David Lynch Writer | Producer | Director
Date of Birth 20 January 1946, Missoula, Montana, USA
Birth Name David Keith Lynch
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future director Jennifer Lynch shortly after he turned 21. That experience, plus attending art school in a particularly violent and run-down area of Philadelphia, inspired Eraserhead (1977), a film that he began in the early 1970s (after a couple of shorts) and which he would work on obsessively for five years. The final film was initially judged to be almost unreleasable weird, but thanks to the efforts of distributor Ben Barenholtz, it secured a cult following and enabled Lynch to make his first mainstream film (in an unlikely alliance with Mel Brooks), though The Elephant Man (1980) was shot through with his unique sensibility. Its enormous critical and commercial success led to Dune (1984), a hugely expensive commercial disaster, but Lynch redeemed himself with the now classic Blue Velvet (1986), his most personal and original work since his debut. He subsequently won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival with the dark, violent road movie Wild at Heart (1990), and achieved a huge cult following with his surreal TV series Twin Peaks (1990), which he adapted for the big screen, though his comedy series On the Air (1992) was less successful. He also draws comic strips and has devised multimedia stage events with regular composer Angelo Badalamenti. He had a much-publicized affair with Isabella Rossellini in the late 1980s.
Born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana, David Lynch was raised in small-town America. After high school, he went to Boston to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Shortly after that, he planned a three-year trip to Europe to work on his art, but didn't take to it and left after 15 days. In 1977, he released his first film Eraserhead (1977), which, although not critically acclaimed, was noticed by many people, including Francis Ford Coppola, who was rumored to have screenings of it for his cast and crew on the Apocalypse Now (1979) set. After a stream of visually striking films such as Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997) and Mulholland Drive (2001). These films and others, beginning with Blue Velvet (1986), and including his Twin Peaks (1990) T.V. series, feature what has now been added to signature Lynch features, such as vibrant colors, the use of dreams and montage to connect character thought and multiple emotions into one sequence. In addition to that, since Blue Velvet (1986), Lynch has gained the reputation of one of the foremost auteurs in the film industry, and one of the few living auteurs who continually defies cinematic convention. His films continually represent his ideal that films, representing life, should be complex, and in some cases, inexplicable. Due to his decisive innovation and the beautiful confusion of his films, he will always be recognized as if not one of the greatest film-makers, one of the most original. Lynch is an innovative director, and even if his films aren't necessarily realistic, they are real in their representation of what life is: a confusing, irrational series of events that have little purpose, and one makes one's own interpretation of each event, giving life one's own purpose. Lynch wants his films to resonate emotionally and instinctively, and for every person to relate and find its own understanding. As he said, "Life is very, very confusing, and so films should be allowed to be, too". David Lynch is original. He has done things in film-making that D.W. Griffith did in his day. David Lynch will never stop making beauty on the screen.
Emily Stofle (26 February 2009 - present)
Mary Sweeney (10 May 2006 - 12 February 2007) (divorced) (1 child)
Mary Fisk (21 June 1977 - 29 August 1987) (divorced) (1 child)
Peggy Lynch (1967 - 1974) (divorced) (1 child)
Has frequently cast Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee,Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Sherilyn Fenn, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael J. Anderson, Everett McGill, Frances Bay, Dean Stockwell, David Patrick Kelly, Brad Dourif, Catherine E. Coulson, Grace Zabriskie, Ian Buchanan, Alicia Witt, and Bellina Logan.
Finds small-town USA fascinating
Has a taste for low/middle frequency noise, dark and rotting environments, distorted characters, a polarized world (angels vs demons, Madonnas vs whores), and debilitating damage to the skull or brain.
Use of slow-motion during key scenes of violence
Red curtains, strobe lights, and extreme surrealism
Almost always casts a musician for a supporting role: Sting in Dune (1984); Chris Isaak, David Bowie, Julee Cruise, and 'Miguel Ferrer' (son and former drummer of Rosemary Clooney in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992); Marilyn Manson and Henry Rollins in Lost Highway (1997); Billy Ray Cyrus, Rebekah Del Rio and Angelo Badalamenti in Mulholland Drive (2001). Regular collaborator Kyle MacLachlan is also descended from composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Uses many references to France, the French language, culture, people, and names.
Constant references to dreams as a way of connecting the plot and twists in his films.
