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David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an Americanmarker filmmaker and visual artist. Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001). He also received a screenplay Academy Award nomination for The Elephant Man. Lynch has won awards at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker and Venice Film Festival.

Over a lengthy career, Lynch has employed a distinctive and unorthodox approach to narrative filmmaking (dubbed Lynchian), which has become instantly recognizable to many audiences and critics worldwide. Lynch's films are known for surreal, nightmarish and dreamlike images and meticulously crafted sound design. Lynch's work often explores the seedy underside of small town America (particularly Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks), or sprawling Californiamarker metropolises (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and his latest release, Inland Empire). Beginning with his experimental film school feature Eraserhead (1977), he has maintained a strong cult following despite inconsistent commercial success.

In 2007, The Guardian described Lynch as "the most important director of this era."

Early life

Lynch was born in Missoulamarker, Montanamarker on January 20, 1946. His father, Donald, was a U.S.marker Department of Agriculturemarker research scientist and his mother, Sunny Lynch, was an English language tutor. He was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest and Durham, North Carolinamarker. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and, on his 15th birthday, served as an usher at John F. Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration. Lynch was raised a Presbyterian. His maternal grandfather, whose last name was Sundholm, moved to the United Statesmarker from Finlandmarker in the 19th century.

Intending to become an artist, Lynch attended classes at Corcoran School of Artmarker in Washington, D.C.marker while finishing high school in Alexandria, Virginiamarker. He enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for one year (where he was a roommate of Peter Wolf) before leaving for Europe with his friend and fellow artist Jack Fisk, planning to study with Austrianmarker expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka. Although he had planned to stay for three years, Lynch returned to the U.S. after only 15 days.

Early career and short films (1966–1970)

In 1966, Lynch relocated to the Fairmountmarker neighborhood of Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Artsmarker (PAFA) and made a series of complex mosaics in geometric shapes which he called Industrial Symphonies. At this time, he also began working in film. His first short film Six Men Getting Sick (1966), which he described as "57 seconds of growth and fire, and three seconds of vomit", was played on a loop at an art exhibit. It won the Academy's annual film contest. This led to a commission from H. Barton Wasserman to do a film installation in his home. After a disastrous first attempt that resulted in a completely blurred, frameless print, Wasserman allowed Lynch to keep the remaining portion of the commission. Using this, he created The Alphabet.

In 1970, Lynch turned his attention away from fine art and focused primarily on film. He won a $5,000 grant (later extended to $7,200) from the American Film Institute to produce The Grandmother, about a neglected boy who "grows" a grandmother from a seed. The 30-minute film exhibited many elements that would become Lynch trademarks, including unsettling sound and surrealistic imagery and a focus on unconscious desires instead of traditional narration.

Cult success (1975–1979)

In 1971, Lynch moved to Los Angelesmarker to study for an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) degree at the AFI Conservatory. At the Conservatory, Lynch began working on his first feature-length film, Eraserhead, using a $10,000 grant from the AFI. The grant did not provide enough money to complete the film and, due to lack of a sufficient budget, Eraserhead was filmed intermittently until 1977. Lynch used money from friends and family, including boyhood friend Jack Fisk, a production designer and the husband of actress Sissy Spacek, and even took a paper route to finish it.

A stark and enigmatic film, Eraserhead tells the story of a quiet young man (Jack Nance) living in an industrial wasteland, whose girlfriend gives birth to a constantly crying mutant baby. Lynch has referred to Eraserhead as "my Philadelphia story", meaning it reflects all of the dangerous and fearful elements he encountered while studying and living in Philadelphiamarker. He said "this feeling left its traces deep down inside me. And when it came out again, it became Eraserhead".

The final film was initially judged to be almost unreleasable, but thanks to the efforts of the Elgin Theater distributor Ben Barenholtz, it became an instant cult classic and was a staple of midnight movie showings for the next decade. It was also a critical success, launching Lynch to the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. Stanley Kubrick said that it was one of his all-time favorite films. It cemented the team of actors and technicians who would continue to define the texture of his work for years to come, including cinematographer Frederick Elmes, sound designer Alan Splet, and actor Jack Nance.

