When Twin Peaks returns on May 21st, 2017 it will be with a gigantic cast list of well over 200 actors and actresses – many of whom were in the original series and film. However, it will be without 6 actors who passed away during the series 27 year hiatus. Additionally, the world lost three more beloved members of the Twin Peaks universe after filming had begun, although we will see those dearly departed in the show’s return. In this piece, I would like to pay tribute to those who are gone but will never be forgotten.
Pete Martell, played by Jack Nance, an original member of David Lynch’s “Lynch Mob”, discovered the wrapped in plastic body roughly a minute into the pilot episode. “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic” was one of the most iconic lines from the series as well as a line delivered by Pete in the following episode: “There’s a fish, in the percolator”. Pete would remain a fixture throughout the rest of the series and was involved in a cliffhanger ending during the Season 2 finale that wasn’t meant to be the end of his character but was the cause of death given in Mark Frost’s book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks. Nance passed away in 1996.
Don Davis who played Major Garland Briggs passed away in 2008. Briggs early on in the series was more “Bobby’s Dad” than a fully fleshed out character but by the start of the second season Briggs importance was on full display. He was a character who understood already what Agent Cooper was just beginning to look at—the supernatural forces that were at play in Twin Peaks. Briggs would have certainly been a main player had the series returned for a third season during its initial run. Mark Frost paid a fitting tribute to just how important Briggs was to the world of Twin Peaks in his book The Secret History of Twin Peaks.
Frank Silva, who played the supernatural “Killer BOB” on the series and in the film, Fire Walk With Me, passed away in 1995. Silva’s portrayal of BOB was nightmare inducing, to say the least. His screen time was limited but his role in the story and overall world of Twin Peaks was so large that one has to wonder how the story will progress without him.
A testament to both the writing and to David Bowie himself, Agent Phillip Jeffries is never seen or mentioned in the series at all and only has 1 scene in Fire Walk With Me (an additional scene in The Missing Pieces that should be required viewing if you haven’t already seen it) yet is one of the most intriguing and talked about characters in the world of Twin Peaks. It was made known that Bowie was set to resume his role as Agent Jefferies in the new series before his passing. At this point, it is unclear whether or not the role was recast.
Mayor Milford, portrayed in the series by John Boylan, passed away at the age of 82 in 1994. A comedic fixture in the series from the pilot on, his presence certainly added to the quirkiness of the town of Twin Peaks and helped make it as beloved as it was.
Andrew Packard was a character that was mentioned from day 1 in the series, playing a significant role in the backstory of the Packard Sawmill storyline but wasn’t seen until Season 2 when he returned much to Josie’s surprise after faking his own death. Andrew was involved in the season 2 cliffhanger with Pete and Audrey at the bank when the explosion happened. It was unknown if his character would have been killed off there or not but it was the cause of death listed in The Secret History of Twin Peaks.
After filming had started, the actors and actress that played Doc Hayward, Albert Rosenfield and The Log Lady have all since passed. Those three characters were all so iconic in their ways. The Log Lady was the definition of Twin Peaks quirkiness. A lady that carried a log everywhere with her and had conversations with that log was completely unlike anything else on television. As the story progressed and we got to know her, she became not a punch line like she would have been on a lesser show but rather a fountain of wisdom, all while carrying years of heartache with her. Mark Frost was able to write a beautiful tribute to the character in The Secret History of Twin Peaks that was a highlight of the book. Doc Hayward represented stability in a town that was out of balance. He brought normalcy to the table despite being surrounded by eccentricity. The Doc had relationships with most every character being the only doctor in a small town and carried such a calming presence with him in every scene. Then there was Albert. 99% of the show’s best one-liners are associated with Albert. His snarky demeanor made him unlikeable to the Twin Peaks Police Department instantly but his dedication to his profession and his ability to connect and work with Cooper in a way nobody else could win him over. There was never any denying that Albert was a damn fine lawman, even when he was getting punched in the face. The fact that Warren Frost, Catherine Coulson and Miguel Ferrer all got to film material for the new series before passing is truly a blessing. Obviously, we didn’t want them to go, but at least we get to say goodbye.