Tarantino As an Actor: 5 Lesser-Known Acting Gigs of the Iconic Director

Tarantino As an Actor: 5 Lesser-Known Acting Gigs of the Iconic Director
Image credit: Legion-Media

Tarantino is no less great at acting than he is at directing.

When we talk about Tarantino's acting career, we immediately think of his bright roles in his own films, such as Reservoir Dogs or his collaborations with Robert Rodriguez – From Dusk Till Dawn and Four Rooms.

But Tarantino has a number of largely unknown roles, including some from before he became a cult director.

1. The Golden Girls (1985-1992) – Elvis

Tarantino's first screen appearance came in 1988, when Quentin had already written the script for True Romance. Tarantino was desperate for money at the time and took acting classes with James Best, a former western genre star.

A mentor recommended Quentin to some casting directors, and the future movie icon ended up appearing in a small episode of The Golden Girls.

Tarantino appeared in episode 6 of season 4 as a member of the Elvis fan club – he and other club members were invited to a wedding. He is seen in the second row wearing a yellow suit.

Due to the nature of the contracts, all actors received payments for each airing of this episode on TV – in the end, Tarantino earned about three thousand dollars, which later helped greatly in the creation of Reservoir Dogs.

2. Eddie Presley (1992) – A Male Nurse

Tarantino As an Actor: 5 Lesser-Known Acting Gigs of the Iconic Director - image 1

It's funny that Tarantino's second screen appearance was also Elvis-related – he starred in the movie Eddie Presley, about an unlucky Elvis Presley impersonator.

Quentin played a male nurse in an asylum with Bruce Campbell, who was already a superstar for the role of Ash in The Evil Dead. The lead role in the movie was played by Duane Whitaker, who would later play the role of Maynard, a sadistic store owner, in Pulp Fiction.

3. Sleep With Me (1994) – Sid

This is a simple comedy that is not particularly remarkable except for the episode with Tarantino. In it, Quentin convinces the movie's protagonist that the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise is not really about airplanes, but about a man struggling with his homosexuality.

Of all Tarantino's cameos, this may be one of the most iconic – it is almost always mentioned in any discussion of Top Gun. In this scene Tarantino is talking to Eric Stoltz, who would later play the role of Lance, a drug dealer, in Pulp Fiction.

4. All-American Girl (1994-1995) – Desmond

In the sitcom about the clash between Korean and American values within one Korean family, Tarantino appears in episode 18 of season 1, playing Desmond, a videotape salesman.

The episode is called Pulp Sitcom and contains a number of references to Pulp Fiction: the characters dance in a café and open suitcases with a light inside. Even the font of the episode title resembles the font of Pulp Fiction.

And the role of the videotape seller is a clear reference to Quentin's real life biography, as he worked at the Video Archives video store for almost five years.

5. The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) – Quentin Tarantino

In 2005, a feature-length movie starring the Muppet Show characters was released. In one episode, Kermit the Frog discusses details of the movie with Tarantino. Quentin shares his vision of the movie which includes explosions, blood and dismemberment. Kermit quietly protests that it's too gritty for a children's project.

The episode is clearly inspired by the violence in Tarantino's films and journalists' comments about it. After the release of Kill Bill, Quentin was regularly asked questions about why there was so much blood and violence in his movies.

The main highlight was his interview with KRON 4, where, when asked that same question, Quentin gave the legendary "Because it's so much fun, Jan! Get it!"