Rise to prominence (1980–1986)

Eraserhead brought Lynch to the attention of producer Mel Brooks, who hired him to direct 1980's The Elephant Man, a biopic of deformed Victorian era figure Joseph Merrick. The film was a huge commercial success, and earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nods for Lynch. It also established his place as a commercially viable, if somewhat dark and unconventional, Hollywoodmarker director. George Lucas, a fan of Eraserhead, offered Lynch the opportunity to direct Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which he refused, feeling that it would be more Lucas's vision than his own.

Afterwards, Lynch agreed to direct a big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune for Italianmarker producer Dino De Laurentiis's De Laurentiis Entertainment Group...on the condition that DEG release a second Lynch project, over which the director would have complete creative control. Although De Laurentiis hoped it would be the next Star Wars, Lynch's Dune (1984) was a critical and commercial dud; it cost $45 million to make, and grossed a mere $27.4 million domestically. Co-star Brad Dourif, who portrayed a sociopathic villain in the film, referred to it as "science fiction's answer to Heaven's Gate" (which Dourif also starred in). Universal Studios released an "extended cut" of the film for syndicated television; this contained almost an hour of cutting-room-floor footage and new narration (this time by a male actor; Virginia Madsen had narrated the theatrical version). Such was not representative of Lynch's intentions, but the studio considered it more comprehensible than the 2-hour version. Lynch objected to these changes and had his name struck from the extended cut, which has "Alan Smithee" credited as the director and "Judas Booth" (a pseudonym which Lynch himself invented, inspired by his own feelings of betrayal) as the screenwriter. The 3-hour version has since been released on video worldwide.

Lynch has never made another film under the pseudonym of "Judas Booth"; however, in 2009 - the movie's 25th anniversary - he was asked by a fan to sign "Booth's" autograph to a vintage paperback about the making of Dune, at West Hollywoodmarker's famous Book Soup. Lynch obliged.

Lynch's second De Laurentiis-financed project was 1986's Blue Velvet, the story of a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) who discovers his small, idealistic hometown hides a dark side after investigating a severed ear he found in a field. The film featured memorable performances from Isabella Rossellini as a tormented lounge singer, and Dennis Hopper as a crude, psychopathic criminal, and the leader of a small gang of backwater hoodlums.

Although Lynch had found success previously with The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet's controversy with audiences and critics introduced him into the mainstream, and became a huge critical and moderate commercial success. Thus, the film earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. The content of the film and its artistic merit drew much controversy from audiences and critics alike in 1986 and onwards. Blue Velvet introduced several common elements of his work, including abused women, the dark underbelly of small towns, and unconventional uses of vintage songs. Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" and Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" are both featured in unconventional ways. It was also the first time Lynch worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti, who would contribute to all of his future full-length films except Inland Empire.

Woody Allen, whose film Hannah and Her Sisters was nominated for Best Picture, said that Blue Velvet was his favorite film of the year.

Continued success (1987-1996) and transition to TV

After failing to secure funding for several completed scripts in the late 1980s, Lynch collaborated with television producer Mark Frost on the show Twin Peaks, which was about a small Washingtonmarker town that is the location of several bizarre occurrences. The show centered around the investigation by FBImarker Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the death of popular high school student Laura Palmer, an investigation that unearthed the secrets of many town residents, something that stemmed from Blue Velvet. Lynch directed six episodes of the series, including the feature-length pilot, wrote or co-wrote several more and even acted in some episodes.

The show debuted on the ABC Network on April 8, 1990 and gradually rose from cult hit to cultural phenomenon, and because of its originality and success remains one of the most well-known television series of the decade. Catch phrases from the show entered the culture and parodies of it were seen on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. Lynch appeared on the cover of Time magazine largely because of the success of the series. Lynch, who has seldom acted in his career, also appeared on the show as the partially-deaf FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, who shouted his every word.

However, Lynch clashed with the ABC Network on several matters, particularly whether or not to reveal Laura Palmer's killer. The network insisted that the revelation be made during the second season but Lynch wanted the mystery to last as long as the series. Lynch soon became disenchanted with the series, and, as a result, many cast members complained of feeling abandoned. Later, in a roundtable discussion with cast members included in the 2007 DVD release of the series, he stated that he and Frost never intended to ever reveal the identity of Laura's killer, that ABC forced him to reveal the culprit prematurely, and that agreeing to do so is one of his biggest professional regrets.

