- Jan 20, 1946
- Missuola, Montana
From the beginning of his career, David Lynch quickly established himself as the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking, an acclaimed and widely recognized writer-director as well as television producer, photographer, cartoonist, composer, and graphic artist. Walking the tightrope between the mainstream and the avant-garde with remarkable balance… More Bio:
From the beginning of his career, David Lynch quickly established himself as the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking, an acclaimed and widely recognized writer-director as well as television producer, photographer, cartoonist, composer, and graphic artist. Walking the tightrope between the mainstream and the avant-garde with remarkable balance and skill, Lynch brought to the screen a singularly dark and disturbing view of reality, a nightmare world punctuated by defining moments of extreme violence, bizarre comedy, and strange beauty. More than any other arthouse filmmaker of his era, he enjoyed considerable mass acceptance and helped to redefine commercial tastes, honing a surrealistic aesthetic so visionary and deeply personal that the phrase "Lynchian" was coined simply to describe it.
Born January 20, 1946, in Missoula, Montana, David Keith Lynch grew up the archetypal all-American boy. The son of a U.S. Department of Agriculture research scientist, he was raised throughout the Pacific Northwest, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout and even serving as an usher at John F. Kennedy's presidential inauguration. Originally intending to become a graphic artist, Lynch enrolled in the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., in 1963, falling under the sway of expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka and briefly studying in Europe. By the early weeks of 1966, he had relocated to Philadelphia, where he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and began his first experimentation with film.
The violence and decay which greeted Lynch in Philadelphia proved to have a profound and long-lasting effect, as his work became increasingly obsessed with exploring the dark corners of the human experience. From his first experimental student film (1967's "moving painting" Six Men Getting Sick, onward, his vision grew more and more fascinated with the seedy underbelly of everyday life. He received an American Film Institute Grant and made The Alphabet, a partially animated 16 mm color film, soon after, but then turned away from the cinema to renew his focus on fine art. His next short film, The Grandmother, did not appear until 1970.
In 1972, Lynch began work on his first feature effort, Eraserhead. A surreal nightmare borne of the director's own fears and anxieties of fatherhood, the film took over five years to complete, finally premiering in March 1977. An instant cult classic, it was also a tremendous critical success, launching Lynch to the forefront of avant-garde filmmaking. Eraserhead not only established Lynch's singular world view but also 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.
The success of Eraserhead brought Lynch to the attention of Mel Brooks, who was seeking projects to produce besides his own comedies. He recruited Lynch to helm 1980's The Elephant Man, the tale of John Merrick. Complete with a cast including such celebrated talent as John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, and John Gielgud, the film marked Lynch's acceptance into the Hollywood mainstream, even netting an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture as well as a nod for Best Director.
For a time, Lynch opted to advance his script Ronnie Rocket at Francis Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, but when this failed to materialize, he went to work for Dino De Laurentiis, adapting the Frank Herbert science fiction novel Dune. The first of Lynch's films to star actor Kyle MacLachlan, the 1984 big-budget effort was a commercial and critical disaster -- Lynch himself even disowned the project after it was re-edited for release without his consent.
Lynch had agreed to make Dune for de Laurentiis in order to film 1986's Blue Velvet, a long-simmering tale exploring the dark underbelly of small-town life. Insisting upon com
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