Jack Nance

Jack Nance

Highest Rated: 90% Eraserhead (1977)

Lowest Rated: 8% Ghoulies (1985)

Birthday: Dec 21, 1943

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

A 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 filmed. Born in Boston on December 21, 1943, Nance was raised in Dallas, Texas. Moving to California to join the American Conservatory Theater, Nance met an artist and aspiring filmmaker named David Lynch, who cast him as the hapless Henry Spencer in his student film "Eraserhead." Filming, which was scheduled to take six weeks, stretched from May 1972 to early 1977. (The filming outlasted Nance's marriage to his first wife, Lynch's assistant director Catherine Coulson, whom Nance had married in 1976.) After a supporting role in the Chuck Norris action drama "Breaker! Breaker!" (1977), Nance retreated from acting for five years, resurfacing in Wim Wenders' "Hammett" (1982), horror comedy "Ghoulies" (1984), and action comedy "City Heat" (1984). Along with small roles in all of Lynch's films between "Dune" (1984) and "Lost Highway" (1997), Nance worked steadily as a character actor through the '80s and into the early '90s. His highest-profile role outside of his work with Lynch came in the gritty indie drama "Barfly" (1987) and the Dennis Hopper-directed gang drama "Colors" (1988), but he gained his widest audience as sawmill worker Pete Martell in Lynch's TV series "Twin Peaks" (ABC 1990-91). During this period, Nance was struggling with alcoholism and had a tumultuous relationship with his second wife, adult film actress Kelly Jean Van Dyke, who committed suicide on November 17, 1991. After a period of sobriety, during which he appeared in an episode of teen cult favorite "My So-Called Life" (ABC 1994-95) and indie drama "Love and a .45" (1994), Nance began abusing alcohol again. He died, under mysterious circumstances, of a subdural hematoma in Los Angeles on December 30, 1996.

Highest rated movies

Love and a .45
The Hot Spot
Lost Highway




64% 87% Lost Highway Phil (Character) $3.9M 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Assault on Dome 4 Mellow (Character) - 1997
40% 26% Little Witches Father Michael (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet 33% The Secret Agent Club Doc (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet 20% Voodoo Lewis (Character) - 1995
83% 70% Love and a .45 Justice Thurman (Character) - 1994
No Score Yet 17% Across the Moon Old Cowboy (Character) - 1994
No Score Yet 40% A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives Mr. Harper (Character) - 1993
No Score Yet 25% Meatballs 4 Neil Peterson (Character) - 1992
46% 36% Whore Man Who Helps Liz (Character) $1.0M 1991
73% 49% The Hot Spot Julian Ward (Character) $1.2M 1990
No Score Yet No Score Yet Twin Peaks Pete Martell (Character) - 1990
79% 82% Barfly Detective (Character) $116.6K 1987
8% 20% Ghoulies Wolfgang (Character) - 1985
44% 65% Dune Nefud (Character) - 1984
77% 62% Hammett Gary Salt (Character) - 1982
90% 82% Eraserhead Henry Spencer (Character) - 1977
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fury on Wheels Ace (Character) - 1971
No Score Yet No Score Yet Bushman Unknown (Character) - 1971


No Score Yet No Score Yet Twin Peaks: The Return Pete Martell (archive footage) (Guest Star) 2017
95% 94% My So-Called Life Warren (Guest Star) 1995
82% 89% Twin Peaks Pete Martell (Character) 1990-1991