David Duchovny Biography

Musician, Author, Television Actor, Animal Rights Activist, Actor, Film Actor (1960–)
Actor David Duchovny is best known for his award-winning roles on the TV series 'The X-Files' and 'Californication.'


Actor David Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York, New York. Following early stints on Twin Peaks and Red Shoe Diaries, he landed a career-defining role as FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the popular sci-fi show The X-Files. Duchovny later starred on the long-running Showtime series Californication. In 2015, he added author and musician to his resume with the release of a book and an album.

Early Life

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.

Along with older brother Danny and younger sister Laurie, Duchovny went to live with his mother when his parents separated. Just 11 years old at the time, he later described himself as a shy and studious child whose parents’ divorce drove him to overachieve.

As a teen, Duchovny earned a scholarship to attend the Collegiate School in Manhattan. Unlike most of his classmates, Duchovny lived way uptown and had to work odd jobs, including as a bicycle delivery person and a lifeguard. He graduated valedictorian of his high school class and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in literature at Princeton University. Awarded a fellowship to attend Yale, he received his master’s degree in English literature, and embarked on the pursuit of his doctorate.

Acting Career

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 devote more time to 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 (1989), and the actor moved to Los Angeles in an attempt to get his career off the ground.

Duchovny first became known for his brief but standout performance as a transvestite DEA agent on the popular TV drama Twin Peaks, and he regularly narrated Showtime's erotic Red Shoe Diaries series. He also took on a string of film roles during this period, surfacing in The Rapture (1991), Julia Has Two Lovers (1991) and Kalifornia (1993), with Brad Pitt.

In 1993, Duchovny landed his breakthrough role as FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the sci-fi TV series The X-Files. Audiences were intrigued by the show's twisting tales of paranormal activity, as well as by the on-screen chemistry between Duchovny and co-star Gillian Anderson, who played fellow agent Dana Scully. Many speculated that the two were a romantic item behind the scenes, although Duchovny denied all allegations. Initially a cult favorite, The X-Files became hugely popular and a regular winner on the awards circuit, with Duchovny taking home a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a television drama in 1997. He also starred in The X-Files feature film in 1998, and remained with the show until 2002.

Along with his TV work, Duchovny starred in the romantic-comedy Return to Me in 2000, and the sci-fi flick Evolution the following year. His inaugural directorial effort, House of D, debuted at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, and he reprised the role of Fox Mulder for The X-Files: I Want to Believe in 2008.

The actor enjoyed a return to small screen success in 2007 on Showtime's Californication. He starred as Hank Moody, a troubled writer who struggles with substance abuse as he deals with an array of work and relationship issues. The actor nabbed a second Golden Globe for his work on the show, which concluded in 2014.  

The year 2015 turned out to be a busy one for Duchovny. He released his first book, the coming-of-age Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, as well as his debut album, a folk-rock compilation titled Hell Or Highwater. That spring he appeared in a new show, Aquarius, portraying a cop in late 1960s Los Angeles. He also gave old X-Files fans a reason to rejoice when it was announced he would return with Gillian Anderson to star in a six-episode miniseries set to air in early 2016.

Personal Life

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. The couple filed for divorce in 2014. Together Duchovny and Leoni have two children: a daughter named Madelaine and a son, Kyd.

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