The "boy next door, if that boy spent lots of time alone in the basement", is how Rich Cohen described Kyle MacLachlan in a 1994 article for "Rolling Stone" magazine. That distinctly askew wholesomeness made MacLachlan a natural to become famous as the alter ego of twisted director David Lynch.
MacLachlan was born and raised in Yakima, Washington, to Catherine Louise (Stone), a public relations director, and Kent Alan McLachlan, a lawyer and stockbroker. He has Scottish, English, Cornish, and German ancestry. MacLachlan graduated from the University of Washington in 1982. The darkly handsome actor made his feature film debut when he starred in the big-budget David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune (1984), but only enjoyed real success after appearing in a second Lynch project, the moody and perverse classic, Blue Velvet (1986).
The following year saw MacLachlan appearing as an otherworldly FBI agent in the cult classic sci-fi film, The Hidden (1987). This turned out to be a sign of things to come, as MacLachlan soon took on another oddball G-man, "Special Agent Dale Cooper", on Lynch's cryptic ABC-TV series, Twin Peaks (1990), perhaps, along with Blue Velvet (1986), his most famous role. MacLachlan's remarkable work as Agent Cooper earned him a Golden Globe award and a pair of Emmy nominations, as well as steady work in television and films, including a part as Ray Manzarek in the Oliver Stone film, The Doors (1991), and villain "Cliff Vandercave" in the live action version of The Flintstones (1994).
His career took a hit after he appeared in the infamous flop, Showgirls (1995). However, MacLachlan returned to prominence in the early 2000s with a re-occurring role on HBO's Sex and the City (1998), as well as a starring role in the TV movie, The Spring (2000), and a turn as "Claudius" in director Michael Almereyda's version of Hamlet (2000). MacLachlan later took advantage of his resemblance to Cary Grant, when he played the classic actor's spirit in Touch of Pink (2004).
MacLachlan has remained a popular actor with independent filmmakers, and he has also been a familiar face on television, appearing on the ABC-TV shows, In Justice (2006) and Desperate Housewives (2004).