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Angelo Badalamenti Dies: David Lynch’s Longtime Composer Was 85

Badalamenti famously composed the theme song and score for the hit series after collaborating with David Lynch on "Blue Velvet."

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 01:  Composer/musician Angelo Badalamenti performs onstage during the David Lynch Foundation's DLF Live presents "The Music Of David Lynch" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on April 1, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Angelo Badalamenti

Getty Images

Composer and longtime David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti has died at age 85.

Badalamenti composed the iconic score for “Twin Peaks” and other Lynch projects including “Blue Velvet,” “Wild at Heart,” “Lost Highway,” “The Straight Story,” and “Mulholland Drive.” He also wrote new music for the 1992 “Twin Peaks” prequel film “Fire Walk with Me” and for the 2017 third season on Showtime, “Twin Peaks: The Return.” Throughout his career, Badalamenti worked with artists like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Nina Simone, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson, and LL Cool J. In addition to his film work, he composed the opening theme to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Badalamenti’s nephew posted on social media to confirm his passing. “My great uncle Angelo Badalamenti has crossed the barrier onto another plane of existence,” he wrote. “Between his work on ‘Blue Velvet,’ ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Cabin Fever,’ ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 3,’ and a plethora of others, plus his relationships & collaborations with David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Nina Simone, Julee Cruise, Isabella Rossellini, Dolores O’Riordan, Anthrax, Dokken, Eli Roth, and especially David Lynch, he has been the most interesting man in the world to me. A true musical and artistic inspiration for me and countless others.”

The family statement continued, “Stayed true to his roots and family, never leaving North Jersey for L.A. Not to mention the casual but mind blowing stories he never ran out of. He will be truly missed by many. ‘Who has lived a good life has a good death.'”

The Brooklyn-born musician formerly worked as a music teacher in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, before auteur Lynch hired him in 1986 to be Isabella Rossellini’s vocal coach for “Blue Velvet.” Badalamenti scored “Blue Velvet” and wrote featured song “Mysteries of Love” with Lynch. Badalamenti also appeared in the film in a piano bar scene. He’d later appear in “Mulholland Drive” in a memorable scene as a gangster who’s particularly fussy about the quality of his espresso.

Badalamenti won a Grammy for the “Twin Peaks” theme song, plus an Independent Spirit Award and a Saturn Award for “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.” The artist additionally won BAFTA’s Anthony Asquith Award for his score for “The Comfort of Strangers,” and landed Golden Globe nominations for “The Straight Story” and “Mulholland Drive,” three Emmy Award nominations for “Twin Peaks,” and two César Award nominations for “A Very Long Engagement” and “The City of Lost Children.”

Badalamenti is among the many “Twin Peaks” alums who died in 2022. Actor Al Strobel, who famously played the “one-armed man” in the series, passed away at age 83 in December 2022. Fellow stars Lenny Von Dohlen, Kenneth Welsh, and “Twin Peaks” singer Julee Cruise also died this year.

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