David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker, painter, musician, and actor. He is best known for writing and directing films such as Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), and Mulholland Drive (2001), which are often regarded by critics as among the best films of their times, and for his television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017). These works led to him being labeled “the first popular Surrealist” by film critic Pauline Kael. A recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 2019, he has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and has won the César Award for Best Foreign Film twice, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. In 2007, a panel of critics convened by The Guardian announced that “after all the discussion, no one could fault the conclusion that David Lynch is the most important film-maker of the current era”, while AllMovie called him “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking”.
Lynch’s first feature-length film, the surrealist horror Eraserhead (1977) became a success on the midnight movie circuit, and he followed that by directing The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), and Blue Velvet (1986). Lynch next created his own television series with Mark Frost, the popular murder mystery Twin Peaks (1990–1991), which ran for two seasons. He also created the film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), the road film Wild at Heart (1990), and the family film The Straight Story (1999) in the same period. Turning further towards surrealist filmmaking, three of his subsequent films operated on dream logic non-linear narrative structures: Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001), and Inland Empire (2006). Lynch and Frost reunited in 2017 for a third season of Twin Peaks, which aired on Showtime. Lynch co-wrote and directed every episode, as well as reprising his onscreen role as Gordon Cole.