Jack Nance

Actor, Paper boy, Hotel clerk
An instant cult celebrity as the star of David Lynch's nightmarish directorial debut "Eraserhead" (1977), Jack Nance lived a life every bit as bizarre as any scenario Lynch ever lensed. An alcoholic for much of his ... Read more »
Born: 12/21/1943 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Actor (33)

Joyride 1997 (Movie)


Little Witches 1997 (Movie)


Lost Highway 1997 (Movie)

Phil (Actor)

Fallen Angels 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)


Across the Moon 1995 (Movie)

Old Cowboy (Actor)

My So-Called Life 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Voodoo 1995 (Movie)


Another Midnight Run 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)


Love & A. 45 1994 (Movie)

Justice Thurmar (Actor)

Motorama 1993 (Movie)


Meatballs 4 1992 (Movie)

Neil Peterson (Actor)

Whore 1991 (Movie)

Middle-Aged Man (Actor)

The Hot Spot 1990 (Movie)

Julian Ward (Actor)

Wild At Heart 1990 (Movie)

OO Spool (Actor)

Colors 1988 (Movie)

Officer Samuels (Actor)

The Blob 1988 (Movie)

Doctor (Actor)

Barfly 1987 (Movie)

Detective (Actor)

Blue Velvet 1986 (Movie)

Paul (Actor)

Ghoulies 1985 (Movie)

Wolfgang (Actor)

City Heat 1984 (Movie)

Aram Strossell (Actor)

Dune 1984 (Movie)

Nefud (Actor)

Johnny Dangerously 1984 (Movie)

Priest (Actor)

Hammett 1982 (Movie)

Gary Salt (Actor)

Eraserhead 1978 (Movie)

Henry Spencer (Actor)

Jump 1970 (Movie)

Ace (Actor)

Another Midnight Run (Movie)

Reilly (Actor)

Assault on Dome 4 (TV Show)


Tricks of the Trade (TV Show)


Twin Peaks (TV Show)

Music (2)

The Singing Detective 2003 (Movie)

("It's Only Make Believe") (Song)

Catch Me If You Can 1989 (Movie)

("It's Only Make Believe") (Song)


An instant cult celebrity as the star of David Lynch's nightmarish directorial debut "Eraserhead" (1977), Jack Nance lived a life every bit as bizarre as any scenario Lynch ever lensed. An alcoholic for much of his life, he recognized in Dennis Hopper on the set of Lynch's "Blue Velvet" (1986) a man who had battled and defeated similar demons and asked for his help. Hopper personally took him to the rehab center Studio 12, out in the valley, and when he emerged he was sober for the first time in memory and had a new friend, Kelly Jean Van Dyke, the troubled daughter of actor Jerry Van Dyke, best known for his role on the television series "Coach".


Catherine Coulson

first wife divorced appeared as the "Log Lady" in "Twin Peaks"

Kelly-Jean Dyke

second wife married June 21, 1991 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada committed suicide on November 17, 1991 daughter of actor Jerry Van Dyke and niece of actor Dick Van Dyke according to Nance, was four-months pregnant at the time of her death

Hoyt Nance

worked at Neiman Marcus survived him

Agnes Nance

survived him

Richard Nance

younger survived him


North Texas State University

Denton , Texas
studied with Paul Baker, founder of Dallas Theater Center; dropped out and moved to California to study acting



Was subject of the film documentary "I Don't Know Jack"


Completed "Joyride", unreleased at time of death


Filmed final role, Phil the mechanic, in Lynch's "Lost Highway", released after his death


Rare feature lead in "Meatballs 4"


Appeared in Lynch's "Wild at Heart"


Was a regular on David Lynch's TV series "Twin Peaks"


TV-movie debut, "Tricks of the Trade" (CBS)


Appeared in Lynch's "Blue Velvet"


Played, in own words, a "doormat" in Lynch's "Dune"


Returned to films with a supporting role in Wim Wenders' "Hammett", produced by Coppola


Met writer-director David Lynch; began work on Lynch's student film, "Eraserhead" (released 1977), their first collaboration


Feature acting debut, "Jump", a racing pic

Starred in radical West Coast stage hit, "Tom Paine" in the late 1960s; director David Lindemann would actually introduce Nance to David Lynch when he was casting "Eraserhead"

Began associating with Francis Ford Coppola in San Francisco

Raised in Texas

Moved back to Los Angeles

Began acting career at the Dallas Theater Center; toured doing childrens' theater

Moved to Los Angeles; relocated to San Francisco and performed with the American Conservatory Theater; met first wife Catherine Coulson while performing in a stage adaptation of Kafka's Amerika at SFSU; she was a student, he a guest artist

At time of death, working on autobiographical screenplay "A Derelict on All Fours"

Suffered a heart attack; friends reported a history of heart problems

Bonus Trivia


Many sources say he worked at Pasadena Playhouse, but PREMIERE (August 1997) says when he arrived in Pasadena, the Playhouse had shut down; he relocated to San Francisco