Kenneth Welsh, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ actor, dies at 80

Kenneth WelshA prolific Canadian character actor with over 200 screen credits died Thursday night. He was 80 years old.

ACTRA, a Canadian film and television union, confirmed the news on Friday.

“Ken is one of Canada’s greatest performers of all time and has played hundreds of memorable roles for decades,” ACTRA said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed. I would like to express my condolences to his loved ones.”

Wales is best known to American viewers for his role as Wyndham Earl, an enthusiastic FBI agent in Season 2 of the groundbreaking television series.Twin Peaks.. “

He was a consistent figure on Canadian television, frequently starring in television films and drawing several historical figures on the screen.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1942, Wales studied at the Canadian National Drama School in Montreal. He then spent the first few years of his career as a performer at the world-famous Stratford Festival, known for his Shakespeare theater performances. In 2006, he starred in an episode of the acclaimed comedy series “Slings and Arrows,” set in a fictional theater company modeled after Stratford.

Wales’ first screen credit was as a performer in the 1963 CBC anthology series “Shoestring Theater,” where he saw a group of actors perform a minimalist, experimental drama. He made several more television appearances in the 1960s, including the television film versions of “Henry V” (playing Gray) and “Three Gunmen” (playing a central role in Dartanyan). ..

From the 70’s to the 80’s, Wales worked primarily in Canada.

He played a remarkable role in television films such as “Hedda Gabler,” “Reno and the Doc,” “A Stranger Waits,” and “Love and Hate.” In 1988, he played a supporting role in “Crocodile Dundee II” and starred in the ongoing episode of the “Twilight Zone” resurrection.

Wales was cast in 1990 as Wyndham Earl, one of the main villains of “Twin Peaks” Season 2. Earl, a former partner and mentor of Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), a special agent of the main character, went mad and killed his wife. After escaping captivity, he traveled to the famous Twin Peaks town in the hope of unleashing the power of the supernatural Black Lodge.

Wales had a menacing presence as a memorable Earl due to his cruel nature and his obsession with chess. The actor starred in 10 episodes of the show and was a central figure in the show’s famous ambiguous finale.

After “Twin Peaks,” Wales continued to appear frequently in Canadian productions, but began more work in the United States. He has made guest appearances on programs such as The X-Files, Low & Order, Dew South, Young Superman, Stargate Atlantis, The Expanse, and Star Trek: Discovery. ..

In 2018, Wales played a notable repetitive role in Lodge 49, where he played Larry Loomis, the leader of the fraternity order. He also continued to star in television films, including playing American President Harry S. Truman in two separate works, “Hiroshima” in 1995 and “Heaven” in 2001.

From 2000 to 2002, Wales played Dr. Watson on the other side of Matt Frewer as Sherlock Holmes in four Hallmark Channel television films.

Wales played a supporting role in theatrical films such as “Timecop” and “Legend of the Fall.” In 2004, he played Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” as Dr. Hepburn, the father of Cate Blanchett’s Katharine Hepburn. That same year, he also played the incompetent US Vice President Raymond Becker in Roland Emmerich’s disaster film The Day After Tomorrow. At the time of the film’s release, there were some criticisms of how Wales resembled then Vice President Dick Cheney. This was acknowledged by Emmerich as intentional.

Other notable movies include “The Fog,” “The Covenant,” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”

At the time of his death, Wales had several projects in post production.

He was scheduled to make a guest appearance on Prime Video Revival of the Canadian sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall, which will be released later this month. Other upcoming roles include appearances in movies such as “Campton Manor,” “Midnight at the Paradise,” “Deadly Draw,” and “Afterwards.”

Wales is survived by his son, singer-songwriter Devon Wales.

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