Lara Flynn Boyle

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Lara Flynn Boyle
Lara Flynn Boyle.jpg
Boyle at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball in September 1990
Born (1970-03-24) March 24, 1970 (age 51)
Alma materThe Chicago Academy for the Arts
Years active1987–2015
John Patrick Dee III
(m. 1996; div. 1998)

Donald Ray Thomas II
(m. 2006)
Partner(s)Kyle MacLachlan (1990–1992)
Jack Nicholson (1999–2004)
RelativesCharles A. Boyle (grandfather)

Lara Flynn Boyle (born March 24, 1970) is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her role as Donna Hayward in the ABC cult television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991). After portraying Stacy in Penelope Spheeris's comedy Wayne's World (1992), Boyle had a lead role in John Dahl's critically acclaimed neo-noir film Red Rock West (1993), followed by roles in Threesome (1994), Cafe Society (1995), and Happiness (1998). From 1997 to 2003, Boyle portrayed Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble in the ABC television series The Practice for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Early life[]

Boyle was born in Davenport, Iowa, the daughter of Sally Flynn, a clerical worker, assistant, and manager, and Michael L. Boyle.[1][2] Her paternal grandfather was U.S. Representative Charles A. Boyle.[3] She has Irish, German, and Italian ancestry.[4] She is named after a character in Boris Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago. Her father left when she was six, causing her and her mother to move to smaller quarters. Around this time, she was diagnosed with dyslexia.[5] She was raised in Chicago, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts.[6]


1986–1991: Career beginnings and Twin Peaks[]

Boyle and Kyle MacLachlan arriving at the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards in August 1991

In 1986, Boyle landed a small part in John Hughes's teen comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which earned her a SAG card, though her scenes were deleted from the final cut of the film. Subsequently, Boyle had a supporting role as Jackie Bradford in the television miniseries Amerika (1987), followed by guest appearances on episodes of the series Jack and Mike (1987) and Sable (1987).

After a string of supporting roles, Boyle landed a lead role in the Gary Sherman horror film Poltergeist III (1988), which was distributed by the media company MGM. Although she was cast as Ginny Danburry in Peter Weir's drama film Dead Poets Society (1989), her scenes were ultimately deleted from the final cut.[7]

Twin Peaks gave me everything I have as an actor. It put me where I am now because it was so beautifully soulful, and I think it just brought out the best of the actors. There was no acting going on – we were living on Twin Peaks. It gave me my career.

—Boyle discussing the impact Twin Peaks had on her career.[8]

In 1989, Boyle rose to international prominence when David Lynch cast her as Donna Hayward in the cult television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991). The series focused on the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer, with Boyle portraying Laura's best friend. Her main storyline focused on her trying to solve the mystery of who killed Laura.

The series premiered April 8, 1990, on ABC and subsequently became one of the top-rated series of 1990, but a decline in ratings ultimately led to its cancellation after its second season in 1991.[9][10][11][12] Boyle appeared in all 30 episodes.

When discussing Lynch's direction, Boyle stated, "I remember, in the pilot, I did a very long scene that we had to shoot 30 or 40 times. David came up to me and said quietly, in my ear: 'Think of how gently a deer has to move in the snow…' It was strange direction. But that's what I thought of, and it worked. We were at the helm of a piece of heaven on Twin Peaks and we just went where David Lynch told us. That might sound very obscure but it really is true. How he sees the world is how we should all see the world."[8]

In October 1990, while promoting Twin Peaks, Boyle was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine along with her costars Mädchen Amick and Sherilyn Fenn. While starring on Twin Peaks, Boyle portrayed Sarah in Clint Eastwood's action film The Rookie (1990), Rosarita in Adam Rifkin's satirical comedy film The Dark Backward (1991), Mara Motes in Michael Karbelnikoff's crime film Mobsters (1991), and Sandra Gladstone in the romantic thriller Eye of the Storm (1991).

Boyle also appeared in the television films Terror on Highway 91 (1989), The Preppie Murder (1989), as well as episodes of The Hidden Room and May Wine.

1992–2003: Red Rock West and early success[]

Shortly after the cancellation of Twin Peaks, plans were being made for a feature film adaptation. Boyle was asked by Lynch to reprise her role as Donna Hayward in the psychological horror film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) but she was unable to commit to the project due to scheduling conflicts with her roles as Heather in Marc Rocco's drama film Where the Day Takes You (alongside her Twin Peaks costar Kyle MacLachlan), Stacy in Penelope Spheeris's comedy Wayne's World, and Beverly Franks in Alan Rudolph's crime drama Equinox. This led to her being replaced by actress Moira Kelly. In 1993, Boyle starred as Kris Bolin in the thriller film The Temp and portrayed the temptress Suzanne Brown in the neo-noir film Red Rock West alongside Nicolas Cage and Dennis Hopper.[13]

