leonardo dicaprio
Director Quentin Tarantino and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are pictured at CinemaCon 2018 on April 23, 2018 in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CinemaCon


  • Quentin Tarantino announced Friday that the fictional character Rick Dalton has died
  • The director made the announcement via his "The Video Archives" podcast
  • Dalton was the '60s actor played by Leonardo DiCaprio in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

Quentin Tarantino made a big announcement about one of the characters of his hit drama-comedy movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Tarantino revealed Friday that Rick Dalton, the fictional '60s actor played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the director's 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," has died at the age of 90.

The director made the announcement via "The Video Archives" podcast, which he hosts with "Pulp Fiction" co-writer Roger Avary.

"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 podcast tweeted. "Rick passed away peacefully in his home in Hawaii and is survived by his wife Francesca. RIP Rick Dalton 1933-2023."

"Because of his passing, the episode for 'Rollerball' has been postponed. Instead, we will come back on Tuesday with a memorial episode designed by Quentin that features some of Rick's best roles," the podcast added.

The announcement, particularly the mention of Dalton's wife Francesca, sparked reactions from fans of the film. In Tarantino's movie, Francesca was played by actress Lorenza Izzo.

"Francesca is still alive?! They were still married all this time?!!!!" one wrote. Another added, "She's still pretty hot too, considering her age. She got lots of beauty sleep."

"He and Francesca were still together at the end? That's sweet. I'd heard a rumor he got back together with Daphna Ben-Cobo. The internet is crazy, man," a third person commented.

In "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," DiCaprio's actor character lives next door to Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. In the final scenes of the film, Dalton uses a flamethrower to incinerate Sadie (Mikey Madison), a follower of Charles Manson (Damon Herriman).

Tarantino has mapped out Dalton's life beyond his movie. In a 2021 interview with podcaster Jeff Goldsmith to publicize Tarantino's novelization of "OUATIH," the director revealed he had written a book about Dalton's TV shows and films.

"I wrote 'The Films of Rick Dalton' book," he said, Entertainment Weekly reported. "It's written as if Rick is real. You know, they have 'The Films of Charles Bronson' and 'The Films of Anthony Quinn,' well, it's done like that, with synopsis and then some critical quotes from the time, and the book goes through every one of Rick's movies that he did, leading to the end of his career in 1988, I believe, and every one of his episodic television shows."

According to Tarantino, Dalton teamed up with his stuntman Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," a decade after the events depicted in the film for a vigilante movie titled "The Fireman." The pair reportedly co-wrote and produced the movie with Dalton directing and starring.

"The lead character was in the Vietnam War, he became a cop," Tarantino said of the fictional movie. "And then he starts seeing this whole group of bad apple cops that are killing these guys and just completely corrupt and they end up killing his partner, played by a very young Sam Jackson. Then Rick targets these bad cops, and he gets dressed up as the Fireman, and he has his flamethrower and he goes and he burns them all down."

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino created the movie "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood." AFP/FREDERIC J. BROWN