It was at this time that Lynch began to work with editor/producer/domestic partner Mary Sweeney who had been one of his assistant editors on Blue Velvet. This was a collaboration that would last some eleven projects. During this period, Sweeney also gave birth to their son.

Adapted from the novel by Barry Gifford, Wild at Heart was an almost hallucinatory crime/road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. It won the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival but was met with a muted response from American critics and viewers. Reportedly, several people walked out of test screenings.

The missing link between Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, however, is Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted. It was originally presented on-stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Musicmarker in New York Citymarker on November 10, 1989 as a part of the New Music America Festival. Industrial Symphony No. 1 is another collaboration between composer Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. It features five songs by Julee Cruise and stars several members of the Twin Peaks cast as well as Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Julee Cruise. Lynch described this musical spectacle as the "sound effects and music and ... happening on the stage. And, it has something to do with, uh, a relationship ending." David Lynch produced a 50-minute video of the performance in 1990.

Twin Peaks suffered a severe ratings drop and was canceled in 1991. Still, Lynch scripted a prequel to the series about the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer. The resulting film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), flopped at the box office.

As a quick blip during this time period, he and Mark Frost wrote and directed several episodes of the short lived comedy series On the Air for ABC, which followed the zany antics at a 1950s TV studio. In the U.S., only three episodes were aired, although seven were filmed. In the Netherlands, all seven were aired by VPRO. BBC2 in the UK also aired all seven episodes. Lynch also produced (with Frost) and directed the documentary television series American Chronicles.

His next project was much more low-key: he directed two episodes of a three-episode HBO mini-series called Hotel Room about events that happened in the same hotel room in a span of decades.

Comic strip (1983–1992)

Lynch also had a comic strip – The Angriest Dog in the World – which featured unchanging graphics (various panels showing the angular, angry dog chained up in a yard full of bones) and cryptic philosophical references. It ran from 1983 until 1992 in the Village Voice, Creative Loafing and other tabloid and alternative publications.

Recent works (1997–present)

In 1997, Lynch returned with the non-linear, noir-like film Lost Highway, co-written by Barry Gifford and starring Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette. The film failed commercially and received a mixed response from critics. However, thanks in part to a soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins, it helped gain Lynch a new audience of Generation X viewers.

In 1999, Lynch surprised fans and critics with the G-rated, Disney-produced The Straight Story, written and edited by Mary Sweeney, which was, on the surface, a simple and humble movie telling the true story of Iowan Alvin Straight, played by Richard Farnsworth, who rides a lawnmower to Wisconsinmarker to make peace with his ailing brother, played by Harry Dean Stanton. The film garnered positive reviews and reached a new audience for its director.

The same year, Lynch approached ABC once again with an idea for a television drama. The network gave Lynch the go-ahead to shoot a two-hour pilot for the series Mulholland Drive, but disputes over content and running time led to the project being shelved indefinitely.

With seven million dollars from the Frenchmarker production company StudioCanal, Lynch completed the pilot as a film. Mulholland Drive is an enigmatic tale of the dark side of Hollywoodmarker and stars Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Justin Theroux. The film performed relatively well at the box office worldwide and was a critical success, earning Lynch a Best Director prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival (shared with Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There) and a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Association.

Film critic Roger Ebert was notoriously unfavorable towards Lynch, accusing him of misogyny in his reviews of Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. Yet, Ebert reacted positively to The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive writing positive 4/4 star reviews for both. As of 2009, in responses to comments on his blogs, Ebert admits that, while he does not embrace some of Lynch's earlier hit films, it may just be something in him personally that resists. Ebert often mentions he can recognize in all Lynch films that 'something is there'.

In 2002, Lynch created a series of online shorts entitled Dumbland. Intentionally crude both in content and execution, the eight-episode series was later released on DVD. The same year, Lynch treated his fans to his own version of a sitcom via his website - Rabbits, eight episodes of surrealism in a rabbit suit. Later, he showed his experiments with Digital Video (DV) in the form of the Japanese-style horror short Darkened Room.

