in Hitman with Chuck Norris. A most remarkable actor. I hope the jerks that I blacklisted him end up poor homeless and living under bridges.

  46. i was a fanatical fan of then came bronson and the biggest thing approaching violence was when he repeated his weekly spiel
    ”hang in there”
    I WAS A FAN ALL THE YEARS HE PERFORMED and made a concious effort to seek out movies with him in thiree

    hang in there buddy !!!

  47. brandon leverett

    i think it does but not nearly as bad as in the early days. now a days, its all about making a profit and studios will use a talent even if the other heads try to have “secret” pact to not use that person.

    I think that mr parks is one of the best actors I have ver had the pleasure on enjoying in film and on tv.

  48. Donna W

    Yes, I think that blacklisting still exists in Hollywood. Calling Michael Parks a cultist is a double standard remark, since, I believe, Hollywood’s inner circle, and it is a big circle, is a cult of mass proportions. High standards and morals simply do not exist for the most part in the Hollywood. I pity the young stars who head to Hollywood hoping to become “stars”. They will do anything, and I mean anything to cooperate with the “big shots” behind the scenes to achieve their dream. The price they have to pay is too high and some learn it too late.

  49. Tom Elmore

    Michael Parks meant a lot to my little circle of 15 year-old biker boys back in 1969. Our bikes were – well – Honda 90s. But they WERE bikes – and we didn’t just ride them every day in our work and our commutes to school and home – we lived them, as well.

    While there’s always been evidence that the man was pretty miserable doing THEN CAME BRONSON – it may be that he shined through the role despite the scripts. We certainly held him high then – and I still do.

    We reportedly lost him today. Although I never knew him personally, I’ll always be grateful for the light he shined into the life of a young kid in Ardmore, Oklahoma every Wednesday night back in those days – and for the boost just thinking of his work through the years continues to give me.

  50. NOW I UNDERSTAND why there was no mention of his death on mainstream media broadcasts: he was black-balled and shunned by everyone who didn’t want to face the truth about Hollywood and themselves.
    …. So they’ll never release the entire THEN CAME BRONSON TV series, since his vocal ire was against the producers and directors of the show, in addition to Hollywood as a whole. That’s no reason to shun or black-ball him…. unless he really was telling the truth about them and they refused to accept his rightful judgment of them. What a shame!
    …. But knowing that he did (thankfully) go on to continue in his other interests, which surprisingly included singing??? I never knew that. I mean I knew he sang the title song, which is a “spiritual” song, but I had no idea he made country albums. I’m going to have to seek those out.
    …. Many of us that loved Michael Parks won’t change our minds because Hollywood says differently, because Hollywood blows itself all out of proportion. They take themselves way too seriously. Hollywood is a farce. An untruth. It always was and always will be. But Michael… he was real and genuine. Something Hollywood never will be.

  51. Wendy Hanson

    I have always loved Michael Parks! It’s been really hard to find any movies, shows, etc., and now I guess I know why. He was gorgeous. Before Richard Gere there was Michael Parks! Beautiful man! He was a great actor!

  52. Wendy Hanson

    Just signed up for a subscription. Thanks for mentioning Michael Parks … just found out today he had passed and I have really like him since the ’60’s!

  53. The only persons black- listed today is the white conservative Christian. This is the final group that the powers that be allows if not champions bigotry toward. Sad that every group can have their own views and beliefs except the white conservative Christian. Many on the left remind me of the Nazis with their hatred and bigotry toward anyone that has the courage to have their own values and beliefs that do not align with theirs.

  54. AL Greenberg

    This was a great show, I was 19 at the time and it wasn’t until I turned 21 that I was able to travel around the United States as he did (Alone). To this day whenever I head-out across the country on my Harley I think of him and his show… Thanks Micheal!
    I was very sorry to hear that Mr. Parks had passed away, I am pushing 67 years of age now, but am looking forward to (Someday) Riding with him…
    “If there is really a heaven up there!”
    RIP Micheal Parks, you inspired many a rider!

    PS: My friends feel the same was as I do, some are already with him… RIP.

  55. Joyce Granville

    I loved Then came Bronson and I loved his albums. I met him briefly on the Walton’s set one day. He came to visit the prop master, Eddie Villa and Eddie introduced me. He was quiet and shy but very nice. I told him I loved his albums and he seemed very flattered by that. He did a few albums and on one of them he sang with him mom, a short but sweet song called : My Little Buckaroo, which I think she used to sing to him when he was a young boy.
    I will miss him and I remember they did a pilot of Then Came Bronson in which he is working for a newspaper company and there is a lot of pressure on him. I friend of his dies and leaves him his motorcycle. He quits his job and takes off down the long lonesome highway and meets interesting people along the way,. Thus was the synopsis for the TV show. It was an instant hit. You felt you were riding along with him. Take care Michael,
    Joyce Granville – San Francisco bay area

  56. john jakle

    I’m an artist in west Hollywood who has done work for celebrities.Michael is one of my favorite actors. I was popular for a while but then I got blacklisted because of word that I drank. These people judge me even though they liked my work. (there seems to be hypocrisy in the art field and the entertainment industry.)

