Catherine E. Coulson

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Catherine E. Coulson
Catherine Elizabeth Coulson

(1943-10-22)October 22, 1943
DiedSeptember 28, 2015(2015-09-28) (aged 71)
Alma mater
Notable workTwin Peaks
(m. 1968; div. 1976)
  • Marc Sirinsky

Catherine Elizabeth Coulson (October 22, 1943 – September 28, 2015) was an American stage and screen actress who worked behind the scenes on various studio features, magazine shows and independent films as well as acting in theater and film since the age of 15. She is best known for her role as Margaret Lanterman, the enigmatic Log Lady, in the David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Coulson was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, and grew up in Southern California, the daughter of Rodney Coulson, a radio and television producer and public relations executive, and ballet dancer Elizabeth (née Fellegi).[1][3] She earned a BA degree at Scripps College and a MFA at San Francisco State University.[3]


Coulson met Lynch in 1971[4] and performed various behind the scenes functions during the four-year filming of his low-budget classic Eraserhead (1977). Lynch reports that she began meditating at the same time as did he during this period.[5] She also appeared in Lynch's short film The Amputee (1974), in which she played a woman with no legs.

During the filming of Eraserhead, Lynch told Coulson that he had an image in his head of her holding a large log. Fifteen years later, he created such a role for her in Twin Peaks, on which she starred for 12 episodes through seasons 1 and 2.

Coulson went on to reprise her role in the film prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and in the 2017 revival.[6] In the new series, her character (the Log Lady) appears in the first, second, tenth, eleventh and fifteenth episodes, where she passes on a message from her log for Deputy Hawk to resume the search for Agent Cooper.[7]

Coulson appeared in "Dual Spires", a 2010 episode of Psych that spoofed Twin Peaks.[8] In 2012, she appeared in the second season of Portlandia.

Coulson was a theatre actor and worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon where she continued to be part of the acting company. She appeared in Calvin Marshall directed by Gary Lundgren. Coulson played the role of Susie in Lundgren's film Redwood Highway with Shirley Knight, Tom Skerritt, and James LeGros.

Personal life[edit]

Coulson was married to actor Jack Nance (who played Henry Spencer in Eraserhead, and Pete Martell in Twin Peaks) in 1968; they divorced in 1976. Her second husband, Marc Sirinsky, with whom she had a daughter, Zoey (born 1987), is a rabbi, at one point resident at Temple Emek-Shalom in Ashland, Oregon.[9]

Coulson converted to Judaism in the 1980s.[10]

On September 28, 2015, Coulson died of complications from cancer at her home in Ashland.[1][11] She posthumously appeared in five episodes of the revived Twin Peaks in 2017, reprising her role as the "Log Lady" Margaret Lanterman in scenes filmed before her death; the first episode is dedicated to Coulson, while the fifteenth episode, the final to feature her character (who announces her upcoming death before dying offscreen), is dedicated to Lanterman herself.[12][13]



  1. ^ a b c Rogers, Katie (September 29, 2015). "Catherine Coulson, Log Lady of 'Twin Peaks,' Dies at 71". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Twin Peaks' Log Lady Catherine Coulson dies at 71". BBC News. September 29, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "OSF Actor Catherine E. Coulson Dies". News Release. Oregon Shakespeare Festival. September 28, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Lynch, David. "Twin Peaks: David Lynch breaks down the first four episodes". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Schneier, Matthew. "The Transcendentalists". Retrieved July 21, 2014. The log lady from Twin Peaks, she and I started meditating together, and she was always worried about keeping me happy.
  6. ^ "David Lynch Rolls Log Lady Mystery in 'Twin Peaks' Reboot". The Wrap. April 26, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Twin Peaks return featured an emotional posthumous appearance of classic character". The Independent. May 22, 2017. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  8. ^ a b TV Guide, p. 64, November 22, 2010{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  9. ^ Strasser, Teresa (March 10, 1995). "Twin Peaks Log Lady takes root in San Jose Rep's Elephant Man". Northern California Jewish Bulletin.
  10. ^ "The City of Absurdity: Interviews and Articles related to the works of David Lynch".
  11. ^ Saperstein, Pat (September 28, 2015). "Catherine Coulson, Log Lady on 'Twin Peaks,' Dies at 71". Variety.
  12. ^ Saunders, Tristram Fane (May 29, 2017). "Twin Peaks, season 3, parts 1 & 2 big questions: has Cooper flown the coop?". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Stephens, Emily L. (May 22, 2017). "In its nightmarish two-part return, Twin Peaks is pure Lynchian horror". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 5, 2017.

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