Rarely has a dead character reflected the identity of a story so well: ‘Twin Peaks’ would not be the same without Laura Palmer, the role that marked the high point of this actress’s career that would never be repeated. What happened to Sheryl Lee?
Who killed Laura Palmer?
Sheryl Lee was born in 1967 in Augsburg, Germany. She grew up in Colorado (USA) and studied drama at different schools. After a tiny role in the movie ‘The Pink Chiquitas’ (starring Frank Stallone), she would arrive the role that would mark his filmography.
His television debut was on ‘Twin Peaks’, the legendary series created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Paradoxically, Lynch’s idea was to give the role of the late Laura Palmer to some girl from Seattle (she didn’t even have to be an actress) and he caught them completely by surprise. Lee’s powerful presenceable to fill the screen just being dead.
Lee’s magnetic energy caused them to expand the role of Laura Palmer, becoming the true icon of the series (in images such as her photograph of a prom queen or when she is found dead wrapped in plastic) and starring in the prequel in movie form: ‘Fire, walk with me’.
The series became television history and read with it. During its broadcast (between 1989 and 1991), the interpreter participated in another Lynch film: ‘Wild Heart’, where she played the good witch, along with Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe.
Although he did not get a role of such magnitude again, he did not lack work during the 90s: he starred in the play ‘Salome’ with Al Pacino ‘back beat’ (a biopic about the beginnings of The Beatles), ‘Reflections from the basement’ (adapted from Dostoevsky with Henry Czerny and Seth Green) or ‘Vampires’ by John Carpenteramong many others.
At the beginning of the 2000s, he returned to television more frequently, in series such as ‘Doctors in Los Angeles’, ‘Kingping’ or ‘One Tree Hill’, as well as brief appearances in ‘Without a trace’, ‘House’ or ‘CSI: New York’. A curious fact is that She almost played Mary Alice in ‘Desperate Housewives’although in the end it could not be, and it would have been the second time that Lee played a character whose death gives rise to the entire series.
pause and return
An event that marked his life was when was diagnosed with neutropenia in 2007, a blood disease that increases the risk of life-threatening infections. Lee says that she was seriously ill for more than four years and that, although she tried to continue working, she was physically exhausted.
The illness affected his health, his career and his financesas he had to sell most of his possessions (including some ‘Twin Peaks’ memorabilia) and move to a small California hostel.
Since then, the actress has continued to make brief appearances in series such as ‘Lie to me’, ‘Psych’ either ‘rose wood’in addition to a regular role in ‘SexyMoney’ and films like ‘Winter’s Bone’ with Jennifer Lawrence or Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’.
However, if any project has managed to approach the notoriety that ‘Twin Peaks’ had at the time, it is precisely the return of the series 25 years later, just as Laura Palmer herself prophesied. In 2017, ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ aroused passions and hatreds alike, but there is no doubt that it became one of the phenomena of recent television history.
Currently, Lee collaborates with various environmental associations and has a couple of audiovisual projects in hand, although he continues to put his health first to avoid relapses. We don’t know if we will see Laura Palmer again in the future but, as she demonstrated more than 30 years ago, you do not need to be present to leave a mark.