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Julee Cruise, Vocalist of ‘Twin Peaks’ Fame, Dies at 65


Julee Cruise, a singer who brought a memorably ethereal voice to the projects of the director David Lynch — most famously “Falling,” whose instrumental version was the theme for Mr. Lynch’s cult-favorite television show, “Twin Peaks” — died on Thursday in Pittsfield, Mass. She was 65.

Her husband, Edward Grinnan, said the cause was suicide. He said she had struggled with depression in addition to lupus.

Ms. Cruise was constructing a profession off Broadway within the early Nineteen Eighties when serendipity struck: She met the composer Angelo Badalamenti after they worked on a show together.

“I used to be on this country-and-western musical within the East Village,” she told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1990. “I used to be a chorus girl with a giant skirt and a giant wig, singing way too loud. Angelo was doing the music for the show, and we became friends.”

Just a few years later, Mr. Badalamenti was engaged by Mr. Lynch, who was still early in his profession, as a vocal coach for Isabella Rossellini within the 1986 Lynch movie “Blue Velvet” and ended up writing the rating for that film as well. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti had written a song for the film that needed a vocalist.

“Angelo asked me to search out someone to sing a song for the soundtrack called ‘Mysteries of Love,’ but he didn’t like every of the singers I really helpful,” she told The Chronicle. “He wanted dreamy and romantic. I said, ‘Let me do it.’”

Ms. Cruise had all the time considered herself as “a belter,” as she often put it (she had once played Janis Joplin in a musical revue called “Beehive”), however the voice she got here up with for “Mysteries of Love” was something else entirely, enigmatic and wispy. It suited that and other Lynch-Badalamenti compositions perfectly. One author called her style “angel-on-Quaaludes vocals.”

The three were soon collaborating on Ms. Cruise’s first album, “Floating Into the Night,” which featured songs by the 2 men, including “Mysteries of Love” and “Falling.” In addition they collaborated on a stage production called “Industrial Symphony No. 1,” performed on the Latest Music America festival on the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 1989, with Ms. Cruise performing amid an elaborate set that included an old automobile.

“Often, Ms. Cruise floated far above the stage, like a prom-gowned, bleached-blond angel,” Jon Pareles wrote in his review in The Latest York Times. “At one point, her body plummeted to the ground and was packed into the automobile’s trunk by helmeted workmen; later, she re-emerged to face a video camera and sing ‘Tell your heart it’s me,’ as 10 chorus girls in gold lamé danced next to her image on television screens.”

National exposure got here the next April when “Twin Peaks” premiered on ABC, with an instrumental version of “Falling” serving as its theme. Ms. Cruise appeared within the pilot and subsequent episodes as a roadhouse singer.

The show quickly became the talk of television, and in May 1990 it led to an appearance by Ms. Cruise on “Saturday Night Live.” She wasn’t in the unique lineup, however the controversial comic Andrew Dice Clay (he called himself “probably the most vulgar, vicious comic ever to walk the face of the earth”) was the scheduled host, which led to protests from at the very least one solid member, Nora Dunn, who refused to seem in that episode, and caused the unique musical guest, Sinead O’Connor, to drop out on the last minute.

Ms. Cruise was considered one of two acts summoned to interchange her. Mr. Grinnan said in a telephone interview that Ms Cruise, who was still not well-known, was working as a waitress on the time and needed to skip out on her job. But, he noted, she didn’t call in sick.

“She said that she called in famous,” he said.

Though “Twin Peaks” brought Ms. Cruise wide exposure, Mr. Grinnan said she found a stint touring with the B-52’s within the Nineteen Nineties to be particularly enjoyable. She replaced Cindy Wilson, an original member, when Ms. Wilson took a break from the band.

“It was probably the happiest performing of her life,” Mr. Grinnan said.

Julee Ann Cruise was born on Dec. 1, 1956, in Creston, Iowa, to Wilma and Dr. John Cruise. Her father was a dentist, and her mother was his office manager.

Ms. Cruise was something of a musical prodigy on the French horn, her husband said, and received a music degree within the instrument from Drake University in Iowa. He said she had applied the delicacy and phrasing of classical French horn to the voice she got here up with for the Lynch projects.

But once she graduated, she thought that acting and singing can be more appealing than playing in an orchestra. She went to Minneapolis, a very good city for theater, and spent several years performing with the Children’s Theater Company there before moving to Latest York in about 1983.

After “Twin Peaks,” Ms. Cruise made one other album with Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti, “The Voice of Love” (1993). She also continued acting. Mr. Grinnan said it was her performance in an Off Broadway musical, “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” in 1991 that caught the eye of the B-52’s. Mel Gussow, reviewing that show for The Times, said she stood out.

“Only Julee Cruise invigorates the show with musical personality,” he wrote. “Well remembered for her singing on ‘Twin Peaks,’ she is spunky in addition to amusing, although the script unwisely keeps her offstage for a lot of the first act.”

Ms. Cruise later toured with Bobby McFerrin and worked with electronic musicians like Marcus Schmickler. In 2003 she fulfilled a longtime goal of acting at the Public Theater in Latest York when she was solid within the musical “Radiant Baby,” in regards to the graffiti artist Keith Haring.

It was a demanding project. As The Times wrote, she played “Andy Warhol, Haring’s mother, a demonic nurse and a critic who resembles Susan Sontag.”

Which of the roles was most difficult, a reporter asked?

“The costume changes,” she said. “I’m the oldest person on this solid.”

Ms. Cruise alternated between homes in Manhattan and the Berkshires. Along with her husband, whom she married in 1988, she is survived by a sister, Kate Coen.

Ms. Cruise reprised her “Twin Peaks” role in “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” Mr. Lynch’s 1992 film, and, a quarter-century later, in an episode of Showtime’s reboot of the TV series. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2017, she reflected on her long “Twin Peaks” ride.

“It was a lot fun to be a part of something that just went ba-boom!” she said. “You didn’t comprehend it was going to try this. What a pleasant surprise life takes you on.”

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