The actor’s death was first revealed on Facebook by his sister Catherine Von Dohlen on Thursday, with an ode to her brother.
“The world lost a magnificent man on July 5,” she wrote beside of a photo of the two. “Brother Len was passionate about everything and everyone. He was always leading; whether it be riveting conversation, an artistic creation or a trip to new places. He loved a good laugh. He continues on his spiritual journey. Living life full in his memory.”
Von Dolen would become most significantly known for his role as the quiet shut-in Harold Smith in David Lynch’s surrealist television series Twin Peaks. He played a key role in the show and the mystery surrounding Laura Palmer’s murder, having been given her diary by Laura for safe-keeping. He later befriends Palmer’s best friend, Donna Hayward, as she investigates her friend’s death. Unfortunately, Harold’s storyline ends with his suicide after Donna betrays his trust and steals Laura’s diary from his home.
Aside from Twin Peaks and its prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Von Dolen’s made his acting debut in the tv series Kent State in 1981, and marked his film debut in the Oscar-winning film Tender Mercies in 1983. He would go on to have roles in such films like Home Alone 3, Tollbooth, Cadillac, Bird of Prey, Entertaining Angels, and One Good Turn. On television, he starred in Miami Vice, Red Dwarf, Walker Texas Ranger, The Pretender, The Equalizer, Psych, and most recently appeared in an episode of Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville.
News of Von Dolen’s death comes only a month after Twin Peaks’ theme song singer and David Lynch collaborator Julee Cruise died at the age of 65. In May, Twin Peaks actor Kenneth Welsh, who portrayed chess-obsessed villain Windom Earle, died at the age of 80.