Quentin Tarantino Pays Tribute To ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ Star Rick Dalton On Podcast

Quentin Tarantino announced via series of tweets last week the death of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s leading man, Rick Dalton. He made the announcement via The Video Archives podcast, which he hosts with Pulp Fiction cowriter Roger Avary, and indicated that today’s podcast would be “a memorial episode designed by Quentin that features some of Rick’s best roles.”

The director made good on that promise.

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“On May 19, 2023, actor Rick Dalton passed away peacefully in his home in Honolulu, Hawaii,” announces Avary’s daughter Gala — who produces the show — at the opening of the podcast. “He is survived by his wife, Francesca. Dalton was beloved by fans of Bounty Law, where he played bounty hunter Jake Cahill for five seasons and also for his iconic role as Eddie Karpinski, the flamethrower-wielding vigilante in The FiremanThe Fireman Part 2, and The Fireman 3: CIA Crackdown. But he was so much more than that, with a career that spanned over 20 years.”

The podcast then proceeded to conversation between Tarantino and the Avarys wherein the elder Avary described discovering that Rick Dalton owned a company called Rick Dalton Enterprises that made bedding and amenities for prisons. The revelation brought rolling laughter from Tarantino.

They went on to talk about Dalton’s career, specifically the Fireman films, why Donald Pleasence was in one of them, the four-picture deal Dalton made with Canon Films that begat Fireman 2, Joe Don Baker’s role in the film, Dalton’s lunch with Walter Hill about directing the follow-up, why the actor did not helm the sequel himself — since he shot the first one — and how Dalton’s former stunt double, Cliff Booth, came to direct the project.

Tarantino later discussed the incident at Dalton’s house that inspired the third act of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

“He also had a thing that happened with him in the late ’60s where three hippies were bursting into his house, and they were tripping, and they had a gun with them, and his stunt double basically beat the brains in of two of them, and Rick set the other one on fire with the flamethrower from The 14 Fists of McCluskey,” explained Tarantino. “So he got invited to, like, the Republican Convention, alright, because it became this thing for, like, Nixon’s Silent Majority. And he’s a lifelong Democrat but he went and they f—ing dug him. Rick was very happy being dug. But they put him on Johnny Carson after that and he was a big hit on the Johnny Carson show, and then all of a sudden, because of the notoriety, he started doing better TV shows. He went from, like, doing Land of the Giants and Green Hornet to doing Mission: Impossible.”

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