At the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Lynch announced that he had spent over a year shooting his new project digitally in Polandmarker. The feature, titled Inland Empire, included Lynch regulars such as Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, and Mulholland Drive star Justin Theroux, with cameos by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring (voices of Suzie and Jane Rabbit), and a performance by Jeremy Irons. Lynch described the piece as "a mystery about a woman in trouble". It was released in December, 2006. In an effort to promote the film, Lynch made appearances with a cow and a placard bearing the slogan "Without cheese there would be no Inland Empire".

Despite his almost exclusive focus on America, Lynch has found a large audience in Francemarker; Inland Empire, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me were all funded through French production companies.

The most recent work that Lynch has directed is a fragrance short film/commercial for Gucci. It features 3 prominent models, dancing in what appear to be their own luxurious homes, to the soundtrack of Blondie. A video of the commercial plus a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the commercial is available online at the Gucci website.

In May 2008, Lynch announced that he was working on a road documentary "about his dialogues with regular folk on the meaning of life, with the likes of '60s troubadour Donovan and John Hagelin, the physicist, as traveling companions".

In October, 2008, the OMMA Video Conference, Jen Gregono, chief content officer at On Networks, announced that her company signed Lynch to a webisode series based on his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity.

In June 2009, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse released an album called Dark Night of the Soul, with a 100+ page booklet with visuals by Lynch. The album contained complete packaging and a blank CD because of some dispute with the record label. The artists involved implied that consumers can get the music online and just burn the blank CD provided.

In July 2009, Lynch directed the animated music video for Moby's song "Shot in the Back of the Head". Moby said that the album on which the song is featured, Wait for Me was inspired by a speech given by Lynch about the value of creativity versus creating something with a set of standards imposed by the public.

Awards and honors

David Lynch has twice won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film and served as President of the jury at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where he had previously won the Palme d'Or in 1990. On September 6, 2006, Lynch received a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. He also premiered his latest work, Inland Empire, at the festival.

Lynch has received four Academy Award nominations: Best Director for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001), as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for The Elephant Man (1980).

He was also honored by the Frenchmarker government with the Legion of Honor, the country's top civilian honor, as Chevalier in 2002 then Officier in 2007, and was named the best director in The Guardian's '"The world's 40 best directors"' in 2008.

Frequent collaborators

Main article: Frequent David Lynch collaborators

Lynch is also widely noted for his collaborations with various production artists and composers on his films and multiple different productions. He frequently works with Angelo Badalamenti to compose music for his productions, former wife Mary Sweeney as a film editor, casting director Johanna Ray, and cast members Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie, and Laura Dern.


Although interpretations vary, those who study Lynch's work generally find consistent themes. His narratives are typically set in the United States, either in remote small towns (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet) or in sprawling metropolises (Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, both set in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker). Beaten or abused women are also a common subject, as are intimations or explicit mention of incest and sexual abuse (most of his films).

Most of Lynch's male protagonists harbor some dark secret or have a "dark side" which they suppress; Eraserhead's Henry impregnates and abandons his girlfriend, Jeffrey in Blue Velvet develops sadomasochistic tendencies that violently manifest themselves in his unfaithful couplings with Dorothy, and Leland Palmer has a latent sexual desire for his own daughter in Twin Peaks.

Lynch also tends to feature his leading female actors in multiple or "split" roles, so that many of his female characters have multiple, fractured identities. This practice begins with his choice to cast Sheryl Lee as both Laura Palmer and her cousin Maddy Ferguson in Twin Peaks and continues in his later works. In Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette plays the dual role of Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield. In Mulholland Drive, Naomi Watts plays Diane Selwyn/Betty Elms and Laura Harring plays Camilla Rhodes/Rita. In Inland Empire, Laura Dern plays Nikki Grace/Susan Blue. By contrast, Lynch rarely creates multi-character roles for his male actors.


Lynch has expressed his admiration for filmmakers Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick and Jacques Tati, writer Franz Kafka (stating "the only artist I felt could be my brother was Kafka"), and artist Francis Bacon. He states that the majority of Kubrick films are in his top ten, that he really loves Kafka, and that Bacon paints images that are both visually stunning, and emotionally touching. He has also cited the Austrianmarker expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka as an inspiration for his works. Lynch has a love for the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz and frequently makes reference to it in his films, most overtly in Wild at Heart.

