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Sheryl Lee

Lee at the 1991 Emmy Awards
Born April 22, 1967 (1967-04-22) (age 42)
Augsburg, Germany
Other name(s) Sheryl Lee Diamond
Spouse(s) Jesse Diamond

Sheryl Lee (born April 22, 1967) is an American actress. She came to international attention for her performances as Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson on the 1990 cult TV series Twin Peaks and in the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. She is also known for portraying photographer Astrid Kirchherr in Backbeat and for her role in Vampires, as well as for her television series roles in LA Doctors, Kingpin, One Tree Hill and Dirty Sexy Money.


Early life

Lee was born in Augsburg, Bavaria, West Germany, the daughter of an artist mother and architect father.[1] She grew up in Boulder, Colorado, United States, where she was a graduate of Fairview High School (class of 1985).

Acting career

Lee is remembered by legions of David Lynch fans for her appearance as the dead Laura Palmer in the cult television series Twin Peaks. When the series was picked up, Lee was also given the part of Laura's cousin Maddy Ferguson later in the series (a role which was reportedly written because Lynch, impressed with her abilities, wanted to give her a fuller role on the show). She also starred in the prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which elaborated on events leading up to Laura Palmer's death.

Other prominent roles have included playing the part of Astrid Kirchherr in the 1994 movie Backbeat, a bio-pic of the early career of The Beatles opposite Stephen Dorff, the part of Liza in Gary Walkow's 1995 adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella Notes from Underground opposite Henry Czerny, the role of Katrina in John Carpenter's 1998 film Vampires opposite James Woods and Daniel Baldwin, and the role of Marlene Cadena in the 2003 television series Kingpin opposite Yancey Arias and Bobby Cannavale. Sheryl Lee also starred alongside Craig Sheffer in Bliss (1997). Lee starred opposite Anthony Michael Hall as the sweet but vengeful housewife Eve Robbins in the 2001 USA Cable movie Hitched.

In 2004, Lee was the original choice for the role of Mary-Alice Young on Desperate Housewives. It would have been the second time she would have played a dead character on a series; however, the producers ultimately chose to replace her with Brenda Strong.

In 2005, she played the recurring part of Ellie Harp, the biological mother of Peyton Sawyer (played by Hilarie Burton), who battles breast cancer, on the third season of the WB Network series One Tree Hill.

In 2007 and 2008, Lee appeared on the ABC dramedy, Dirty Sexy Money as Andrea Smithson, the mother of Brian Darling's (Glenn Fitzgerald) illegitimate child.

In 2001, she presented the I Love 1990 segment of the BBC's popular I Love 1990s series.

On stage, Lee starred on Broadway in 1992 alongside Al Pacino in Oscar Wilde's Salome as the title role, in the Circle in the Square Theatre, under the direction of Robert Allan Ackerman. The play co-starred Suzanne Bertish, Esai Morales and Arnold Vosloo.

Personal life

She dated David Duchovny. She was married to Jesse Diamond, a photographer and son of singer and songwriter Neil Diamond. They have a son, Elijah.

She is an avid member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and has assertively campaigned against fur and mistreatment of animals. In 2008, she participated in the 3rd Munchkin's Project Pink annual breast cancer awareness campaign to raise money for breast cancer research.

Lee practices kundalini yoga.

Awards and nominations

Saturn Awards
Sundance Film Festival
  • 1995: won the Spirit of Sundance Award for her body of work
Independent Spirit Awards
  • 1993: nominated for Best Female Lead -- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Soap Opera Digest Awards


Film credits

Film credits
Year Title Role Director Other notes
1990 Wild at Heart The Good Witch David Lynch
1992 Jersey Girl Tara David Burton Morris
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Laura Palmer David Lynch Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1994 Backbeat Astrid Kirchherr Iain Softley
Don't Do It Michelle Eugene Hess
1995 Fall Time Patty/Carol Paul Warner
Homage Lucy Samuel Ross Marks
Notes from Underground Liza Gary Walkow
1996 Mother Night Helga Noth / Resi Noth Keith Gordon
1997 The Blood Oranges Fiona Philip Haas
This World, Then the Fireworks Lois Archer Michael Oblowitz
Bliss Maria Lance Young
1998 Vampires Katrina John Carpenter Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1999 Kiss the Sky Andy Roger Young
Angel's Dance Angelica Chaste David L. Corley
2002 Children on Their Birthdays Elinore Murphy Mark Medoff
2005 Paradise, Texas Betsy Kinney Lorraine Senna
2010 Winter's Bone April Debra Granik

Television series credits

Television series credits
Year Title Episodes Role Director/Series creator Network Other notes
1990 Twin Peaks Laura Palmer / Maddy Ferguson David Lynch, Mark Frost ABC regular (2 seasons, 1990–1991)
1992 Red Shoe Diaries 1.8 Jake's Story Kate Lyons Michael Karbelnikoff Showtime guest
1994 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 2.15 Another Woman Catherine Chuck Bowman CBS guest
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters 1.3 Krumm Goes Hollywood Nickelodeon guest voice
1998 L.A. Doctors Dr. Sarah Church John Lee Hancock CBS regular (1 season, 1998-1999)
2003 Kingpin Marlene Cadena David Mills NBC regular (1 season, 2003)
Without a Trace 2.10 Coming Home Tina Hodges Tony Wharmby CBS guest
2004 Desperate Housewives 1.0 Pilot Mary Alice Young Marc Cherry ABC original unaired pilot
2005 One Tree Hill Ellie Harp Mark Schwahn The WB recurring (seasons 2-3, 2005-2006)
2006 CSI: NY 3.9 And Here's To You, Mrs Azrael Ellen Garner David Von Ancken CBS guest
House M.D. 3.2 Cane and Able Stephanie Green Daniel Sackheim Fox guest
2007 Manchild 1.0 Pilot Mary Stephen Gyllenhaal Showtime not ordered to series
State of Mind 1.1 Pilot Leslie Petrovsky Amy Bloom Lifetime guest
Dirty Sexy Money Andrea Smithson Craig Wright ABC recurring (seasons 1-2, 2007-2009)

Television movies credits

Television movies credits
Year Title Role Director Network Other notes
1991 Love, Lies and Murder Patti Bailey Robert Markowitz NBC
1994 Guinevere Guinevere Jud Taylor Lifetime
1995 Follow the River Mary Ingles Martin Davidson ABC
1997 David Bathsheba Robert Markowitz TNT TV miniseries
2001 Hitched Eve Robbins Wesley Strick USA
2006 The Secrets of Comfort House Wendy Timothy Bond Lifetime

Stage credits

Stage credits
Year Title Role Director Theatre
1992 Salome Salome Robert Allan Ackerman Circle in the Square Theatre


Year Title Role Creator Publisher
1994 Murder Mystery 3: Who Killed Brett Penance? — The Environmental Surfer Lucie Fairwell Shannon Gilligan Creative Multimedia Corporation
Murder Mystery 4: Who Killed Taylor French? — The Case of the Undressed Reporter Lucie Fairwell Shannon Gilligan Creative Multimedia Corporation


Further reading

External links

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