  57. Wayne Dent

    Those in power who blacklisted Mr. Parks, robbed us all of the amazing performances he could have turned out.I always wondered why much of his work known to me were presented as he got older. It almost seemed he was discovered in his post mid life yrs. Now I know why. Pity really!

  58. Michael Parks became a severe alcoholic between the 80’s and 2000s. He died of pancreatic cancer…slowly and painfully.

    • Stephen

      Heard he is a spiteful ghost and bad things have happened to people posting bs about him on line…

  59. ruth ventricelli

    people should not be blacklisted. it had nothing to do with his talent. who is Hollywood to pass such judgement? only God can judge us all. his talent and acting ability should have been all that mattered.

  60. i read that he lost a daughter to a hit and run by a motorcyclist. not sure how true that was.

  61. Grant Johnson

    I wonder what Hollywood studio deep violence changes were being planned for ‘Then Came Bronson’. Quasi character actors like Bruce Dern, muscular WIlliam Smith of ‘C.C & Co’, and Sig Haig “1 of the top cheesy bad guy actors for 4 decades, likely made appearance on that show, as well as many other biker films. The Violence could not of been like in ‘Billy Jack films’. .*I guess i need to get a DVD if any exists on Ioffer/ebay.

  62. I first heard of Michael Parks from the show, Then Came Bronson, when I was a kid. I often wondered whatever happened to him, over the years, till I saw him play a Preacher in a movie, a few years back. I was very happy to see him again, after all this time. I found it odd though, where had he been for so long? I believe that he was blacklisted, it makes sense, to explain his long absence from television and screen. He is a quite talented actor, with a natural screen presence.

  63. I was always a fan of the early Bronson and always wondered why he didn’t become a bigger star..He had great appeal and charisma and was , yes, very sexy and good looking back in the day.

    I recently did a rewatch of Bus Riley’s back in Town and have always felt cheated he wasn’t more often a leading man during his prime years. I don’t think his choices were always the best but the show Then Came Bronson certainly put him in the running. It was very popular..
    But it seemed he disappeared for a little while and then got regulated to tv for many years…until he began to get all his quirky roles that made him a bit of a cult star.

    I wonder sometimes if some of the actors we thought could have been bigger stars didn’t chose their path. There’s a lot of narcissism and sacrifice to self that seems inevitable in that process…and there’s also that element of blind luck. Being in the right place at the right time.
    The best do not always get the shiniest gold ring.. And then again…being a success in any element of that business still feels like success to me.
    Many appreciated him..

  64. Michael A Herbst

    Hollywood is the only institution more
    corrupt than congress but with the same
    arrogant atitude!

  65. H Thorn

    Yes and many others practices!

  66. i wasn’t going to leave a comment after reading so many accolades, but “CHET” is correct. The last television interview he did, i saw around the The came Bronson time. He was horribly drunk. I was a child & recognized it immediately as i was being raised by a single parent alcoholic & his actions were very familiar to me. I don’t believe he was blacklisted due to being outspoken. He was a very afflicted alcoholic.

  67. Kathryn McMahon

    There is no such thing as freedom of speech. It’s quit obvious, how sad.

  68. Ed Davis

    Wasn’t the show’s name “Then came Bronson” ?

  69. Bruce Long

    I remember when he was in “Then Came Bronson”. A TV Guide cover article proclaimed him The Next James Dean, and contained an interview in which he said he supported George Wallace for President. The show was soon cancelled and his blacklist began; I always assumed his support for Wallace was the reason.

  70. Lawrence Day

    I will never forget Michael Parks as Bronson; he was my favourite actor. I looked forward to every new episode. I never understood, until I saw his perfect performance recently in The Greater, what had become of him. Such a shame that so many corporatists are so common in their disrespect of great artists like Michael Parks. I doubt there will ever again be a show, or an actor, of such intense creativity to capture and hold genuine public interest as Michael Parks in Then Came Bronson. Shame on those small people who killed his career; are all so easily forgotten. The same will never be said of Michael Parks and Bronson. – Lawrence S.. Day

  71. Sorry to necro a story so old, but I was directed here by another story about Tusk leaving Netflix and got a kick out of the comments.

    Parks was not “blacklisted”. He was his generation’s Katherine Heigl. Hard to work with. Thought he was better than everyone else despite his Hollywood outings being mediocre at best. A general pain in the rear.

    Also, someone who claims “The Hollywood Ten” were “persecuted” has never read the unclassified KGB files that name all 10 PLUS some.

    As for discussion about Redgrave in the comments, she was just the first in a long line of entitled celebrities who think their opinions matter more based upon their ability to pretend better than most people. This is where I really got a kick out of the comment. This story is only SEVEN YEARS OLD and the vast majority then, even with most in Hollywood, was “award shows are for awarding the people and films, not your 10 minute political diatribe”. How that has changed in just seven years. Now, we have what seems to be the sole voice of reason, Ricky Gervais, trying to tear enough of their ego armor off to make them realize no one cares what they have to say, and then we have the angry mob who will cancel you should you DARE disagree with their political grandstanding, no matter how inappropriate the setting.