Uses Roy Orbison songs in his films
Close up shots of eyes
Quirky, nasal voice
Films are often sexually charged and graphically violent
Many of his films examine the dark side of American suburbia.
Never explains the meaning of his movies
Very heavy use of black and dark lighting in order to augment colorful objects in scenes.
Frequently wiggles his fingers while he is talking
Ate lunch at Bob's Big Boy in Los Angeles, California, nearly every day for almost eight years in a row.
Is an Eagle Scout.
His father had Scottish, Irish, and English ancestry. His mother was of half Finnish and half German descent. His Irish ancestry can be traced to Galway and as far back as being descended from Rollo, a Viking King.
Currently (2002) runs his own personally authorized Web site, www.davidlynch.com and has been rumored to appear in the chat area of the site under a more than obvious name.
Personally approved DVD releases of his movies do not have any chapter stops. This is done because he believes that films are meant to be viewed from beginning to end.
He is also an artist working in paint and such dynamic elements as live ants and rotting flesh. He also frequently designs and builds the furniture in his films. These can be seen in the documentary about him, Pretty as a Picture: The Art of David Lynch (1997).
Projects he has written but to date has not produced include "Ronnie Rocket," "Up at the Lake," and "One Saliva Bubble."
Producer Dino De Laurentiis offered him the chance to direct "Hand-Carved Coffins" based on a Truman Capote work, but Lynch turned it down; to date the project has not been produced.
Wrote the Gordon Cole character (from Twin Peaks (1990)) with himself in mind.
After the financial disaster that was Dune (1984), Lynch and Dino De Laurentiis were almost ready to part company but Lynch showed Dino the script for Blue Velvet (1986), which he had been working on for some time, and the two combined talents to make the seminal 1986 classic.
After George Lucas saw Eraserhead (1977), he offered Lynch the chance to direct Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) but Lynch turned him down. Lynch felt the film would be more Lucas's vision than his own.
Daughter, Director Jennifer Lynch (b. 1968), with first wife actress Peggy Lynch. Son, Austin Jack Lynch (b. 1982), with second wife Mary Fisk. Son, Riley Lynch (b. 1992), with film editor Mary Sweeney (she later became his third wife).
While in college, roomed with Peter Wolf, former lead singer with the J. Geils Band. Lynch kicked him out, however, because he thought Wolf was "too weird."
His son, Austin Jack Lynch, appeared in an episode of Twin Peaks (1990) as Pierre Tremond, or the Creamed-Corn Kid. The role (billed as Pierre Tremond/Chalfont) went to Jonathan J. Leppell in the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). It is widely rumored that Jonathan is Lynch's nephew, but Jonathan and his mother had never heard of Lynch or the TV show when he was cast in Seattle. Julee Cruise, who appears in Twin Peaks (1990), is his musical protégée. Lynch wrote the lyrics on her first album, some of the lyrics of her second album, and occasionally plays an instrument on her recordings.
He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985," pp. 621-626 (as David K. Lynch). New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Insisted his name be struck from the 190-minute Extended Cut of Dune (1984), which was prepared specially for television. That version credits the pseudonymous "Judas Booth" as writer/director. Yet in 2009 - the movie's 25th anniversary - Lynch (by a fan's request) actually signed Booth's name to a vintage "Making of Dune (1984) paperback at West Hollywood's famous Book Soup.
Has cited Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, and Roman Polanski as some of his influences.
In addition to excluding chapter breaks in his approved DVD releases of his movies, he hasn't recorded an audio commentary in any of his films. This is because he believes that films speak for themselves.
Announced at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival that he has been shooting a feature length project on digital video called Inland Empire (2006) for over a year. He also announced that he was so impressed with digital that he was giving up directing projects on film.
He drew and wrote the comic strip, "The Angriest Dog in the World" that ran in the Los Angeles Reader newspaper throughout the 1980s.
President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002.
Is famous (or infamous) for not saying anything on Eraserhead (1977). He lets the viewers decide what it means.
He was offered the chance to direct Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), but he turned it down, saying that the script was funny, but it wasn't his thing.
Was very good friends with Jack Nance.
Is friends with Kyle MacLachlan.
He was introduced to Isabella Rossellini at a restaurant by a mutual friend when he was in the process of casting Blue Velvet (1986). Struck by her serene European beauty, he told her, "You could be Ingrid Bergman's daughter." 'You idiot,' my friend said to me," Lynch recalled, "'she is Ingrid Bergman's daughter!'"