In 1994, Boyle was cast as Alex in the comedy Threesome, Laraine Cotwell in Baby's Day Out, and Ida Muntz in The Road to Wellville. The same year, Boyle appeared in the television films Past Tense and Jacob. In 1995, she was cast as Pat Ward in the mystery film Cafe Society. In 1997, she portrayed Marianne Byron in the film Afterglow. Boyle auditioned for the title role in David E. Kelley's Ally McBeal. Although she lost out to Calista Flockhart, Boyle impressed Kelley enough to cast her the role of Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble in his other 1997 series, The Practice. The following year, Boyle portrayed Helen Jordan in Todd Solondz’s controversial comedy-drama film Happiness.[14]

She starred on The Practice until 2003, when, in a dramatic attempt to revamp the show and cut costs, she was dismissed along with most of the cast.[15] For her performance as Helen Gamble, she received an Emmy nomination as well as several Screen Actors Guild ensemble cast nominations. Boyle also made a crossover appearance in the role of Helen Gamble in an episode of Ally McBeal, and an uncredited guest appearance on the same show in its final season.[16]

In 2002, Boyle played a lead role in the blockbuster feature film Men in Black II, as the villainous shapeshifting alien Serleena. She also guest-starred on one of the last episodes of Ally McBeal, this time as Tally Cupp, and had a recurring role on several episodes of Huff.[17]

2004–present: Return to television and independent films[]

In 2005, Boyle joined the cast of Las Vegas for a seven-episode stint as Monica Mancuso, a new hotel owner. She played Barbara Amiel in the television film Shades of Black, about Amiel and her husband, Lord Black. Boyle also guest-starred as an ambitious reporter involved with the suspects in a possible murder in the Law & Order 2008 episode "Submission".[18]

Boyle and Kyle MacLachlan at the Governor's Ball held immediately after the 1990 Emmy Awards

In 2009, Boyle portrayed Mary in Baby on Board. The same year, Boyle was cast as Betty McBain in the independent film Life Is Hot in Cracktown.[19] In 2010, she starred as Kathy in Cougar Hunting. In 2013, Boyle portrayed Witch Agnes in the horror comedy film Hansel & Gretel Get Baked. In 2015, she portrayed Ms. Donley in the film Lucky Dog.

In 2020, after a five-year break, she returned to acting to star as Grace in the film Death in Texas alongside Stephen Lang.[20]

Personal life[]

Boyle was in a relationship with Twin Peaks costar Kyle MacLachlan from 1990 to 1992. Boyle has been married twice. Her first husband was John Patrick Dee III, whom she married on August 11, 1996, and divorced two years later.[21] Boyle dated actor David Spade, and later dated Jack Nicholson after he asked Boyle out in front of Spade while they were smoking marijuana. Spade later found out they were together after Nicholson and Boyle were involved in a car crash, covered by paparazzi.[22] They went public with their romance at the 1999 Emmys, and reportedly remained together until the end of 2000.[23] Her second and current husband is Donald Ray Thomas II, a real estate investor, whom she married on December 18, 2006, in San Antonio, Texas.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Heather (scenes deleted)
1988 Poltergeist III Donna Gardner
1989 How I Got into College Jessica Kailo
Dead Poets Society Ginny Danburry (scenes deleted)
1990 The Rookie Sarah Ackerman
1991 The Dark Backward Rosarita
Mobsters Mara Motes
Eye of the Storm Sandra Gladstone
1992 Where the Day Takes You Heather
Wayne's World Stacy
Equinox Beverly Franks Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
1993 The Temp Kris Bolin
Red Rock West Suzanne Brown / Ann McCord
1994 Threesome Alex
Baby's Day Out Laraine Cotwell
The Road to Wellville Ida Muntz
1995 Cafe Society Pat Ward
1996 The Big Squeeze Tanya Mulhill
1997 Farmer & Chase Hillary
Red Meat Ruth
Afterglow Marianne Byron
Cannes Man Herself
1998 Happiness Helen Jordan
Susan's Plan Betty Johnson
2000 Chain of Fools Karen
2001 Speaking of Sex Emily Paige
2002 Men in Black II Serleena Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
2006 Land of the Blind First Lady Yuppie girl Short film
2007 Have Dreams, Will Travel Ben's Mother
2009 Baby on Board Mary Radcliffe
Life Is Hot in Cracktown Betty McBain
2010 Cougar Hunting Kathy
2013 Hansel & Gretel Get Baked Witch Agnes Also associate producer
2015 Lucky Dog Ms. Donley
2020 Death in Texas Grace