An early influence on Lynch was the book The Art Spirit by American turn-of-the-century artist and teacher Robert Henri. When he was in high school, Bushnell Keeler, an artist who was the stepfather of one of his friends, introduced Lynch to Henri's book, which became his bible. As Lynch said in Chris Rodley's book Lynch on Lynch, "it helped me decide my course for painting — 100 percent right there." Lynch, like Henri, moved from rural America to an urban environment to pursue an artistic career. Henri was an urban realist painter, legitimizing everyday city life as the subject of his work, much in the same way that Lynch first drew street scenes. Henri's work also bridged changing centuries, from America's agricultural 19th century into the industrial 20th century, much in the same fashion as Lynch's films blend the nostalgic happiness of the fifties to the twisted weirdness of the eighties and nineties.

His influences have also included Werner Herzog, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Luis Buñuel. Some of Lynch's influences have cited him as an influence themselves, most notably Kubrick, who stated that he modeled his vision of The Shining (1980) upon that of Eraserhead and who, according to Lynch's book Catching the Big Fish, once commented while screening Eraserhead for a small group that it was his favorite film.

Unfinished and unrealized projects

Ronnie Rocket

Ronnie Rocket drawing by David Lynch.

Ronnie Rocket is an as-yet-unproduced film by David Lynch.

After finishing Eraserhead, Lynch spent two years writing a script for a new project, entitled Ronnie Rocket, which was "about a three-foot tall guy with red hair and physical problems, and about 60-cycle alternating current electricity." Ronnie Rocket was a strange mixture of the abstractness of Eraserhead and Lynch's love of America in the fifties. He has described it as "an American smokestack industrial thing -- it has to do with coal and oil and electricity."

Initially, Lynch and producer Stuart Cornfeld had hoped to get it made with Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean Stanton originally starring in it back in 1987 with it being set in Hoboken, New Jerseymarker. Later on Isabella Rossellini was intended to star in the film.

Various drafts of the script have languished at both Dino De Laurentiis' and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios. Lynch had a multi-picture deal with De Laurentiis that began with Dune. After Blue Velvet, Lynch planned to make Ronnie Rocket but then De Laurentiis' company went bankrupt in 1988 and this project ended up in legal limbo.

Lynch has stated that he is still very much interested in making the film, but anticipates that it will not be a commercial picture, but more personal like Eraserhead. He has already considered Michael J. Anderson who was the Man from Another Place in the Twin Peaks TV show and feature film, as the man to play Ronnie Rocket.

Lynch would like to approach the film much in the same fashion as Eraserhead. "I want to have time to go into that world and live in it for a while, and that costs money. I don't really want to have a normal eleven-week shooting schedule on Ronnie Rocket. I'd rather go with a smaller crew, and build the sets and live in them for a while."

Other projects

  • Gardenback: After the success he had enjoyed with The Grandmother, Lynch moved to Beverly Hills to participate in the AFI's Center for Advanced Film. Lynch began working on a script for a short film called Gardenback in 1970. Lynch spent the whole year working on a 45-page script. The film was to explore the physical materialization of what grows inside a man's head when he desires a woman that he sees. This manifestation metamorphoses into a monster.

Cinematographer/director Caleb Deschanel, who was also at the AFI at the time and wanted to shoot the film, introduced Lynch to a producer at 20th Century Fox. The studio was interested in making a series of low-budget horror films and wanted to expand Gardenback into a feature film. The studio was willing to give Lynch $50,000 to make it but wanted the 45-page script to be expanded. This involved writing dialogue — something Lynch had never tried before. Lynch said in Lynch on Lynch, "What I wrote was pretty much worthless, but something happened inside me about structure, about scenes. And I don't even know what it was, but it sort of percolated down and became part of me. But the script was pretty much worthless. I knew I'd just watered it down." Consequently, Lynch became disenchanted with the project. Some of the elements in Gardenback would later surface in Eraserhead, such as its main characters Henry and Mary X.

