Jack Nance in Boston, Massachusetts on December 21, 1943, but raised in Dallas, Texas. He worked for some time with the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. In the 1970s, Nance met David Lynch, who cast him as the lead in his bizarre independent film Eraserhead. Nance's performance as the neurotic, big-haired Henry Spencer is an iconic one in cult film. At the time, Nance was married to the actress Catherine E. Coulson (the future Log Lady in Twin Peaks), but they divorced in 1976. Nance married porn actress Nancy Kelly (born Kelly van Dyke) in May 1991. Kelly was the daughter of Coach star Jerry Van Dyke. Their marriage ended tragically when Kelly committed suicide by hanging on November 17, 1991. Nance, who was filming Meatballs 4 at the time, told his brother that he was on the phone with Kelly trying to console her when she killed herself.
In his later years, Nance grew a small white moustache and was a distinctive presence in many films with his peculiar twisted smile and bug eyes. Nance remained on good terms with Lynch, who cast him in nearly all of his projects:
Dune: a small role as the Harkonnen Captain Nefud Blue Velvet: a supporting role as Paul, a creepy friend of Dennis Hopper's villain The Cowboy and the Frenchman: plays Pete, one of the cowboys Twin Peaks: Pete Martell, the henpecked sawmill gaffer Wild at Heart: a small role as the very weird '00 Spool' Lost Highway: Phil the mechanic Nance died in South Pasadena, California on December 30, 1996 under mysterious circumstances. The famously temperamental Nance claimed to have been involved in a brawl outside a Winchell's Donuts on the morning of December 28, in which he received serious head injuries which caused a subdural hematoma, resulting in his death two days later. However, acquaintances note that Nance was a notorious late sleeper and was rarely ever awake at the time he said he was at the donut shop, and that the circumstances of his death were most unusual.
External links Jack Nance at Internet Movie Database Jack Nance at Find A Death Jack Nance at Find-A-Grave