Lara Flynn Boyle

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.

Lara Flynn Boyle
Boyle at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball in September 1990
Born (1970-03-24) March 24, 1970
Alma materThe Chicago Academy for the Arts
Years active1987–2014
John Patrick Dee III
(m. 1996; div. 1998)

Donald Ray Thomas II
(m. 2006)

Early life

Boyle was born in Davenport, Iowa, the daughter of Sally, 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 one eighth Italian ancestry.[4] She is named after a character in Boris Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago. Her father left when she was 6 and her mother had to move to smaller quarters, and that time it was not voluntary. To add to her unhappiness, she was dyslexic.[5] She was raised in Chicago, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts.


1986-1991: Career beginnings and Twin Peaks

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.

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.[6]

In 1989, Boyle rose to international prominence when David Lynch cast her as the investigative teenager Donna Hayward in Northwest Passage, the television pilot for 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.[7][8][9][10] 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."[11]

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 adaption. 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.

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, the actress impressed Kelley enough to create the role of Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble in his other 1997 series, The Practice, specifically for her. The following year, Boyle portrayed Helen Jordan in the controversial comedy-drama film Happiness.

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. 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.

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.

2004-2014: Independent films and return to television

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's controversial husband, Lord Conrad Black. Boyle also guest-starred as an ambitious reporter involved with the suspects in a possible murder in the Law & Order 2008 episode "Submission".[12]

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.[13] 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 2014, she portrayed Ms. Donley in the film Lucky Dog.

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.[14] Later, Boyle dated Jack Nicholson. They went public with their romance at the 1999 Emmys, and remained together until the end of 2000.[15] Her current husband is Donald Ray Thomas II, a real-estate investor, whom she married on December 18, 2006, in San Antonio, Texas.[16] She has no children.



Year Title Role Notes
1986Ferris Bueller's Day OffHeather(scenes deleted)
1988Poltergeist IIIDonna Gardner
1989How I Got into CollegeJessica Kailo
Dead Poets SocietyGinny Danburry(scenes deleted)
1990The RookieSarah
1991The Dark BackwardRosarita
MobstersMara Motes
Eye of the StormSandra Gladstone
1992Where the Day Takes YouHeather
Wayne's WorldStacy
EquinoxBeverly FranksNominated-Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
1993The TempKris Bolin
Red Rock WestSuzanne Brown / Ann McCord
Baby's Day OutLaraine Cotwell
The Road to WellvilleIda Muntz
1995Cafe SocietyPat Ward
1996The Big SqueezeTanya Mulhill
1997Farmer & ChaseHillary
Red MeatRuth
AfterglowMarianne Byron
Cannes ManHerself
1998HappinessHelen Jordan
Susan's PlanBetty Johnson
2000Chain of FoolsKaren
2001Speaking of SexDr. Emily Paige
2002Men in Black IISerleenaNominated-Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress
2006Land of the BlindFirst Lady
Fwiends.comYuppie girlShort film
2007Have Dreams, Will TravelBen's Mother
2009Baby on BoardMary Radcliffe
Life Is Hot in CracktownBetty McBain
2010Cougar HuntingKathy
2013Hansel & Gretel Get BakedWitch Agnesalso associate producer
2014Lucky DogMs. Donley


Year Title Role Notes
1987Jack and MikeLeslieEpisode: "Quality of Mercy"
AmerikaJackie Bradford5 episodes
SableMelanie WaterstonEpisode: "Toy Gun"
1989Terror on Highway 91Laura TaggartTV movie
The Preppie MurderJennifer LevinTV movie
1990–1991Twin PeaksDonna Hayward30 episodes
1991The Hidden RoomNicoleEpisode: "Splinters of Privacy"
May WineCammieTV movie
1994Past TenseTory Bass/Sabrina JamesTV movie
JacobRachelTV movie
1995LegendTheresa DunleavyEpisode: "Skeletons in the Closet"
1997–2003The PracticeHelen Gamble116 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)
1998Ally McBealHelen GambleEpisode: "Making Spirits Bright"
Since You've Been GoneGrace WilliamsTV movie
2002Ally McBealTally CuppEpisode: "Tom Dooley"
2004–2005HuffMelody Coatar5 episodes
2005–2006Las VegasMonica Mancuso8 episodes
2006The House Next DoorCol KennedyTV movie
Shades of Black: The Conrad Black StoryBarbara AmielTV movie
2008Law & OrderDawn TalleyEpisode: "Submission"


  1. "Lara Flynn Boyle Biography (1970-)".
  2. "Marriage Announcement 4 -- No Title". Chicago Tribune. 1969-03-23.
  3. Kilian, Michael (1997-10-05). "Thanks, Ma Lara Flynn Boyle Remains Grounded By Her Chicago Roots". Chicago Tribune.
  4. "Lara Flynn Boyle Online – TWOH Interview – Page 3 of 6". Archived from the original on 2002-08-05.
  5. Jamie Diamond. "Tough Cookie, Snug Retreat: At Home with Lara Flynn Boyle", The New York Times, 27 July 2002, page F6
  6. "Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama". thegaurdian. US. March 20, 2010.
  7. 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). doi:10.1515/abcsj-2015-0003. ISSN 1841-964X.
  8. Williams, Rebecca (June 3, 2016). "Ontological Security, Authorship, and Resurrection: Exploring Twin Peaks' Social Media Afterlife". Cinema Journal. 55 (3): 143–147. doi:10.1353/cj.2016.0029. ISSN 1527-2087.
  9. Garner, Ross P. (June 3, 2016). ""The Series That Changed Television"?: Twin Peaks, "Classic" Status, and Temporal Capital". Cinema Journal. 55 (3): 137–142. doi:10.1353/cj.2016.0020. ISSN 1527-2087.
  10. Crouch, Ian (October 7, 2014). "Some Thoughts on the Planned Return of Twin Peaks". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  11. Anthony, Andrew (March 20, 2010). "Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer's death marked the rebirth of TV drama". The Observer. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  12. Details of "Submission", 2008 episode of Law & Order at the Internet Movie Database
  13. "Next stop: 'Cracktown' for 6 actors". Hollywood Reporter.
  14. Skeels, Virginia (August 9, 2012). "Lara Flynn Boyle's leggings accentuate her matchstick-thin legs (but at least she's eating)". Daily Mail. London.
  15. "Lara Flynn Boyle Weds" December 20, 2006 People Magazine
  16. "Lara's reality show". Archived from the original on October 6, 2010.
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