David Duchovny biography
David Duchovny was born August 7, 1960, in New York, New York. In 1988 he made his silver-screen debut with a bit part in the movie Working Girl. In the early 1990s, he took on a string of small, quirky film roles. In 1993 he landed his breakthrough role as FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files. In 2007 he returned to TV full-time with a starring role as Hank Moody in HBO’s Californication.
David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York, New York. His father, Amram, was a writer and publicist for the American Jewish Committee. His Scottish-born mother Margaret, nicknamed Meg, was a teacher and a school administrator.
David Duchovny is the family’s middle child. He has an older brother named Danny and a younger sister named Laurie. David and his siblings went to live with their mother when their parents divorced. He was 11 years old at the time. Duchovny has described himself as a shy and studious child whose parents’ divorce drove him to overachieve.
As a teen, Duchovny attended prep school on scholarship at the Collegiate School in Manhattan. Unlike most of his classmates, Duchovny lived way uptown and had to work odd jobs: as a bicycle delivery person, and later as a lifeguard on summer breaks. Duchovny graduated valedictorian of his high school class and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in literature at Princeton University. After a year spent working on a novel, Duchovny was awarded a fellowship to attend Yale. At Yale, Duchovny received his master’s degree in English literature and quickly went on to pursue his doctorate.
While he was working on his dissertation at Yale, Duchovny started commuting to New York to act in Broadway plays. His mother was gravely disappointed when he abandoned his thesis to more heavily pursue acting.
Duchovny first achieved commercial success at 27, when he was cast in a television commercial for Lowenbrau beer. In 1988 he made his silver-screen debut with a bit part in the movie Working Girl. The part led to a bigger role in the low-budget art flick New Year’s Day. Frustrated by a lack of significant progress in his career, Duchovny fired his agent and moved to Hollywood, where he hired new representation. Throughout the early 1990s, he took on a string of small, quirky roles in films like The Rapture, Julia Has Two Lovers and Kalifornia with Brad Pitt.
Duchovny’s well-received appearances on the shows Twin Peaks and Red Shoe Diaries led him to believe he could make more money in TV than film. In 1993 he landed his breakthrough role as FBI agent Fox Mulder on the sci-fi TV series The X-Files. Audiences were intrigued by the on-screen chemistry between Duchovny and his co-star Gillian Anderson, who played fellow agent Dana Scully. Some even speculated that the two were fraternizing behind the scenes, although Duchovny denied all allegations. The nerdy yet sexy detective Mulder soon caught on as a sex symbol.
In 1995 the show managed to beat out the wildly popular ER for a Golden Globe Award. The X-Files series concluded with a movie in 1998. For the next decade, Duchovny returned to the big screen, shooting one or two films a year—sometimes more. In 2007 he returned to TV full-time with a starring role as Hank Moody in HBO’s Californication.
In the spring of 1997, Duchovny married actress Téa Leoni after the couple had been dating for only three months. In 2008, Duchovny confessed to being a sex addict and announced he would seek rehab treatment. As a result, the couple separated briefly. In 2011, they separated once again, for undisclosed reasons, with neither willing to comment on whether they planned to divorce. Together Duchovny and Leoni have two children: a daughter named Madelaine and a son, Kyd.