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Jack and Mike Leslie Episode: "Quality of Mercy"
Amerika Jackie Bradford 5 episodes
Sable Melanie Waterston Episode: "Toy Gun"
1989 Terror on Highway 91 Laura Taggart Television film
The Preppie Murder Jennifer Levin Television film
1990–1991 Twin Peaks Donna Hayward 30 episodes
1991 The Hidden Room Nicole Episode: "Splinters of Privacy"
May Wine Cammie Television film
1994 Past Tense Tory Bass / Sabrina James Television film
Jacob Rachel Television film
1995 Legend Theresa Dunleavy Episode: "Skeletons in the Closet"
1997–2003 The Practice Helen Gamble 116 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1999–2001)
1998 Ally McBeal Helen Gamble Episode: "Making Spirits Bright"
Since You've Been Gone Grace Williams Television film
2002 Ally McBeal Tally Cupp Episode: "Tom Dooley"
2004–2005 Huff Melody Coatar 5 episodes
2005–2006 Las Vegas Monica Mancuso 8 episodes
2006 The House Next Door Col Kennedy Television film
Shades of Black: The Conrad Black Story Barbara Amiel Television film
2008 Law & Order Dawn Talley Episode: "Submission"


  1. ^ "Lara Flynn Boyle Biography (1970–)".
  2. ^ "Marriage Announcement 4 -- No Title". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois: Tribune Publishing. March 23, 1969.
  3. ^ Kilian, Michael (October 5, 1997). "Thanks, Ma Lara Flynn Boyle Remains Grounded By Her Chicago Roots". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois: Tribune Publishing.
  4. ^ "Lara Flynn Boyle Online – TWOH Interview – Page 3 of 6". Archived from the original on August 5, 2002.
  5. ^ Diamond, Jamie (July 27, 2002). "Tough Cookie, Snug Retreat: At Home with Lara Flynn Boyle". The New York Times. New York City. p. F6.
  6. ^ Hart, Hugh (September 10, 1992). "RUNAWAY SUCCESS". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  7. ^ Donelan, Loretta (June 9, 2014). "'Dead Poets Society' Turns 25 & Here's 9 Little Known Facts About the Film". Bustle. New York City: Bustle Digital Group. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b Anthony, Andrew (March 20, 2010). "Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama". The Guardian. London, England: Guardian Media Group.
  9. ^ Moldovan, Raluca (June 1, 2015). "'That Show You Like Might Be Coming Back in Style': How Twin Peaks Changed the Face of Contemporary Television". American, British and Canadian Studies Journal. 24 (1): 44–68. doi:10.1515/abcsj-2015-0003. ISSN 1841-964X.
  10. ^ Williams, Rebecca (June 3, 2016). "Ontological Security, Authorship, and Resurrection: Exploring Twin Peaks' Social Media Afterlife". Cinema Journal. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. 55 (3): 143–147. doi:10.1353/cj.2016.0029. ISSN 1527-2087.
  11. ^ Garner, Ross P. (June 3, 2016). ""The Series That Changed Television"?: Twin Peaks, "Classic" Status, and Temporal Capital" (PDF). Cinema Journal. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. 55 (3): 137–142. doi:10.1353/cj.2016.0020. ISSN 1527-2087.
  12. ^ Crouch, Ian (October 7, 2014). "Some Thoughts on the Planned Return of Twin Peaks". The New Yorker. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  13. ^ Thomas, Kevin (March 25, 1994). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Red Rock West': An Honest, Stylishly Likable Film Noir". Los Angeles Times. New York City. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 9, 1998). "FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; Faulty Families: Music Is Easy Listening and Dessert Is Hard to Take". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  15. ^ Fleming, Michael; Adalian, Josef (May 19, 2003). "'Practice' cast off the docket". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  16. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (December 18, 1998). "'The Practice' and 'Ally' are still crossing paths". Deseret News. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  17. ^ "Boyle in a 'Huff' for Showtime". Chicago Tribune. May 3, 2004. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  18. ^ Details of "Submission", 2008 episode of Law & Order at the Internet Movie Database
  19. ^ Goldstein, Gregg (March 13, 2007). "Next stop: 'Cracktown' for 6 actors". Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Valence Media. Associated Press.
  20. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 6, 2019). "Stephen Lang Joins 'Death in Texas'; KJ Smith Cast In 'Fatal Affair'; Oliver Cooper In 'Ghostbusters'". Deadline Hollywood. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  21. ^ "Ex 'Vegas' Actress Boyle Gets Hitched". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida: Tribune Publishing Company. December 20, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  22. ^ Ahsan, Sadaf (August 27, 2015). "How David Spade lost girlfriend Lara Flynn Boyle to Jack Nicholson". National Post. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Postmedia Network. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Silverman, Stephen M.; Ingrassia, Lisa (December 20, 2006). "Lara Flynn Boyle Weds". People. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  24. ^ "Lara's reality show". The New York Post. New York City: News Corp. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010.

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