Jack Nance

Jack Nance


12/21/1943, Boston, Massachusetts



Birth Name

Marvin John Nance



Also Known As

John Nance
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Jack Nance was an American actor best known for his collaborations with filmmaker David Lynch. Born in Boston, MA, in 1943, the actor started his career in show business on stage at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, CA. It was there where he met Lynch, who…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Jack was wanted by David Lynch to be the lead in The Elephant Man (1980) but the part was given by the studio to John Hurt, who recieved an Oscar nomination for his portrayal.

    • Jack was a Journalism major before dropping out of school to go into theater full-time.

    • Jack's last on-screen appearance, Lost Highway (1997), also had the last feature film appearance of Richard Pryor.

    • Jack appeared in a made-for-tv movie broadcast in France, The Cowboy And The Frenchman (1988).

    • Jack worked twice with Kyle MacLachlan, in Blue Velvet (1986) and later in Twin Peaks.

    • Jack appeared with Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet (1986).

    • Jack appeared in the 1983 video for the punk group Suicidal Tendencies' song "Institutionalized."

    • Jack's life and death were the subject of the documentary I Don't Know Jack (2002).

    • Jack's ex-wife, Catherine Coulson, later starred with him as the "Log Lady" character on Twin Peaks.

    • Jack worked for 5 years on Eraserhead (1978) after director David Lynch had originally promised he'd only be working six weeks on it. He also maintained the same hairstyle for the duration of the filming. Shooting on the film was so slow that a scene featuring his character walking in a room had him aged 18 months after walking through the door.

    • Jack was working on an autobiographical screenplay, "A Derelict On All Fours," when he died.

    • Jack was married twice, to actress Catherine Coulson from 1968 to 1976, and to Nancy Kelly, from June 21, 1991 until her suicide on November 17, 1991.

    • Jack was good friends with Dennis Hopper, who helped him overcome his problems with alcoholism.

    • Jack was originally the first choice for the lead role in The Graduate (1967).

    • Jack was cast in every movie that director David Lynch made from Eraserhead (1978) until Lost Highway (1997), with the exception of The Elephant Man (1980).

    • Jack was 5 feet 6 inches tall.

  • Quotes

    • (On his alcoholism and his part in Blue Velvet)
      Jack Nance: I was in very bad shape, very sick. I told Lynch, 'I can't not drink, but I can do the movie.'

    • (About his role in Eraserhead)
      Jack Nance: You guys get way too deep over this business. I don't take it all that seriously. It's only a movie.

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