  • Dune Messiah: Lynch was in the process of writing the sequel to film Dune (which was partially adapted from the book), but the box office failure of the first film killed the project. From the Inner Views Lynch interview, "...I was really getting into Dune II. I wrote about half the script, maybe more, and I was really getting excited about it. It was much tighter, a better story." From a Prevue article from 1984: "Lynch has written two sequel screenplays to DuneDune Messiah and Children of Dune, based on Herbert's succeeding novels – which currently await the author's approval. Back-to-back lensing is expected if the first film is a success. Although Kyle MacLachlan will portray Paul Atreides in the three Dune spectacles, Lynch promises a different cast each time."

  • Untitled animated short, 1969 or 1970: Though David doesn't remember what the film itself was about, he distinctly recalls that he was paid to produce a short film and the negatives came back from the lab messed up.

  • Red Dragon: Before making Blue Velvet, the film's producer, Richard Roth, approached Lynch with another project—an adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel, Red Dragon. Lynch was turned off by the content of the book and Roth subsequently took the project to Michael Mann who went on to direct the film as Manhunter (1986).

  • The Lemurians: This was a TV show that Lynch was going to do with Mark Frost based on the continent of Lemuria. Their premise for the show was that Lemurian essence was leaking from the bottom of the Pacific Oceanmarker and became a threat to the world. It was intended to be a comedy but when Lynch and Frost tried to pitch this show to NBC, the network rejected it.

  • Goddess: When Lynch and Frost first met, they began working on a project about Marilyn Monroe. Lynch had been fascinated by the actress' life and met with Anthony Summers who wrote a biography of the same name. The more they worked on it, the more they became embroiled in conspiracy theories involving Monroe and the Kennedys which turned Lynch off the project. Twin Peaks was created soon after, which has similarities with the story of Monroe.

  • One Saliva Bubble: This was a comedy that Lynch co-wrote with Mark Frost and intended to direct with Steve Martin and Martin Short starring. It was set in Kansas. Robert Engels describes the premise of the film in Lynch on Lynch: "It's about an electric bubble from a computer that bursts over this town and changes people's personalities - like these five cattlemen, who suddenly think they're Chinese gymnasts. It's insane!"

  • The White Hotel: Lynch was attached to Dennis Potter's adaptation of D.M. Thomas' novel during the late 1980s.

  • I'll Test My Log With Every Branch of Knowledge: Around the time that Lynch and Catherine Coulson made The Amputee, he had an idea for a TV show. He told Chris Rodley in Lynch on Lynch, "It's a half-hour television show starring Catherine as the lady with the log. Her husband has been killed in a forest fire and his ashes are on the mantelpiece, with his pipes and his sock hat. He was a woodsman. But the fireplace is completely boarded up. Because she now is very afraid of fire." The series would have been educational in nature and geared towards families, with the Log Lady teaching her young son a new lesson each week using the log as a demonstration tool. This project never got off the ground, but when it came time to film the pilot for Twin Peaks, Lynch remembered this idea and called Coulson up to appear as the Log Lady.

  • Metamorphosis: This was intended to be an adaptation of the story written by Franz Kafka. Lynch has expressed on several accounts his desire to film the story of Metamorphosis. He has even written a script. The main reason that Lynch has not filmed it is a matter of money and technology involving the transformation of a man into a beetle.

  • The Dream of the Bovine: Lynch and Robert Engels wrote the screenplay for this film after Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. According to Engels in Lynch on Lynch, the film was about "three guys, who used to be cows, living in Van Nuys and trying to assimilate their lives."

  • Untitled Twin Peaks Films: Were Fire Walk With Me to have been a success, the film's backers were prepared to offer Lynch the funding necessary to make two further films, which would have been sequels to the series' narrative. Additionally, Lynch has been trying since 1992 to get the rights to over an hour's worth of unused footage from Fire Walk With Me to be edited together and released.

Personal life

Lynch tends to keep his personal life private and rarely comments on his films. However, he does attend public events and film festivals when he or his films are nominated/awarded. Despite a belief that a film should be seen in its totality , the DVD release of Inland Empire is divided into chapters, with Lynch explaining why in the "Stories" feature. In addition, on his two DVD collections of short films, Lynch provides short introductions to each film.

