HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleKenneth Welsh, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Law & Order’ Actor, Dead at 80

Kenneth Welsh, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Law & Order’ Actor, Dead at 80

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Juanito Aguil/Getty Images)

Canadian Actor Kenneth Welsh, best known for his contributions to Twin Peaks, and who appeared in shows like Star Trek: Discovery, and Law & Order, has passed away at the age of 80. On Friday, The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Canadian film and television union, confirmed the heartbreaking news.

“ACTRA Toronto is extremely saddened today by the passing of Kenneth Welsh,” the statement reads. “Ken was one of Canada’s all-time great performers, with hundreds of memorable roles spanning decades. He will be greatly missed. Our condolences to his loved ones.”

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kenneth Welsh began in acting career at the young age of 21, when he starred in a Canadian TV series entitled Shoestring Theatre. After that, he would go on to build an incredible 60-year career in Hollywood.

During his length career, Kenneth Welsh amassed over 200 acting credits, many of which were in award-winning productions such as The Day After Tomorrow and Miracle. Perhaps his most memorable role, however, was that of former FBI agent Windom Earle in the 1990 TV series Twin Peaks.

Kenneth Welsh Once Called ‘Twin Peaks’ Role a ‘Favorite Character’

In 2019, Kenneth Welsh discussed his now iconic Twin Peaks role with 25YearsLater. To Welsh, it doesn’t get much better than Windom Earle. “I could name lots of great characters I played on stage. But, for television, there’s just no more favorite character than Windom,” Welsh said. “That’s always been true. Not just because I’m here and everyone wants to love me. I’ve always thought that way ever since I’ve done it. Whenever anybody stops and says, ‘You’re Windom Earle!’ I say, ‘Yes. I. Am. Thank you.'”

“My favorite was in this town I live called Uxbridge, Ontario,” the Twin Peaks star continued. “I was going to the bank once years ago and just as I was about to go in, there was a couple of guys up on a ladder, doing some work up there. One of them leaned over and went ‘What’s Windom Earle doing in Uxbridge?’ I say, ‘I f—ing live here!'”

Though Kenneth Welsh expressed surprise that Twin Peaks is still talked about, he added that he was “ever so pleased” at the series’ enduring popularity. As for Windom Earle, Welsh said being recognized as the character was a regular thing. “Well he’s like a bloody icon now,” Welsh explained. “I can’t say enough how happy I am that I got to play him.”