• Lenny Von Dohlen was born in 1958 in Augusta, Georgia and raised in Goliad, Texas with German ancestry.
• He studied theater at the University of Texas and Loretto Heights College, then moved to New York City to pursue acting.
• His best-known roles were in "Electric Dreams," "Twin Peaks," and "Billy Galvin."
• Lenny was in a relationship with playwright James Still at the time of his death in 202•
• He had a net worth of $5 million and earned around $100,000 a year from his acting career.
Early life, family, educational background
American film, stage, and television actor Lenny Von Dohlen, was born on 22 December 1958, in Augusta, Georgia, USA, making him a Capricorn. He was raised in Goliad, Texas, and had German ancestry from his father’s side. When he was young, Lenny wanted to become a jockey, but he grew up to be too tall for the job.
He attended the University of Texas, where he studied Theater, and then attended Loretto Heights College located in Denver, Colorado. After graduating he moved to New York City, to work on building his acting career. In an interview, Lenny shared, ‘I knew I wanted to go to New York City to work in the theater… so I rid myself of my Texas accent by listening to John Gielgud records.’ Ironically, the first role Lenny was offered once he moved to New York, was as a Texian band leader.
He acted in independent films, guest-appeared in series, and acted on stage throughout his 40-year-long career. His best-known roles are as Miles Harding in 1984’s “Electric Dreams,” Harold Smith in both “Twin Peaks” and the 1992 film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” and in 1986’s “Billy Galvin” as Karl Malden.
Who is James Still?
American writer, screenwriter, and playwright James Still was born on 31 May 1959 in Emporia, Kansas, USA, making him a Gemini. He was dating Lenny when the latter passed. He grew up in a small town in Kansas and studied at the University of Kansas.
James is a fellow of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and a member of the National Theatre Conference. He has won numerous awards for his work including the William Inge Festival ‘Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award,’ the Orlin Corey Medallion, the Charlotte B, and the Todd McNerney National Playwriting Prize. Some of his best-known plays are “Miranda,” “Before We Forgot How to Dream,” “The Widow Lincoln,” and “When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives a Bird the Bird.”
He maintains a private personal life, and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Lenny’s television debut was in 1981 when he appeared in NBC’s telefilm “Kent State,” an Emmy award-winning series. In the 80s, he acted in “The Equalizer,” “Miami Vice,” “Don’t Touch,” “thirtysomething” and “Tales From the Darkside.”
I can't wait! But it's 2:30am for me so I might have to listen later.
His next television appearance was in 1990 as Harold Smith, an agoraphobic orchid lover in “Twin Peaks.” Lenny played John Wilkes Booth in “The Lazarus Man” and in “Picket Fences” as Marlee Matlin’s character’s gay brother in 1992. That year he also appeared in series V of BBC’s “Red Dwarf” series in episode six entitled “Back to Reality.” In 1996 he appeared in “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Lenny was cast in the recurring role of Mr. Cox in “The Pretender” in 1999, he also played in “Chicago Hope” that year.
In 2000 he appeared in “The Ponder Heart” on PBS. The series was a Masterpiece Theatre rendition of Eudora Welty’s production. He reprised his role as Harold in the 2010 USA Network series “Psych.” He portrayed Sheriff Andrew Jackson in the episode entitled “Dual Spires” and appeared alongside Sheryl Lee who played Laura Palmer and Madeleine ‘Maddy’ Ferguson; Laura and Maddy are cousins. In 2017 Lenny played priest Valondis in episode 12 of “The Orville,” a futuristic sci-fi series by Seth MacFarlane that is shown on Fox. According to his manager, Steven J Wolfe, ‘… theater was his first love.’