His grandmother was German.
Though on the surface his alliance with Mel Brooks on The Elephant Man (1980) would seem unlikely to many, a number of Lynch's films are interpreted as being satirical of traditional Hollywood clichés (Mulholland Drive (2001), Wild at Heart (1990), Blue Velvet (1986) albeit in a much darker and artistic way than in the films that made Brooks a success (Young Frankenstein (1974), Blazing Saddles (1974), etc.).
Was engaged to Italian actress Isabella Rossellini from 1986 to 1990.
Claims one of his favorite films to be The Wizard of Oz (1939), and has many references to the classic in his films, the most obvious are in Wild at Heart (1990). He has also cited Vertigo (1958) and Glen or Glenda (1953) as his other favorites.
Is friends with Mädchen Amick.
Is mentioned in German author Patrick Roth's short story "Lynch for Lunch" (2008).
Being an avid coffee drinker, he has own line of special organic blends.
Has practiced Transcendental Meditation for at least 20 minutes each day since 1973. Now very actively leads his own worldwide organization, the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, that is the midst of a campaign to raise $7 billion to further its goals. As a result, Lynch has not made a film since 2006's Inland Empire (2006).
Although having planned to study with painter Oskar Kokoschka in Austria for three years, he returned to the US after only 15 days.
Served as an usher at the Presidential Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (20 January 1961).
Born to Donald Lynch, a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and his wife Sunny, an English language tutor.
Frequently works with Crispin Glover.
Some of his favorite films of all time are: 8½ (1963), La Strada (1954), Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Apartment (1960), Lolita (1962), Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953), Mon Oncle (1958), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Stroszek (1977) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Sherilyn Fenn, who worked with him in Twin Peaks (1990) and Wild at Heart (1990), later starred in his daughter Jennifer Lynch's directorial debut Boxing Helena (1993).
He was so impressed by Sheryl Lee's performance as the dead Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks (1990)' pilot episode that he wrote the role of Maddy Ferguson for her, in order to bring her back in the series.
The car accident scene in Wild at Heart (1990) came from his impression of actress Sherilyn Fenn as a china doll, and from the idea of seeing a porcelain doll breaking. He told her, "I envisioned this broken China doll, all bloody, and ranting and raving, and it was you".
Has worked with real-life father-son pair José Ferrer and Miguel Ferrer in Dune (1984) and Twin Peaks (1990); and real-life mother-daughter pair Diane Ladd and Laura Dern in Wild at Heart (1990) and Blue Velvet (1986).
His ancestry is Finnish, German and Irish. His Irish Ancestry can be traced to Galway and as far back as being descended from Rollo, a Viking King.
Directed 3 actors in Oscar nominated performances: John Hurt, Diane Ladd, and Richard Farnsworth.
Has said that he is an admirer of Ronald Reagan, and supported the Natural Law Party in the 2000 Presidential Election. In both the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections, he supported Barack Obama.
Among the places he lived in his rootless childhood were Missoula, Montana (his birth place), Sandpoint, Idaho (where his family moved when he was only 2 months old), Spokane, Washington, Durham, North Carolina, Boise, Idaho and Alexandria, Virginia (where he attended high school).
Has three siblings, including brother John Lynch.
In 2002, Lynch paid $1 million to spend a month studying Transcendental Meditation along with a few other well-heeled adherents in a compound in the Netherlands with the movement's founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Maharishi was living in the house, but only communicated with the group via TV conferencing.
Lodz, Poland. Discussing his plans for building post production film studio in an old factory on Targowa street. [May 2004]
Sheryl Lee credits him as one of the most incredible teachers that she's ever had in terms of filmmaking.
Was asked to direct Manhunter (1986).
Disowned Dune (1984), considering it the only real failure of his career. To this day, he refuses to talk about the production in great detail, and has refused numerous offers to work on a special edition DVD. Lynch claims revisiting the film would be too painful an experience to endure.
In the late 1980s, he directed 4 TV commercials for Calvin Klein's Obsession perfume based on excerpts from novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and Gustave Flaubert and featuring Benicio Del Toro, Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, James Marshall, Rodney Harvey and Ian Buchanan.
At the 1986 Montreal Film Festival, where Blue Velvet first premiered, he met Giulietta Masina, wife & frequent muse of Federico Fellini, one of his favorite film directors.