Lenny Von Dohlen, the veteran character actor who played a solitary orchid keeper on David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks, is dead at 64. The Hollywood Reporter notes that he passed away after a long illness on Tuesday, July 5th.
Von Dohlen had a gift for awkward, sensitive souls. His first starring role came in 1984’s Electric Dreams, as a lonely architect who finds himself in a love triangle with a sentient computer and his neighbor, Madeline. The film has earned a cult following over time, and it enjoyed a surge of popularity in 2013, when Spike Jonze’s Her explored similar themes.
Many of those character’s qualities could be seen in Harold Smith, the agoraphobic gardener who appeared in Season 2 of David Lynch and Twin Peaks. Smith had known the victim at the heart of the mystery, and even possessed her diary. With heartbreaking clarity, Von Dohlen explored yearning, grief, anxiety, and self-destruction, before returning in the series’ prequel-sequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
Von Dohlen also starred in television projects including Kent State, Thirtysomething, Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Pretender, and CSI Miami. In film, he anchored projects such as Billy Galvin, Under the Biltmore Clock, Blind Vision, Jennifer 8, and Leaving Normal, and he played one of the bad guys in Home Alone III.
It’s been a hard summer for the cast of Twin Peaks; Kenneth Welsh and Julee Cruise died in May and June, respectively.