Actor. He is best remembered for his role of sawmill owner ‘Pete Martell’ in the television series “Twin Peaks.” Born in Boston, Massachusetts, of Irish ancestors, and raised in Dallas, Texas, he began his acting career playing children’s theater, working for the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. In the early 1970s, he was cast in the role of ‘Henry Spencer’ in “Eraserhead” (1977), a film that took nearly five years to make. Other small, supporting roles followed, in such films as “Dune” (1984), “Ghoulies” (1985), “The Blob” (1988 remake of the classic 1950s film), and “Colors” (1988). In 1990, he won the role of quirky sawmill owner ‘Pete Martell’ in “Twin Peaks.” In 1991, his wife, Nancee Kellee, committed suicide, and his roles declined after that. He continued making appearances in later movies, in such less remembered films as “Love and a .45” (1994), “Across the Moon” (1995), “Voodoo” (1995), and “Assault on Dome 4” (1996). In December 1996, he was involved in a brawl with two men in Winchell’s donut shop in Pasadena, California, and received several blows to the head. A friend checked on him the next morning and found him dead, and his death has been recorded as a homicide.
- December, 21, 1943
- December, 30, 1996