Lenny’s film debut was in 1983’s “Tender Mercies,” an Academy Award-winning film that starred Robert Duvall. The following year he starred as a shy architect Miles Harding in “Electric Dreams” alongside Maxwell Caulfield, Alan Polonsky, Bud Cort, and Virginia Madsen. Miles is in love with his neighbor but shockingly, so is his computer; the two compete against each other and sabotage one another in an effort to win her affection. American film critic Roger Ebert complemented Lenny’s performance and stated that it was ‘perfect casting.’ In 1985 he played in “Under the Biltmore Clock,” opposite Karl Malden in 1986’s “Billy Galvin” as the titular character, in 1987’s “Dracula’s Widow” and in 1992’s “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” “Blind Vision,” Leaving Normal,” and “Jennifer 8.”
Lenny has also appeared in a number of independent films including 1994’s “Tollbooth,” 1996’s “One Good Turn,” “Entertaining Angels” and “Bird of Prey,” and 1997’s “Home Alone 3,” where he showed his talent for physical comedy as one of the bad guys in the film. “Frontline” and “Cadillac.” In 2007 he appeared in “Teeth” which was nominated at both the Berlin Film Festival Dramatic Competition and Sundance and in “Beautiful Loser.” He played Sheriff Jack Carter in the 2010 short film “Night Blind” and Elder Daniel in “Downstream.” In 2015, Lenny portrayed Oskar Knight, a famous fictional film director in “Near Myth: The Oskar Knight Story,” a mockumentary.
Lenny had quite a successful on-stage career. He acted in “Vanishing Act,” “The Maderati,” Twister,” “Asian Shade” and “The Team.” He starred in “Cloud 9” for a total of nine months; the production was directed by Tommy Tune and written by Caryl Churchill. Lenny then went on to star opposite Kathy Baker in a “Desire Under the Elms,” revival by The Roundabout Theatre Company. At the Cleveland Play House, he starred in a few well-known productions such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet” and “Loot, Legacy of Light” and at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, he played in “Doubt” and in “A Poster of the Cosmos,” a one-man play by Lanford Wilson.
He acted at the La Jolla Playhouse in “Lulu” by Wedekind, at the Black Dahlia Theater in “Theater District” and at the Pasadena Playhouse in “The Blue Room.” At the Theater at Boston Court, Lenny played Don Quixote in “Camino Real” written by Tennessee Williams and he originated the role of Voltaire, a famous literary personality in the premiere of “Light,” written by Jean Claude van Italli. In 2012 he acted in “Private Lives” as E
Lenny married model Marina Drujko in 2007, and they have a daughter together named Hazel Von Dohlen, but their marriage ended after a year. At the time of his passing, Lenny was in a relationship with playwright James Still, but there’s no information on their relationship.
After a long illness, Lenny passed away on 5 July 2022, only 63 years old; his passing was announced on his sister Catherine’s Facebook account on 8 July, she wrote ‘The world lost a magnificent man on July 5. Brother Len was passionate about everything and everyone. He was always leading; whether it be riveting conversation, an artistic creation, or a trip to new places. He loved a good laugh. He continues on his spiritual journey. Living life full in his memory.’ Steven, his manager, confirmed that Lenny died in his home in Los Angeles. Lenny’s father Leonard passed away in 2009, but his mother Gay Von Dohlen, partner, and his siblings Catherine, Mary Gay and John David are still alive.
American-Canadian actress Jennifer Tilly posted a dedication to Lenny on her social media, with a photo of herself and Lenny on the set of “Sallywood”, accompanied with the caption, ‘Rip Lenny Von Dohlen. A wonderful actor and a lovely human being. We’ve worked on so many projects together. Here we are in the upcoming film “Sallywood” (along with director Xaque Gruber. A kind and gentle soul, gone too soon.’
One of Lenny’s most famous quotes is, ‘My nature was one that I didn’t think I’d be happy doing, something that was dispassionate or routine. I didn’t know if it came to me in a dream, but whenever the decision was made, it was total and the obsession was absolute.’
Lenny stood at 6ft 2ins (188cm) tall and had blue eyes and black hair which greyed. His weight is unknown.
Net worth and salary
At the time of his death, Lenny’s net worth was estimated at $5 million, and he earned around $100,000 a year from being a successful actor.