HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleAl Strobel, ‘Twin Peaks’ Actor, Dead at 83

Al Strobel, ‘Twin Peaks’ Actor, Dead at 83

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Amy T. Zielinski/Getty Images)

Al Strobel, most recognized as Phillip Gerard, the one-armed man on “Twin Peaks,” died on Friday, Dec. 2. He was 83. Strobel passed in Eugene, Oregon.

Strobel was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1939. He lost his left arm at the shoulder in a car accident when he was 17, but never let that stop him from pursuing a creative life. He spent much of his time in the 1970s in Oregon, where he was involved in theatre at the University of Oregon. He co-founded the Church of the Creative there.

Most notably, he portrayed Phillip Gerard on “Twin Peaks” and the film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.” But he also had roles in the films “Shadow Play,” “Megaville,” and “Ricochet River.” Additionally, he was in stage productions of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Oklahoma,” and “Richard III.”

On “Twin Peaks,” Strobel portrayed Phillip Michael Gerard, or Mike, also known as the one-armed man. Mike removed his arm to prevent a sinister entity from entering his body. He also performed the poem titled “Fire Walk With Me,” which remains one of the most haunting and riveting moments of the show. He appeared in 10 episodes across the two original seasons of “Twin Peaks.”

The title of Mike’s poem went on to become the subtitle of the “Twin Peaks” 1992 film. Al Strobel reprised his role for the film, before retiring from acting in 2005 and returning to Eugene, OR. But, he then came out of retirement in 2016 for “Twin Peaks: The Return.” He initially supported David Lynch in his departure from the revival in 2015. But, when David Lynch returned, so did Strobel, taking up the mantle of the one-armed man once again.

‘Twin Peaks’ Cast and Creators Remember Al Strobel

“Twin Peaks” producer Sabrina Sutherland recently released a statement on behalf of Strobel’s family. “Through the darkness of future past and much sadness we say goodbye to Al Strobel.” she wrote. “He is an irreplaceable human being and will always be an important part of our Twin Peaks family.”

Sutherland initially broke the news of Al Strobel’s death on social media, writing, “I am sad to have to post that Al Strobel passed away last night. I loved him dearly.”

“Twin Peaks” co-creator Mark Frost also posted his condolences on Twitter. He wrote, “Oh no… Dear Al… as those of you lucky enough to have met him over the years, what a warm and wonderful gentleman he was.”

Dana Ashbrook, who portrayed Bobby Briggs across the entire “Twin Peaks” series, shared his memories of Al Strobel on Twitter as well. “Sad, sad news,” he wrote. “He was the sweetest of men. A wonderful storyteller… and to watch him roll a one-handed cigarette – pure magic.”

This year we have also lost three other “Twin Peaks” stars: Julee Cruise passed at 65 in June, and Lenny Van Dohlen passed at 63 in July. Additionally, in May, we lost Kenneth Welsh at 80.