Walter Olkewicz, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Seinfeld’ actor, dead at 72

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Walter Olkewicz, the gentle giant who stole scenes in “Twin Peaks,” “Seinfeld” and “Grace Under Fire,” has died at 72.

The veteran character actor passed away Tuesday morning at his home in Los Angeles, his son, Zak Olkewicz, confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter.

The co-star of Steven Spielberg’s cult film “1941” and Joel Schumacher’s hit John Grisham adaptation “The Client” died after a 20-year health battle that included a series of knee surgeries that caused infections, resulting in disabilities that forced him out of show business.

“He was a good man who pushed his love for creativity and the arts into everything he did,” Zak told Deadline in a statement on behalf of his family. “He handed that passion down to me, and I look forward to passing it on to the grandchildren he loved so much.”

Walter Olkewicz with his "Twin Peaks" director, David Lynch, in an undated photo.
Walter Olkewicz (right) with his “Twin Peaks” director, David Lynch, in an undated photo.Facebook

Born on May 14, 1948, in Bayonne, NJ, Olkewicz attended Bayonne High School, St. Mary of the Plains College in Kansas and Colorado State University before making his film debut in in 1976’s “Futureworld” opposite Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner.

“Seinfeld” fans know him as Nick the cable guy from a classic 1996 episode — but Olkewicz is perhaps best-known as shady Jacques Renault on David Lynch’s ABC series “Twin Peaks” in 1990, as well as in the 1992 feature film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.”

Olkewicz reprised his role for Lynch’s 2017 Showtime reboot, which would be his last on-screen role. “It was his first role in almost 15 years, and he did it all from behind a bar to cover the fact that he couldn’t stand,” his son told the Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to his recurring roles on “Grace Under Fire” and “Who’s the Boss,” the actor’s myriad TV credits include guest appearances on classic series such as “E.R.,” The Rockford Files,” “Taxi,” “Barney Miller,” “Cheers,” “Newhart,” “Falcon Crest,” “Family Ties,” “Married … With Children,” “Moonlighting,” “L.A. Law” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

He is survived by his son Zak, daughter-in-law Katrina Rennells, and grandchildren Sadie and Declan Robert.

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