Twin Peaks was quite an oddball when it first premiered in 1990 on ABC. It was the most unique television series of its time in the fact that no one had seen anything quite like it. It was incredibly odd, surreal, mysterious, and at times comedic. Twin Peaks knew how to blend the right elements into creating an engrossing TV drama, and though it made a few bad turns here and there that led to its
cancellation hiatus in 1991, Twin Peaks later went on to solidify itself as one of the zaniest shows ever seen on television.
Little more than a quarter of a century later, Twin Peaks has returned to our TV screens for its long overdue revival. Showtime is the new home for Twin Peaks, airing the 18-part limited series that hopefully will solve the show’s 25 year old mystery. Along with familiar mysteries the Twin Peaks revival will have some familiar faces. Most, but not all, of the main cast will return, along with some recurring characters from the original run, many of whom came out of retirement to work again on the series. In this list we’ll take a look at the cast of Twin Peaks, and what their careers have been like from the cancellation of the original Twin Peaks up to now.
Kyle MacLachlan – Dale Cooper
Kyle MacLachlan has had quite a satisfying career, and funny enough, the co-creator of Twin Peaks, David Lynch, was the initiator of MacLachlan’s career. With no film or TV credits, MacLachlan’s first acting job was the lead role in Lynch’s Dune (1984). He then went on to play Jeffrey Beaumont in Lynch’s Oscar-nominated film, Blue Velvet, and scored a few other film and TV roles before landing on Twin Peaks (1990) playing the role of Special Agent Dale Cooper, which earned him a Golden Globe and 2 Emmy nominations for lead actor. After reprising his role in the prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, MacLachlan has been in a variety of different film and TV roles from then until now. In the early 90s he had roles in Rich in Love (1992), The Trial (1993), played Cliff Vandercave in a live-action The Flintstones (1994) film, later playing Zack Carey on the box office failure that later became a commercial hit Showgirls (1995). MacLachlan showed that, in addition to films, he was open-minded to taking on TV movie roles as well. He appeared in the Emmy-winning HBO film Against the Wall (1994), and later nabbed roles in other TV movies: Vault of Horror (1994), Moonshine Highway (1996), Windsor Protocol (1997), Thunder Point (1998), Route 9 (1998), The Invisible Man (1998), and The Spring (2000). And he wasn’t finished there. The late 90s proved to be the busiest times in MacLachlan’s career, appearing in additional films: The Trigger Effect (1996), Mad Dog Time (1996), One Night Stand (1997), Hamlet (2000), and Timecode (2000); before scoring a recurring role on HBO’s hit series Sex and the City in 2000. MacLachlan took on other film roles while he was on Sex and the City as well, appearing in: Xchange (2001), Perfume (2001), Me Without You (2002), Miranda (2002); and also was the voice of Donald Love in the 2001 video game Grand Theft Auto 3.
Following Sex and the City, inn 2003 MacLachlan made his Broadway debut as Aston in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker alongside Patrick Stewart. He played roles in Northfork (2003), Touch of Pink (2004), The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004), Mystery Island (2005), and guest-starred on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit before landing his fist post-Twin Peaks TV lead role on the short-lived ABC series In Justice (2006). But although In Justice wasn’t a success, MacLachlan never stopped working. He landed a recurring role on Desperate Housewives in 2006, and was the voice of Superman in the animation Justice League: The New Frontier. He landed other small roles in films The Smell of Success (2009), Mao’s Last Dancer (2009), and Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2011). After Desperate Housewives ended MacLachlan added more TV to his resume, appearing in the short-lived Made in Jersey, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Believe, Gravity Falls, and Portlandia; he even had a role on the Oscar-winning animated film Inside Out (2015). So yeah, MacLachlan has made an impressive career as a character actor and quirky guest star in films and TV shows all over the map.
Sheryl Lee – Laura Palmer
Though she had 1 or 2 minor roles before, Sheryl Lee’s first real acting role was in Twin Peaks (1990) playing Laura Palmer. But this role was a fairly dormant one, so Lynch being so impressed with Lee’s acting abilities, created a character lookalike– Laura’s cousin Maddy Ferguson–so she could have a more active role on the show. Lee went on to star in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and was praised by critics for her portrayal of Laura Palmer. Shortly after, Lee starred on Broadway in 1992 alongside Al Pacino in Oscar Wilde’s Salome as the title role. And starring roles weren’t out of the picture just yet for Lee, after appearing in Jersey Girl (1992) Lee landed starring roles in the film Backbeat (1994) and the TV Movie Guinevere (1994) playing Guinevere herself. She had other guest appearances in TV shows such as Red Shoe Diaries etc. and in the late 90’s appeared in a variety of films: The Can (1994), Don’t Do It (1994), Homage (1995), Fall Time (1995), Notes from Underground (1995), Mother Night (1996), The World Then the Firework (1997), Bliss (1997), The Blood Oranges (1997), and played Katrina in Vampires (1998) before making her way back to television landing a supporting role in the short lived 1998 TV Series L.A Doctors. In the 2000’s more TV followed. She appeared in the Emmy-nominated miniseries Kingpin and had other recurring/guest roles on One Tree Hill, Desperate Housewives, House, CSI: NY, Dirty Sexy Money, Psych etc. In the latter part of her career Lee appeared films: White Bird in Blizzard (2014), Jakie & Ryan (2014), starred in the drama The Makings of You (2014), and even landed a small role in Woody Allen’s Café Society. Interestingly tho, Sheryl Lee has been listed to appear in all 18 episodes of the Twin Peaks reboot, but that news could also be misleading.
