If you’ve been keeping up with Quentin Tarantino since 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you’ll know that few characters have ever piqued his interest the way Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton has. Tarantino has teased a new book called “The Films of Rick Dalton,” and indeed, just last week, a mysterious new Wikipedia page went up that filled out Dalton’s filmography in an intriguing way. Now, via the official Twitter feed of the Video Archives Podcast, which he hosts with Roger and Gala Avary, he’s confirmed the “death” of Rick Dalton at the ripe old age of ninety. The podcast is also hyping a special commemorative episode dropping on Tuesday that will examine some of the best roles.
We are saddened by the news of the passing of actor Rick Dalton, best known for his roles in the hit TV series Bounty Law and The Fireman trilogy.
Rick passed away peacefully in his home in Hawaii and is survived by his wife Francesca.
RIP Rick Dalton 1933-2023 pic.twitter.com/j51sNEh7AP
— The Video Archives Podcast (@VideoArchives) May 19, 2023
Tarantino has been carefully building up his fictional Rick Dalton universe over the last few years, mainly through his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novelization that confirmed, among other things, that Dalton had a modest comeback in the seventies and eighties before retiring in his fifties. The book also reveals that Dalton was bipolar, which fuelled his alcoholism. He eventually gave up drinking after the suicide of a young actor named Pete Duel (a real guy), who was similarly afflicted. According to the Video Archives feed, Dalton remained married to his Italian wife, Francesca (who helped him and Cliff Booth take on the Manson Family), and the Wikipedia page revealed he and Booth made a series of hit B-action movies for Cannon in the eighties called The Fireman.
As a massive fan of the Video Archives Podcast, which is wrapping up its first season and QT preparing for its tenth and final film, I’m excited for this special Rick Dalton episode. I’m incredibly excited for his book, The Films of Rick Dalton, which follows his amazing non-fiction Cinema Speculation. I also hope that, if indeed his next film is about a film critic in Los Angeles in the seventies (as rumoured), DiCaprio might show up as Dalton in some capacity, as I really think it’s one of the actor’s best roles.