80-year-old Kenneth Welsh, the actor known for his memorable villain from Twin Peaks and his roles in hit films such as The Day After Tomorrow and The Aviator, died. He was a Canadian film and television actor.
The prolific performer passed away peacefully at his home outside of Toronto while surrounded by loved ones on May 5, his agent Pam Winter confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. His family did not share a cause of death.
ACTRA, the union for Canadian actors, posted a tribute message Friday to social media that read, in part, “Ken was one of Canada’s all-time great performers, with hundreds of memorable roles spanning decades. He will be greatly missed.”
Born March 30, 1942, in Edmonton, Alberta, Welsh relocated to Montreal to attend the National Theatre School. He began his career as a member of Ontario’s acclaimed Stratford Festival, heralded for its performances of Shakespearean plays.
Welsh went on to star in numerous TV and film projects, many shot in his native Canada. Throughout his career, he portrayed several historical figures and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his performance as Thomas Edison in the 1998 TV movie Edison: The Wizard of Light.
Among his key roles was his part as Windom Earle in Twin Peaks, featured prominently in the series’ second season. Welsh played the vice president in Roland Emmerich’s 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow and was the father of Katharine Hepburn, as played by Cate Blanchett, in Martin Scorsese’s 2004 Oscar-winning Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.
He has also appeared in films such as Legends of the Fall (1994), Miracle (2004), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and on such popular series as The X-Files, Law & Order and The Practice. The performer had stayed busy with work in recent years, notching recurring roles on Lodge 49, Star Trek: Discovery, and The CW’s rebooted Charmed.
Kenneth Welsh had several projects in post-production at the time of his death, including his appearance on an episode of Amazon’s revival of the Canadian sketch series The Kids in the Hall, launching later this month.
Accolades from throughout his career include earning a Canadian Genie Award for his role in the 1995 film Margaret’s Museum, set in Nova Scotia and starring Helena Bonham Carter. In 2003, he was named a member of the prestigious Order of Canada.
His son, musician Devon Welsh, survives Welsh.