Catherine E. Coulson, "Log Lady" on TV's "Twin Peaks" and Oregon Shakespeare Regular, Dies

Obituaries   Catherine E. Coulson, "Log Lady" on TV's "Twin Peaks" and Oregon Shakespeare Regular, Dies
 
Catherine E. Coulson, who was a stalwart at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but was best known for her portrayal of the enigmatic Log Lady on the cult television series "Twin Peaks," died Sept. 28 in Ashland, OR, where she lived. She was 71.

The Log Lady was an odd duck even by the standards of the denizens of filmmaker David Lynch’s fictional Twin Peaks, a hamlet in the Pacific Northwest where agent Dale Cooper tried to untangle the mysterious murder of local golden girl Laura Palmer.

During the series’ two seasons, which ran 1990-91, Ms. Coulson’s character would occasionally appear, sometimes offering Agent Cooper advice, but always cradling a medium-sized log, which she treated as a treasured and somewhat mystical possession. It was a minor character, but, in Ms. Coulson’s hands, a memorable one.

Ms. Coulson had previously worked with Lynch on his early short film "The Amputee" (1974) and the feature "Eraserhead," on which she was assistant director. (She married and divorced Jack Nance, the star of that film.) She reprised her performance as the Log Lady in the 1994 film "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me." She was expected to recreate the part again in the new episodes of "Twin Peaks" due to air next year.

To audiences of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, however, Ms. Coulson was something more. She acted in dozens of productions over 22 seasons at the company, beginning in 1994. Her many credits there included Magic Fire, By the Waters of Babylon, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, August: Osage County, Into the Woods and Guys and Dolls, as well as several Shakespeare plays. Her role in Babylon was written for her by playwright Robert Schenkkan.

She was born on Oct. 22, 1943, in Ashland. After divorcing Nance, she married Marc Sirinsky and had a daughter.

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