Sherilyn Fenn – Audrey Horne
Sherilyn Fenn if not the biggest, is one of the biggest names to have come out of Twin Peaks. Fenn began her career with a number of B-movies and even had starring roles in a few, so by the time Twin Peaks (1990) came around she wasn’t new to the acting biz. Fenn has described many of these early films as sexploitation films “where directors tried to convince [her] to appear naked after the contract was signed.” Fenn began her rise to fame playing the tantalizing, reckless high school femme fatale Audrey Horne in Twin Peaks (1990). Her character was one of the most popular with fans, and she received a Golden Globe and an Emmy nominations for her performance. She got featured on the cover of both Rolling Stone and Playboy magazines around that time as well, and was even listed as ‘one of the most beautiful women in the world’ by a few magazines and newsletters. After Twin Peaks (1990) ended the actress was in high demand, enough so she chose not to reprise her role in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Fenn propelled to stardom and became a major sex symbol, with her ‘Old Hollywood looks’. She landed starring roles in Diary of a Hitman (1991), Three of Hearts (1992), Fatal Instinct (1993), HBO’s Tales from the Crypt, and was chosen out of more than 100 actresses to portray actress Elizabeth Taylor in NBC’s 1995 TV Movie Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story. She also had major-minor roles in films: Ruby (1992), Of Mice and Men (1992), Boxing Helena (1992); and other TV Movies such as: Spring Awakening (1994), Slaves of Dreams (1995), A Season in Purgatory (1996) and The Assassination File (1996). 1997 was when Fenn’s career started to slow down, and after a few guests apperances in TV Shows Friends, Prey etc. and appearances in independent films: Just Write (1997), Lovelife (1997), The Shadow Men (1997); Fenn landed a supporting role on the Showtime sitcom Rude Awakenings. Following Rude Awakening, Fenn’s work consisted of a number of episodic TV appearances. She had recurring roles in Dawson’s Creek, Boston Public, Gilmore Girls, Magic City, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Confess etc. Unfortunately though, Sherilyn Fenn has only been listed for 1 episode in the Twin Peaks reboot despite her character’s arc ended on a huge cliffhanger in the finale of Twin Peaks original run.
Ray Wise – Leland Palmer
Ray Wise has been a massively in demand character actor for 40 years, with 200+ movie and TV credits. His career was steady long before playing the tragically disturbed Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks (1990). All his roles from the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me to now would be too long to list. His best known roles include: Jack Taggart Sr. in Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), Hal Gardner in season 5 of the Fox series 24 (2006), The Devil in The CW series Reaper, Donald Wadsworth in Suburban Gothic (2014), Marvin in the ABC series Fresh Off the Boat, Everett Dirksen in the HBO TV film All the Way (2016) and was the voice of Commissioner James Gordon in Batman: The Killing Joke (2016). In 2015, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for his guest performances on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He also had recurring roles on TV Shows: Psych, How I Met Your Mother and Agent Carter, Mad Men etc.
Mädchen Amick – Shelly Johnson
Before playing Shelly Johnson on Twin Peaks, Mädchen Amick mostly appeared in TV Movies. Just like it did for MacLachlan, Twin Peaks opened up many doors for Amick’s career. After reprising her role in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Amick went on to film co-starring Dream Lover (1993), and also landed roles on Love, Cheat & Steal (1993), Trapped in Paradise (1994) and French Exit (1995). She returned to television in 1995, scoring recurring role in the CBS soap opera C.P.W.. She had roles in other low-budget films such as: Wounded (1997), Bombshell (1997), Twist of Fate (1998), The List (2000), Italian Ties (2001), Scenes of the Crime (2001) and Global Effect (2003); but television seems to have always been Amick’s main platform. She nabbed roles in TV Movies Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Alan Freed Story (1999), The Rats (2002), and Lies and Deception (2005), but it’s her many recurring roles in popular television such as: Gilmore Girls, Wild Card, ER, Joey, Gossip Girl, Californication, Mad Men, Ringer, Witches of the East End, American Horror Story: Hotel, Love etc. are the highlights of her still-thriving career.
Dana Ashbrook – Bobby Brigg
As a young actor Dana Ashbrook landed a few small film and TV roles before he became Bobby Brigg on Twin Peaks. After Twin Peaks, Ashbrook portrayed Clyde Barrow in the 1992 TV film, Bonnie & Clyde: The True Story. That followed up with a few TV Movie and roles in: Desperate Journey: The Allison Wilcox Story (1993), Golden Gate (199), Comfortably Numb (1995); before landing a recurring role on short-lived TV Series Crisis Center. Ashbrook would continue down this path nabbing roles in low budget films such as: New Alcatraz (2001), Puzzled (2001), The Last Place on Earth (2002), Angels Don’t Sleep Here (2002); while making guest appearances on other TV Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Charmed, Dawson’s Creek, Deadwood etc. He had recurring roles on TV Series The Kill Point and also on Starz first original series Crash, but unfortunately those were short-lived. Ashbrook’s career never really took off after Twin Peaks, but he will reprise his role as Bobby in the new season. It’s not the first time he’s brought Bobby back to life. He played him on the series Psych in 2010, in a Twin Peaks-themed episode titled “Dual Spires.” He was joined in that by Peaks co-stars Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise and others.