    2013 was a simpler time, apparently.

  72. John F Hampton Jr

    I think somebody needs to learn proper punctuation.

  73. Yes blacklisting still exists it’s called “Hollywood Jail”

  74. Of course blacklisting still continues in Hollywood.Why do you think no actors or actresses ever tell anyone there republican.-They would never work again.

  75. Watched ‘Then Came ..” back in the day. Had four motorcycles at the time. Was reading Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Had watched the superior “Route 66” as a shrimp. Didn’t have a color TV in those days. Seeing an episode now, filmed in Wyoming (?): gorgeous. Back then there were so many people riding motorbikes. They used to give a fist salute to each other. Fifty years ago!
    World War I: 1914. Fifty years later: The Beatles! Fifty years is a long time.
    As to Parks, alcohol – most likely. Never a good sign when someone has been married four or more times.
    BTW, in this instance, the term of art is “blackballed” not “blacklisted.”
    Thanks for the article and to the commentators. Interesting reading, all
    I never thought much of Robert Forster as an actor. Tarentino resurrected him. Good. But one of the best readings of an audio book is Forster’s reading of the Elmore Leonard novel, “Mr. Paradisio.” It is an education. (Hell of a good book, too.) Usually, if one wants to hear voice acting of the highest rank, one has to go with the UK school.
    Odd that Tarentino has done so much for handsome actors that have been neglected: Robert Forster, Michael Parks, Michael Madsen.

  76. If you are a conservative in Hollywood you are blacklisted and it has been this way for a long time. There are many examples. Also, if you work in Hollywood and are conservative, you have to stay in the closet for fear of not getting any work.

  77. Judy Prebell

    Loved Michael…still do and always will…The Wild Seed is brilliant…

  78. Roy Mcclanahan

    Living well on your own God given terms is the best revenge. Michael Parks has been a favorite of mine for decades. I mention him to friends and they say, “Who?” “Michael Parks… you know, the sheriff police guy in From Dusk Till Dawn.” “Oh, yeah!” They’d say. “Love that guy!”

  79. Rex Shipman

    YES it still happens

  80. Steven Koenig

    Yes it does.
    Not only for the expression of personal reasons but for refusing to lay down (literally) for any producer that has a whim.
    My sister worked in the business and her last day was when she was fired for refusing to take on the producer, after having refused the director. She was made an example of what was going to happen to those that refused the hierarchy of the industry.
    There is too much that goes on without consequences for actions.
    A good actor cannot be just that. A good actor.

  81. Alled Guthrey

    I remember Then Came Bronson. I watched the show religiously. As an actor, I loved everything about him. Not to mention pleasant to look at! I loved him amongst many of his portrayals, in Kill Bill. All of his works were excellent

  82. It’s disappointing to find so many typos in promising articles like this one.

  83. Skip Liepke

    Always thought he was great – he could have been as famous as Steve McQueen, or Paul Newman – he had it all

  84. I absolutely adore him. He’s a compelling actor and should never have been punished for not wanting to be violent. I wish the show had run longer He more than likely would have continued in television as did another beautiful actor David Jannsen. Michael truly became every character and was so natural and believable. ❤️

  85. Petr Romano

    Yes absolutely but only numbers can we grow and diversify and start our own production company’s and film realism and truth

  86. Jesse vint

    This article was wholly disingenuous! Michael Parks was hit hard and fast with the blacklist because he OPENLY supported far right presidential candidate George Wallace — but predictably this was never even mentioned in this article.
    When he announced his support for Wallace there was an avalanche of hate that came crashing down on his career, and him as a person.
    I was there at the time. I remember it well.

  87. Darr247

    the-artifice dot com should date-stamp their articles.

    • Misagh

      All articles are date stamped. See the end of the article where it’s printed “Posted on…”

  88. Randyl Conrad

    Not how I remembered it. Had a big crush on him during TV show Bronson. Read, I believe, an article in something like TV Guide where he spoke of admiring George Wallace for his ‘states rights’ views. That is when I believe his career just disappeared. I didn’t agree at all with his views, but I felt he was an artist and had a right to express his views.

  89. Jerry Walter

    I absolutely do! I quit watching “Hollywood” movies a long time ago. They live in their own little world and want you to change your life to admire theirs. Michael Parks inspired me as a person and a motorcycle enthusiast. Because of him, I truly enjoyed traveling alone on my motorcycle, getting to know other people along the way and seeing the beauty the world has to give. Hollywood may have blackballed him. But, I am sure that God rewarded him for staying steadfast against them.

  90. Robert Gleason

    silly question of course there is. If you don’t tell the far left narrative, your toast been like that for decades now.

  91. Rick Wilson

    Yes and also the Producers couch still goes on with women and younger actors. Hollywood cover up and put downs are part of the fabric that Hollywood is known for . Secretly behind closed doors lies things you can’t Imagin only in nightmares. Fake is just a name a word reality we don’t want the truth…

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