Kenneth Welsh, the Canadian actor known as the unhinged FBI agent Windom Earle on the cult series “Twin Peaks,” has died at age 80, the Canadian film and television union said Saturday.
“Ken was one of the greatest Canadian artists of all time, with hundreds of memorable roles over decades,” ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed. Our condolences to his loved ones.”
The actor had participated in dozens of films, in supporting roles, directed by Martin Scorsese, in “The Aviator”; and also worked, alongside Brad Pitt, on “Legends of Passion.”
Welsh was born in 1942 in Edmonton, and studied at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. Throughout his career he had more than 200 screen credits where he played several historical figures, including Harry S. Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Colin Thatcher and Thomas Edison.
His beginnings were at the Stratford Festival, where he specialized in Shakespeare. He made his debut in “Shoestring Theatre”, a CBC anthology series, in 1963.
From Twin Peaks to X-Files
In the 70s and 80s, Welsh worked mainly in Canada, in television films such as Hedda Gabler, Brethren, Reno and the Doc, Love & Larceny, The Cuckoo Bird, Murder Sees the Light, Loose Ends, A Stranger Esperas and Love and Hate.
In 1988, he played a supporting role in Crocodile Dundee II and starred in an episode of “TheTwilight Zone”. After Twin Peaks, the police drama with a surreal touch, which became a cult series directed, among others, by David Lynch, Welsh also participated in the series “The X-Files” and “Law & Order”, among the best known.
As for the big screen, the actor had dozens of supporting roles. Among those remembered are Timecop (1994), with Jean Claude Van Damme, and Legends of Passion (1994), with Brad Pitt. A decade later, he would lend the body to Katharine Hepburn’s father in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.” The same year, he played the incompetent Vice President of the United States Raymond Becker in “The Day After Tomorrow.” He also participated in “La niebla”, “Pacto infernal” and “Los cuatro fantásticos” and “Silver Surfer”, among many other films.