David Lynch

Director and screenwriter David Lynch is known for dark, offbeat films that include ‘Eraserhead’ and ‘Blue Velvet,’ and for creating the television series ‘Twin Peaks.’

Who Is David Lynch?

Born in Montana in 1946, famed filmmaker David Lynch studied art before experimenting with film in the late '60s. In 1977, his first feature, Eraserhead, made its debut, going on to become a cult classic. He next directed The Elephant Man, for which he received two Academy Award nominations. Lynch has also directed Blue Velvet and created the acclaimed television series Twin Peaks. A vocal proponent of transcendental meditation, Lynch has added to his film ouevre with works like Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.

Early Years

David Keith Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana, on January 20, 1946. Lynch moved frequently as a child due to his father's work as a research scientist. While still a student at a high school in Virginia, he began taking art classes at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. After high school, Lynch made his way through Boston, Europe and Philadelphia to continue studying art.

The Filmmaker

In the 1960s, David Lynch began making short films, beginning with the animated Six Men Getting Sick (1966) and The Alphabet (1967), a combination of animation and live action. The Grandmother (1970) was Lynch's first completely live-action short film.

In the early 1970s, Lynch started work on his first feature film, Eraserhead, which premiered in 1977. The bizarre movie had a dark worldview, disturbing subject matter and a surreal tone, but it garnered enough attention to land Lynch the job of directing The Elephant Man (1980), starring John Hurt. That film received eight Academy Award nominations, including two for Lynch in the categories of directing and adapted screenplay.

Lynch's next directing gig wouldn't go quite as well, as he was picked to helm the science fiction film Dune (1984), an adaptation of a well-loved book starring Kyle MacLachlan and Sting, among many others. The movie was plagued with production problems and received scathing reviews upon its release.

Chilling 'Blue Velvet'

In typical Lynchian fashion, the director recovered by turning back to his own vision, coming out with Blue Velvet in 1986. The film, which starred MacLachlan, Laura Dern and Isabella Rossellini, took a chilling look at small-town life. Though its darker moments led to some outraged reactions, Lynch received critical accolades and a second Academy Award nomination for directing. Lynch would continue in a similar vein with the violent Wild at Heart (1990). This controversial film won the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Creates 'Twin Peaks'

Lynch took his unique vision to television with the series Twin Peaks, which first aired in 1990 and featured muse MacLachlan as FBI agent Dale Cooper. Like Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks took a deep dive into small-town America and found hidden horrors that had previously been unexplored. The offbeat show became a national topic of conversation when it first aired, though the second season's story line drifted, losing viewers along the way. The series didn't get picked up for a third season.

Lynch would revisit the show with the feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), but the movie received a critical drubbing.

'Lost Highway' and 'Mulholland Drive'

Lynch's next big screen outing came in the form of Lost Highway (1997), a polarizing picture that put a new twist on his surreal themes. In 1999, he directed The Straight Story, a quiet, simple film—based on a true story—about a man traveling several hundred miles on a riding lawnmower. With Mulholland Drive (2001) and Inland Empire (2006), Lynch revisited the dreamlike qualities of his more stylized creations. Mulholland Drive earned Lynch another Academy Award nomination for directing.

'Twin Peaks: The Return'

It was announced in autumn 2014 that Twin Peaks would return to the airwaves as a Showtime miniseries. Various original cast members were slated to return, including MacLachlan. After pulling out at one point over contract and creative disputes, Lynch confirmed in May 2015 that he would direct the episodes.

The 18-episode season, which aired from May through September 2017, drew generally strong reviews and picked up several award nominations for its production and performances.

Transcendental Meditation

Lynch is a proponent of transcendental meditation, a practice he has embraced since 1973. In 2005, he founded the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and Peace, which provides support for students, people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and others who may benefit from this form of meditation.

President Trump Comments

Lynch drew attention for his comments about President Donald Trump in a June 2018 article in The Guardian.

"He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way," he said, adding, "Our so-called leaders can’t take the country forward, can’t get anything done. Like children, they are. Trump has shown all this."

While the article also pointed out that Lynch thinks Trump "may not be doing a good job himself," the president treated it as a full-scale endorsement, tweeting a link with the headline: "Director David Lynch: Trump Could Go Down as One of the Greatest Presidents." 

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