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David Duchovny Biography:

The dark and handsome David Duchovny was well on his way to a Ph.D. at Yale when he caught the acting bug, leaving the ivied halls of academia forever. What was at first a lark (he was just raising money for school when he landed his first commercial for Lowenbrau beer) soon seemed far more appealing than the cloistered life of a college professor. He scored a one-line bit as a partygoer in "Working Girl" (1988), and then Henry Jaglom cast him as a womanizer in "New Year's Day" (1989), setting the precedent for a sexy screen persona in much of his early work, notably opposite Mimi Rogers in Michael Tolkin's brilliant, flawed apocalyptic tale "The Rapture" and in "Julia Has Two Lovers" (both 1991). A small role as a greedy yuppie in "Beethoven" showed a facility for comedy, and he also made an impression as a cameraman in "Chaplin" (both 1992) before giving a serial killer a lift in Dominique Sena's "Kalifornia" (1993), his largest big screen exposure to that time, thanks to the rising stars of fellow players Brad Pitt (as the murderer) and Juliette Lewis (his dizzy moll).

Duchovny's modest success in features pales compared to the impact TV has had on his career. He delivered a showy turn as cross-dressing FBI agent Dennis/Denise Bryson during his brief 1990 stint on ABC's "Twin Peaks". He also starred in Zalman King's Showtime movie "The Red Shoe Diaries" (1992) and served as narrator for the series to follow. (He also directed the occasional episode). But it was the surprise hit "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993- ) that made Duchovny a millionaire and international celebrity. Having recently filmed three parts that had to do with some odd sexuality, the actor liked the fact that FBI agent Fox Mulder, driven to his pursuit of the paranormal by the sight of his sister being abducted by aliens as a child, had no sexuality and signed on, never thinking the show would achieve cult status. The character suited his wry, self-deprecating, understated style, and his intelligence burned bright behind the eyes while an undercurrent of sensuality smoldered through, prompting co-star Gillian Anderson to call him "catnip to women." Countless Internet sites sprang up devoted to the series, and Duchovny continued to ride its phenomenal wave, agreeing to stay with the show for a total of seven seasons (through the spring of 2000).

Still, he was an actor, and comfortable as he was in Mulder's skin, he longed to do other roles. That desire coupled with his short hiatus caused Duchovny to throw caution to the wind and play a disgraced doctor whose life becomes intertwined with a criminal's in the disappointing "Playing God" (1997). When the next hiatus rolled around, there was no break from "The X-Files" as he and Anderson paired up for the 1998 feature film which was hoped would spawn a movie franchise and ultimately release them from the golden ties of their series prison. There is of course the fear that audiences will never disassociate him from the Mulder character, but Duchovny remained hopeful, telling Lawrence Grobel of Movieline (July 1998): "I just have an abiding belief that talent will out. If I make it, then I have it; if I don't, then I didn't." His three guest appearances on HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" touted his comic potential, and he was also able to step out of Mulder's shoes for Bonnie Hunt's romantic comedy "Return to Me" (2000), playing a man who falls in love with the woman who received his late wife's heart.

Duchovny found his starring comic vehicle in 2001's "Evolution" also starring Julianne Moore and Orlando Jones. Although the wacky sci-fi flick about a rapidly evolving alien lifeform had potential, it fell short of expectations. Duchovny next appeared in 2002's "Full Frontal" with Julia Roberts and Catherine Keener. The Steven Soderbergh directed feature showcased its stars answering random questions in a semi-improvisational environment.

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