In the 1980s, Lynch expressed that he liked Ronald Reagan and at one point he had dinner with the Reagans at the White Housemarker, though he sees himself as a Libertarian or Democrat.

In the "Stories" feature on the Eraserhead DVD, Lynch mentions that he ate French fries and grilled cheese almost every day while on the set. Despite his professional accomplishments, Lynch once characterized himself simply as "Eagle Scout, Missoula, Montana".

In 1967, Lynch married Peggy Lentz in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker. They had one child, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, born in 1968, who currently works as a film director. They filed for divorce in 1974. On June 21, 1977, Lynch married Mary Fisk, and the couple had one child, Austin Jack Lynch, born in 1982. They divorced in 1987, and Lynch began dating Isabella Rossellini, after filming Blue Velvet.

Lynch and Rossellini broke up in 1991, and Lynch developed a relationship with Mary Sweeney, with whom he had one son, Riley Lynch, in 1992. Sweeney also worked as long-time film editor/producer to Lynch and co-wrote and produced The Straight Story. The two married in May 2006, but divorced later in July.

Lynch married actress Emily Stofle, who starred in his 2006 film Inland Empire, in February, 2009.

Transcendental meditation

In December 2, 2005, Lynch told the Washington Post that he had been practicing the transcendental meditation technique twice a day, for 20 minutes each time, for 32 years. He was initiated into the transcendental meditation technique in 1973 in Los Angelesmarker by a teacher he thought "looked like Doris Day". Lynch advocates the use of this meditation technique in bringing peace to the world. In July 2005, he launched the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and Peace established to help finance scholarships for students in middle and high schools who are interested in learning the transcendental meditation technique, and to fund research on the technique and its effects on learning. He promotes his vision on college campuses with ongoing tours that began in September 2005.Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught the transcendental meditation to Clint Eastwood and David Lynch.Lynch is working for the building and establishment of seven buildings, in which 8,000 salaried people will practice advanced meditation techniques, "pumping peace for the world." He estimates the cost at $7 billion. As of December 2005, he had spent $400,000 of personal money, and raised $1 million in donations. In December 2006, the New York Times reported that he continued to have that goal. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr formed half a Beatles reunion on April 4, 2009 at "Change Begins Within", a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall for the David Lynch Foundation. The concert’s lineup included Donovan, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Bettye LaVette, Ben Harper, and Mike Love of the Beach Boys. Lynch's book, Catching the Big Fish (Tarcher/Penguin 2006), discusses the impact of the transcendental meditation technique on his creative process. He is donating all author's royalties to the David Lynch Foundation.

Other interests

Lynch maintains an interest in other art forms. He described the twentieth-century artist Francis Bacon as "to me, the main guy, the number one kinda hero painter". He continues to present art installations and stage designs. In his spare time, he also designs and builds furniture. He started building furniture from his own designs as far back as his art school days. He built sheds during the making of Eraserhead, and many of the sets and furniture used in that movie are made by Lynch. He also made some of the furniture for Fred Madison's house in Lost Highway.

Lynch was the subject of a major art retrospective at the Fondation Cartiermarker, Parismarker from March May 3-27 2007. The show was entitled The Air is on Fire and included numerous paintings, photographs, drawings, alternative films and sound work. New site-specific art installations were created specially for the exhibition. A series of events accompanied the exhibition including live performances and concerts.Some of Lynch's art include photographs of dissected chickens and other animals as a "Build your own Chicken" toy ad.

Between 1983 and 1992, Lynch wrote and drew a weekly comic strip called The Angriest Dog in the World for the L.A. Reader. The drawings in the panels never change, just the captions. The comic strip originated from a time in Lynch's life when he was filled with anger.

