Quentin Tarantino Has Revealed That Fictional ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ Protagonist Rick Dalton Has Died

Quentin Tarantino seems dedicated to fulfilling a pretty sad pledge: that he will only direct 10 movies before retiring from filmmaking. If he sticks to his guns, he may go out on top. The Movie Critic, his alleged swan song, sounds pretty batty. Even his potential penultimate film was one of his best. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a rare non-franchise box office bonanza, leaving such a mark that, four years after its release, Tarantino can do things like announce the death of one of its (of course fictional) protagonists.

On Friday, the Twitter account for Video Archives, the podcast Tarantino runs with his Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary, had an announcement: Rick Dalton had died. He was 90 years old.

“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,” the message read. “Rick passed away peacefully in his home in Hawaii and is survived by his wife Francesca. RIP Rick Dalton 1933-2023.” They also promised a memorial episode was en route.

Rick Dalton, of course, does not exist. He’s the fallen movie star Leonardo DiCaprio played in Hollywood. He was a hard drinker and chain-smoker, but Tarantino has speculated that, despite peaking in his late 20s/early 30s, he eked out a living in the entertainment industry well into middle age. Apparently he even made it to 90. Also perhaps surprising is that he and his Italian starlet wife Francesca stayed together for some 54 years. Perhaps he got his stuff together and lived a long and happy life. If so, good for him!

Tarantino expanded upon Hollywood in his novelization, which was really more of a novel and which even had a different story arc than the movie. The climax wasn’t even the thwarted Manson murders. The book never talks about The Fireman trilogy referenced in the tweet, so it appears Tarantino and Avary will soon be talking about Dalton’s entire (fictional) career, which may have some peaks on top of valleys.

In the meantime, pour one out for Rick Dalton. One wonders if Cliff Booth is still knocking about.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)