Never has a drama been quite as indescribable as Twin Peaks - a murder mystery with a lot more to offer, as well, such as teen romance, adult romance, spiritual possession, and extra-dimensional travel, to name a few prevalent themes.
Even after more than 30 years since its initial debut on ABC, and a third season on Showtime, so many questions continue to surround the groundbreaking drama from co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, like what is going on with the original Twin Peaks cast these days? Luckily, that is one question that we can answer and will below, starting with the Golden Globe-winning lead.
Kyle MacLachlan (Special Agent Dale Cooper)
After launching his career by casting him as Paul Atreides in 1984’s Dune, David Lynch made Kyle MacLachlan a TV icon by casting him on Twin Peaks as Dale Cooper - an idiosyncratic FBI agent sent to the titular town to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer. The former Desperate Housewives cast regular will next star in a reboot of the Fletch movies called, Confess, Fletch, with Jon Hamm in the tile role, and in Joe Exotic - a drama based on the events that inspired the Netflix docuseries Tiger King - as Howard Baskin.
Michael Ontkean (Sheriff Harry S. Truman)
The self-described “Dr. Watson” to Coop’s Sherlock Holmes is Twin Peaks sheriff Harry S. Truman, played by Michael Ontkean, who was previously best known for one of the great hockey movies, 1977's Slap Shot, and is one of the few original Twin Peaks cast members to not appear in Season 3. In fact, the Canadian actor’s final onscreen credit is Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (a feature-length 2014 prequel that consists of deleted scenes from 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me) having retired from acting after appearing in The Descendants in 2011.
Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward)
Also not appearing in Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival was Lara Flynn Boyle as Laura Palmer’s best friend, Donna Hayward - which is easily the actress’ best known role outside of her Emmy-nominated turn as Helen Gamble on the ABC legal drama The Practice or the villain of 2002’s Men in Black II, Serleena. We last saw her appear in the 2020 crime thriller Death in Texas - her first acting gig in five years since the low-budget comedy Lucky Dog.
James Marshall (James Hurley)
Following Laura Palmer’s death, Donna would develop a romance with her best friend’s secret boyfriend, James Hurley, which is also the best known role for actor James Marshall outside of, perhaps, the classic courtroom drama A Few Good Men as Pfc. Louden Downey, and the boxing film Gladiator opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in 1992. After he was last seen reprising James on the Twin Peaks revival, Marshall is now in post-production on two TV series: the crime drama Three Knee Deep and the post-apocalyptic epic The Pact.
Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson)
One of the prime suspects in Laura Palmer's murder on Twin Peaks was Leo Johnson, the abusive husband of Double R Diner waitress Shelly - played by Mädchen Amick, who would become a bit of a scream queen after the 1992 Stephen King-penned cult favorite Sleepwalkers, and later appearing on American Horror Story in Season 5. Her current claim to fame is playing Alice Cooper in the Riverdale cast, but her feature-length directorial debut, Reminisce is now in post-production.
Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs)
Shelly would indulge in an extra-marital affair with Laura Palmer’s public boyfriend, Bobby Briggs, who would be revealed as Shelly’s (apparently former) husband and a deputy at the Twin Peaks police department when Dana Ashbrook reprised the character in the revival. Since then, he would guest star on hit medical drama The Resident in 2018, starred in the partially-dramatized documentary Framing John DeLorean, and land a recurring role on the Netflix dramedy Insatiable, with his next movie, Please Baby Please, currently in post-production.
Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne)
The most wealthy and, quite frankly, slimiest citizen of Twin Peaks (at least, initially) is Horne Industries Inc. CEO and Great Northern Hotel owner Benjamin Horne, played by Richard Beymer - star of the original West Side Story in 1961 and hit crime procedural Murder, She Wrote as various characters. The actor and filmmaker would come back for the third Twin Peaks season as a more sympathetic Mr. Horne, which was his most recent acting role and first in nine years.
Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne)
As Benjamin Horne’s daughter, Audrey, we have Sherilyn Fenn, who I kind of felt was given the short end of the stick in the Twin Peaks revival, but I realize now that she was actually pretty busy at the time (having also appeared in the horror film Wish Upon and debuted her recurring role in the S.W.A.T. cast in 2017, for instance). The Emmy nominee remains busy to this, with day five projects in the works - including movies Losing Addison and Silent Life, and TV series The Last Saturday Night and In the Cards.
Everett McGill (Big Ed Hurley)
James Hurley’s uncle, local mechanic Big Ed, is played by Everett McGill - who has not done any acting (outside of reprising his role for Twin Peaks Season 3) since appearing in an episode of J.A.G. in 1999. That same year, however, the Quest for Fire star reunited with David Lynch (who also cast him as Stilgar in his Dune adaptation) for a small role in his Oscar-nominated, Disney-produced biopic The Straight Story.
Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley)
Everett McGill would also reunite with Wendy Robie, as her incestuous brother in the underrated 1991 Wes Craven film The People Under the Stairs, after playing both halves of a loveless marriage on Twin Peaks. Since reprising the one-eyed Nadine Hurley (her debut role) on Showtime’s revival, the actress appeared in the 2020 film Dreaming Grand Avenue and will next star in the 2022 family dramedy, Relative.
Harry Goaz (Deputy Andy Brennan)
Harry Goaz also debuted on Twin Peaks as the eccentric Deputy Andy Brennan - the most prevalent and consistent role of his filmography outside of playing another cop on another show about a town plagued by strange events (Sgt. Knight on the cult favorite Eerie, Indiana) and a modest number of films (including Steven Soderbergh’s The Underneath in 1995). After releasing a picture book chronicling his time on the Twin Peaks revival called Ballroom Harry: Volume II in 2020, Goaz would return to the screen in two short films released in 2021 called The Vandal and Shelter Abraxas.
Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran)
Andy shared an on-and-off romance with the even more eccentric sheriff’s department receptionist Lucy Moran - the best known live-action role of prolific voice actress Kimmy Robertson. She has played the titular human character of the animated web series Ollie & Scoops since 2019 and lends her voice to the upcoming sci-fi/comedy Michael & Maria vs. the Multiverse as a police dispatcher, which could be a reference to her Twin Peaks character.
Joan Chen (Josie Packard)
Harry S. Truman shared a romance on Twin Peaks with the widowed Jocelyn “Josie” Packard, played by Joan Chen, who more recently starred alongside Jessica Chastain in the assassin thriller Ava, and appeared in the Netflix original Tigertail in 2020. The Chinese-born actress has two upcoming acting roles in the works (in Kiss, His First and Tonight at Noon) as well as two directorial efforts (English and the Covid-19 inspired Hero).
Michael Horse (Deputy Chief Tommy “Hawk” Hill)
Deputy Chief Hawk, whose expertise in Native American spiritualism proved a big help in Agent Cooper’s investigation, was played by Michael Horse, who actually made his debut as Tonto in a 1981 reboot of The Lone Ranger. Since returning for Showtime’s Twin Peaks, he appeared on the Netflix western miniseries Godless in 2017, appeared opposite Harrison Ford in 2020’s The Call of the Wild, and has five upcoming credits - including Spirit Water with Twilight cast member Alex Rice.
Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson)
As the young woman whose murder kicks off the events of Twin Peaks (and also her nearly identical cousin, Maddy Ferguson), we have Sheryl Lee, who, in 2019, played mother to Jessica Biel on Facebook Watch’s Limetown - another series about a strange mystery in a close-knit community, based on a podcast drama. Following her voice role on J.J. Villard’s Fairy Tales for Adult Swim in 2020, Lee will next appear in the short film Down to Nothing and the psychological thriller, The Redeemer
Ray Wise (Leland Palmer)
Laura Palmer’s distraught father, Leland, is played by the illustrious Ray Wise, who recently leant his distinct voice to HBO Max’s podcast drama Batman: The Audio Adventures - one of a few comic book adaptations on his resume and several notable credits of his from 2021 alone, such as Psych 3: This Is Gus on Peacock. Next, he will star in the horror-fantasy The Blue Rose and will reunite with Sherilyn Fenn on the series In the Cards.
Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer)
Leland Palmer’s wife, Sarah, is played by Grace Zabriskie, whom fans of the Seinfeld cast may also recognize as Susan Ross’ mother. In 2021, the actress starred in the strange animated film Cryptozoo and the Bill Burr-led Roku original anthology series Immoral Compass, and is set to play Camille D'Amato in Iron Mike - an upcoming miniseries chronicling the life of former boxer Mike Tyson.
Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings)
A Twin Peaks cast member who is no longer with us, but whom I felt obligated to mention, is Peggy Lipton - otherwise known for her four-time Emmy-nominated role as Julie Barnes on The Mod Squad, or as the mother of Rashida Jones. After reprising the role of Norma Jennings - Double R Diner owner and true love of Big Ed - on the Twin Peaks revival, Lipton played Jane Levy’s onscreen mother in the 2017 miniseries, There’s Johnny (a fictionalized behind-the-scenes exploration of The Tonight Show during the 1970s), before passing away two years later after a long battle with cancer at the age of 72.
The Twin Peaks cast would have to say goodbye to some other co-stars over the years, including Eraserhead star Jack Nance (Pete Martell), Warren Frost (Dr. Will Hayward), and Miguel Ferrer (FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield), who actually got to film his scenes for the the revival before he passed in January 2017. The rest continue to carry on the legacy of one of David Lynch’s most celebrated achievements.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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