David Lynch was born January 20, 1946 in Missoula, Montana. His father worked for the USDA as a researcher, causing the family to move frequently during David's childhood. He had two younger siblings, John and Martha. David describes his childhood as happy and looks back with fondness at the memories.
David's early school years showed that he didn't enjoy academics very much, although he had an obvious fondness for art. He studied briefly at the Corcoran School of Art before moving to Boston, where he studied at Boston Museum School. He studied for a year and abruptly quit to move to Europe. In Europe, he traveled with his friend and fellow artist, Jack Fisk, for only fifteen days before stopping at Salzbarg. They had intended to meet a famous painter, Kokoschka, but he was not there to meet them so the pair returned to the United States.
In 1965, David moved in with Toby Keeler and started working for Keeler's uncle for a short time, then moved to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He began experimentation with film and motion pictures, which would later make him famous. He also met a woman named Peggy Reavey, whom he married in 1967 and had a child with in 1968.
Soon after, David created his first short film, entitled "The Alphabet". The short focused on the problems a person has when they have difficulty with verbal communication. He also made several other shorts while at the academy, including "The Grandmother" and "The Amputee".
David had also been working on a disturbing and dark full length feature film called "Eraserhead", starring Jack Nance in the title role. It was first shown at the Filmex Film Festival in March of 1977. Jack Nance said that after the film was finished, there was a period of stunned silence and then a standing ovation. Critics loved the film, as did the public, praising David as the re-inventor of experimental film.
Eraserhead made David Lynch famous and brought him to the attention of Mel Brooks, who was looking for a director for his production of "The Elephant Man". David directed the film extremely well, making it a huge success and one of the greatest films of all time. He was then tapped to direct "Dune", which was based on a popular science fiction novel. Unfortunately, the film was a horrible failure, causing the studio immense losses. The film put a sizable dent in David's career, but he did not give up.
David approached the studio in 1985 with a draft of a screenplay that would later become "Blue Velvet". The studio agreed to finance the film up to $5 million and David began its filming. The film was a phenomenon, getting rave reviews and plenty of viewers, and is now considered one of the greatest films of all time.
David next worked on a television series called "Twin Peaks", which David used to extend his ideas that remained from "Blue Velvet". The series was immensely popular, getting millions of viewers, and became the topic of discussion among people everywhere. The intense interest in the series and other works by David caused studios to re-release "Eraserhead" in theaters in 1991.
During the second season, the popularity began to fade and David was absent as director except for the final episode. In the meantime, he was working on a film called "Wild at Heart", which was released in 1990. The film won a Palme D'Or award at Cannes, but many critics disliked it. Attempting to revive the popularity of "Twin Peaks", David made a prequel called "Fire Walk With Me", which was also panned by critics.
David attempted to make an entirely new television series called "On The Air", but the show was canceled after only three episodes due to its unpopularity. He managed to regain some dignity with a series called "Hotel Room" for HBO in 1993. The show received good ratings and reviews, but HBO decided not to air any more episodes.
In 1997, David released "Lost Highway", which was very visually appealing, but greatly confusing. In 1999, he released "The Straight Story", which was a true story about a 73 year old man that traveled across America on a lawnmower to visit his brother. The film was praised by most critics and considered a success.
David returned to ABC to work on a new television series, entitled "Mulholland Drive". He presented the pilot to them with a closed ending, but they were not pleased with it and shelved it. The French entertainment company Canal Plus offered ABC seven million dollars for the rights to the pilot allowing David to resume work on it. It was released as a movie in 2001, giving him huge critical acclaim and massive theater revenue.