Walter Olkewicz, best known for his roles in "Twin Peaks" and "Seinfeld," has died at 72.
Olkewicz's son, screenwriter Zak Olkewicz, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that his father had died early Tuesday morning at his Reseda home in Los Angeles.
No cause of death was given but Olkewicz had struggled with health issues for the last 20 years, which included several knee surgeries that continued to get infected, eventually leaving him bedridden. He was forced to take a break from acting and instead diverted his attention to writing for theater.
"He was a good man who pushed his love for creativity and the arts into everything he did," Zak told Deadline in a statement. "He handed that passion down to me, and I look forward to passing it on to the grandchildren he loved so much."
Born on May 14, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey, Olkewicz made his on-screen debut in 1976 when he was cast in "Futureworld." Three years later landed the role as Private Hinshaw in Steven Spielberg's "1941."
Speaking about the film, Olkewicz told Twin Peaks Archive that he was initially a staff writer.
"When Spielberg had everybody recorded on videotape, he took them home to watch them and hired me," he said. "I was hired for one day, with one line. But he liked me and we had some fun so the day I was supposed to work became ten days – and then 28 days."
Olkewicz went on to appear in several other films including "Making the Grade" (1984), "Christopher Guest's The Big Picture" (1989), "Stuart Saves His Family" (1995), and "Par 6" (2002). He also starred in various TV series including "The Last Resort" which ran from 1979 to 1980, "Wizards and Warriors" in 1983 and "Crime" in 1984.
In 1996, he delivered a memorable performance as Nick the cable guy in the “Seinfeld” episode "The Cadillac," which led to roles in "Who's the Boss" and "Night Court," but it was his portrayal as Canadian Jacques in ABC's 1990 hit show "Twin Peaks" that put him into the spotlight. He reprised the role in "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" (1992) and "Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces" (2014) and again in the show's 2017 Showtime reboot.
"It was his first role in almost 15 years, and he did it all from behind a bar to cover the fact that he couldn’t stand," Zak explained to THR.
Olkewicz is survived by Zak, his daughter-in-law, Katrina Rennells, an actress and screenwriter, and grandchildren Sadie and Declan Robert.
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