Lynch has also been involved in a number of musical projects, many of them related to his films. Most notably he produced and wrote lyrics for Julee Cruise's first two albums, Floating into the Night (1989) and The Voice of Love (1993), in collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti who composed the music and also produced. Lynch has also worked on the 1998 Jocelyn Montgomery album Lux Vivens. He has also composed bits of music for Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive, and Rabbits. In 2001 he released BlueBob, a rock album performed by Lynch and John Neff. The album is notable for Lynch's unusual guitar playing style: he plays "upside down and backwards, like a lap guitar", and relies heavily on effects pedals. Most recently Lynch has composed several pieces for Inland Empire, including two songs, "Ghost of Love" and "Walkin' on the Sky", in which he makes his public debut as a singer. 2009: his new book-CD set Dark Night of the Soul is out. In 2008, he started his own record label called David Lynch MC on which its first release Fox Bat Strategy: A Tribute to Dave Jaurequi was released in early 2009. In August 2009, it was announced that he will be releasing Afghani/American singer Ariana Delawari's Lion of Panjshir album in conjunction with Manimal Vinyl Records in October 2009.

Lynch designed his personal website, a site exclusive to paying members, where he posts short videos and his absurdist series Dumbland, plus interviews and other items. The site also features a daily weather report, where Lynch gives a brief description of the weather in Los Angelesmarker, where he resides. As of December, 2008, this weather report (usually no longer than 30 seconds) is also being broadcast on his personal YouTube-channel David Lynch - Daily Weather Report. An absurd ringtone ("I like to kill deer") from the website was a common sound bite on The Howard Stern Show in early 2006.

Lynch is an avid coffee drinker and even has his own line of special organic blends available for purchase on his website. Called "David Lynch Signature Cup", the coffee has been advertised via flyers included with several recent Lynch-related DVD releases, including Inland Empire and the Gold Box edition of Twin Peaks. The possibly self-mocking tag-line for the brand is "It's all in the beans ... and I'm just full of beans." This is also a quote of a line said by Justin Theroux's character in Inland Empire.



Year Film Oscars BAFTA Golden Globe
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1977 Eraserhead
1980 The Elephant Man 8 7 3 4
1984 Dune 1
1986 Blue Velvet 1 2
1990 Wild at Heart 1 1 1
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
1997 Lost Highway
1999 The Straight Story 1 2
2001 Mulholland Drive 1 2 1 4
2006 Inland Empire

Short films

TV and digital

  • Twin Peaks (TV series, 30 episodes) (1990-91)
  • On the Air (TV series, 7 episodes) (1992)
  • Hotel Room (TV series, 3 episodes) (1993)
  • Rabbits (Online series) (2002) - most of the episodes available on The Lime Green Set DVD
  • Dumbland (Online series, 8 episodes) (2002) - available on The Lime Green Set DVD
  • Out Yonder (Online series) (200?) - one episode available on the Dynamic 1 DVD and two episodes on The Lime Green Set DVD
  • Shot in the Back of the Head (2009) - music video for the song from Moby's summer 2009 album Wait for Me.
  • Interview Project (Online series) (2009)



  • David Lynch: Interviews, a collection of interviews with Lynch from 1977 to 2008, edited by Richard A. Barney for the series Conversations with Filmmakers (University Press of Mississippi, 2009, ISBN 1604732377 [paperback], ISBN 1604732369 [hardback]). This volume covers topics that include Lynch's filmmaking, furniture design, painting, and music career.
  • Lynch on Lynch, a book of interviews with Lynch, conducted, edited, and introduced by filmmaker Chris Rodley (Faber & Faber Ltd., 1997, ISBN 0-571-19548-2; revised edition published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005, ISBN 0-571-22018-5).
  • The Passion of David Lynch: Wild at Heart in Hollywood by Martha Nochimson (University of Texas Press, 1997, ISBN 0-292-75565-1).
  • The Complete Lynch by David Hughes (Virgin Virgin, 2002, ISBN 0-7535-0598-3)
  • Weirdsville U.S.A.: The Obsessive Universe of David Lynch by Paul A. Woods (Plexus Publishing. UK, Reprint edition, 2000, ISBN 0-85965-291-2).
  • David Lynch (Twayne's Filmmakers Series) by Kenneth C. Kaleta (Twayne Publishers, 1992, ISBN 0-8057-9323-2).
  • Pervert in the Pulpit: Morality in the Works of David Lynch by Jeff Johnson (McFarland & Company, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-1753-6).
  • Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch. (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2006, ISBN 1585425400 / 978-1585425402)
  • Snowmen by David Lynch, (Foundation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2008 ISBN 978-3-86521-467-6).

External links

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