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Sheryl Lee (born April 22, 1967) is an American actress. She came to international attention for her performances as Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson on the 1990 cult TV series Twin Peaks and in the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. She is also known for portraying photographer Astrid Kirchherr in Backbeat and for her role in Vampires, as well as for her television series roles in LA Doctors, Kingpin, One Tree Hill and Dirty Sexy Money.

Early life

Lee was born in Augsburgmarker, Bavariamarker, West Germanymarker, the daughter of an artist mother and architect father. She grew up in Boulder, Coloradomarker, United States, where she was a graduate of Fairview High Schoolmarker (class of 1985).

Acting career

Lee is remembered by legions of David Lynch fans for her appearance as the dead Laura Palmer in the cult television series Twin Peaks. When the series was picked up, Lee was also given the part of Laura's cousin Maddy Ferguson later in the series (a role which was reportedly written because Lynch, impressed with her abilities, wanted to give her a fuller role on the show). She also starred in the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which elaborated on events leading up to Laura Palmer's death.

Other prominent roles have included playing the part of Astrid Kirchherr in the 1994 movie Backbeat, a bio-pic of the early career of The Beatles opposite Stephen Dorff, the part of Liza in Gary Walkow's 1995 adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella Notes from Underground opposite Henry Czerny, the role of Katrina in John Carpenter's 1998 film Vampires opposite James Woods and Daniel Baldwin, and the role of Marlene Cadena in the 2003 television series Kingpin opposite Yancey Arias and Bobby Cannavale. Sheryl Lee also starred alongside Craig Sheffer in Bliss (1997).Lee starred opposite Anthony Michael Hall as the sweet but vengeful housewife Eve Robbins in the 2001 USA Cable movie Hitched.

In 2004, Lee was the original choice for the role of Mary-Alice Young on Desperate Housewives. It would have been the second time she would have played a dead character on a series; however, the producers ultimately chose to replace her with Brenda Strong.

In 2005, she played the recurring part of Ellie Harp, the biological mother of Peyton Sawyer (played by Hilarie Burton), who battles breast cancer, on the third season of the WB Network series One Tree Hill.

In 2007 and 2008, Lee appeared on the ABC dramedy, Dirty Sexy Money as Andrea Smithson, the mother of Brian Darling's (Glenn Fitzgerald) illegitimate child.

In 2001, she presented the I Love 1990 segment of the BBC's popular I Love 1990s series.

On stage, Lee starred on Broadwaymarker in 1992 alongside Al Pacino in Oscar Wilde's Salome as the title role, in the Circle in the Square Theatre, under the direction of Robert Allan Ackerman. The play co-starred Suzanne Bertish, Esai Morales and Arnold Vosloo.

Personal life

She dated David Duchovny. She was married to Jesse Diamond, a photographer and son of singer and songwriter Neil Diamond. They have a son, Elijah.

She is an avid member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and has assertively campaigned against fur and mistreatment of animals. In 2008, she participated in the 3rd Munchkin's Project Pink annual breast cancer awareness campaign to raise money for breast cancer research.

Lee practices kundalini yoga.

Awards and nominations

Saturn Awards
* 1999: nominated for Best Supporting Actress -- Vampires
* 1993: nominated for Best Actress -- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Sundance Film Festival
* 1995: won the Spirit of Sundance Award for her body of work

Independent Spirit Awards
* 1993: nominated for Best Female Lead -- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Soap Opera Digest Awards
* 1992: nominated for Best Prime Time Death Scene -- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me


Year Title Role Director/Series creator Notes
1990 Twin Peaks (TV pilot) Laura Palmer David Lynch
Wild at Heart The Good Witch David Lynch
Twin Peaks (TV series, 1990-1991) Laura Palmer
Maddy Ferguson
David Lynch, Mark Frost regular
1991 Love, Lies and Murder (TV) Patti Bailey Robert Markowitz
1992 Jersey Girl Tara David Burton Morris
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Laura Palmer David Lynch Nominated for Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated for Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1994 Backbeat Astrid Kirchherr Iain Softley
Guinevere (TV) Guinevere Jud Taylor
Don't Do It Michelle Eugene Hess
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV series episode 2.15 Another Woman) Catherine Chuck Bowman guest appearance
1995 Fall Time Patty/Carol Paul Warner
Homage Lucy Samuel Ross Marks
Notes from Underground Liza Gary Walkow
Follow the River (TV) Mary Ingles Martin Davidson
1996 Mother Night Helga Noth, Resi Noth Keith Gordon
1997 The Blood Oranges Fiona Philip Haas
This World, Then the Fireworks Lois Archer Michael Oblowitz
Bliss Maria Lance Young
David (TV) Bathsheba Robert Markowitz
1998 Vampires Katrina John Carpenter Nominated for Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
L.A. Doctors (TV series, 1998-1999) Dr. Sarah Church John Lee Hancock regular
1999 Kiss the Sky Andy Roger Young
Angel's Dance Angelica Chaste David L. Corley
2001 Hitched (TV) Eve Robbins Wesley Strick
2002 Children on Their Birthdays Elinore Murphy Mark Medoff
2003 Kingpin (TV series) Marlene Cadena David Mills regular
Without a Trace (TV series episode 2.10 Coming Home) Tina Hodges Tony Wharmby guest appearance
2004 Desperate Housewives (TV pilot) Mary Alice Young Marc Cherry original unaired pilot
2005 Paradise, Texas Betsy Kinney Lorraine Senna
One Tree Hill (TV series, 2005-2006) Ellie Harp Mark Schwahn recurring role (seasons 2-3)
2006 The Secrets of Comfort House (TV) Wendy Timothy Bond
House (TV series episode 3.02 Cane and Able) Stephanie Daniel Sackheim guest appearance
CSI: NY (TV series episode 3.09 And Here's To You, Mrs Azrael) Ellen Garner David Von Ancken guest appearance
2007 State of Mind (TV series episode 1.01 Pilot) Leslie Petrovsky Amy Bloom guest appearance
Dirty Sexy Money (TV series, 2007-2008) Andrea Smithson Craig Wright recurring role (seasons 1-2)


Further reading

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