Lenny Von Dohlen Dies: ‘Twin Peaks’ & ‘Electric Dreams’ Actor Was 63

Lenny von Dohlen, who played Harold Smith on Twin Peaks and its 1992 spinoff pic Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and starred in the 1984 rom-com Electric Dreams during a four-decade screen career, has died. He was 63.

His manager Steven Wolfe said von Dohlen died July 5 at his Los Angeles home after a long illness.

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Born on December 22, 1958 in Augusta, GA, and and raised in Goliad, Texas, Von Dohlen made his screen debut in the 1981 telefilm Kent State and had a small role in the Robert Duvall country music pic Tender Mercies before getting his big break in Electric Dreams. He starred as Miles Harding, an architect whose new PC becomes self-aware and develops a love triangle his Miles’ neighbor (Virginia Madsen). The romantic comedy was the debut feature of prolific music video helmer Steve Barron, who went on to direct for TV, earning an Emmy nom for Merlin.

Von Dohlen then starred opposite Karl Malden in writer-director John Gray’s 1986 drama feature Billy Galvin, playing the title role of the son of a steelworker who wants the young man to follow in his footsteps.

Von Dohlen also did guest shots on such popular series as Miami Vice, thirtysomething, The Equalizer and The Young Riders before being cast in his most recognizable role.

He played Harold Smith, the agoraphobic orchid grower befriended by Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) in the second season of Showtime’s Twin Peaks in 1990. He appeared in several episodes and appeared in the 1992 New Line feature Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

His other TV credits include Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Lazarus Man, The Pretender, CSI: MiamiDon’t Touch and a five-episode arc on the NBC sci-fi drama The Pretender.

Von Dohlen appears with Sally Kirkland, Jennifer Tilly and Keith Carradine in the upcoming indie comedy Sallywood, which is in post-production.

Theater was his first love. In New York, he created roles in Asian Shade, The Team, Twister and Richard Greenberg’s Vanishing Act and The Maderati. For nine months he starred in Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9, directed by Tommy Tune, followed by The Roundabout Theater’s revival of Desire Under the Elms opposite Kathy Baker. Through the years he continued to work in regional theater across the country.

Von Dohlen is survived by his partner, playwright James Still; his daughter, Hazel; his mother, Gay Von Dohlen; and siblings Mary Gay, Catherine and John David.

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