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David Duchovny
David Duchovny by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Duchovny at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
David William Duchovny

(1960-08-07) August 7, 1960 (age 63)
Education Princeton University (BA)
Yale University (MA)
Occupation Actor, writer, producer, singer-songwriter
Years active 1987–present
Known for Fox Mulder in The X-Files
Hank Moody in Californication
(m. 1997; div. 2014)
Children 2, including West Duchovny

David William Duchovny ( duu-KOV-nee; born (1960-08-07)August 7, 1960) is an American actor, writer, producer and musician. He portrayed FBI agent Fox Mulder on the television series The X-Files (1993–2002, 2016–2018) and played the writer Hank Moody on the television series Californication (2007–2014), both of which have earned him Golden Globe awards. Duchovny appeared in both X-Files films, the 1998 science fiction-thriller of the same name and the supernatural-thriller The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008). He executive-produced and starred in the historically based cop drama Aquarius (2015–2016).

His film work includes minor roles in the coming-of-age black comedy Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991), and the family comedy Beethoven (1992). Also in 1992, he played Roland Totheroh in the biographical comedy-drama Chaplin with Robert Downey Jr. In the 2000's, he starred in Return to Me with Minnie Driver (2000), Evolution with Orlando Jones (2001), Connie and Carla with Nia Vardalos (2004), House of D with Robin Williams (2004), and The Joneses with Demi Moore (2009).

Duchovny holds a B.A. in English literature from Princeton University, and a M.A. in English literature from Yale University, and has since published five books: Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale (2015), Bucky F*cking Dent (2016), Miss Subways (2018), Truly Like Lightning (2021), and The Reservoir (2022).

Early life

JFK Jr & David Duchovny in the 1975 Collegiate school yearbook
Duchovny & John Kennedy Jr in 9th grade in the 1975 Collegiate yearbook

Duchovny was born in New York City in 1960. He is the son of Amram "Ami" Ducovny (1927–2003), a writer and publicist who worked for the American Jewish Committee, and Margaret "Meg" (née Miller), a school administrator and teacher. He is the second son and the middle child of three children. He has an elder brother, Daniel (b. 1956) and a younger sister, Laurie (b. 1966). Duchovny's mother is a Scottish immigrant from Aberdeen, Scotland. His father was Jewish, and his mother was Lutheran. His father dropped the h in his last name to avoid the sort of mispronunciations he encountered while serving in the Army. In the Polish language, duchowny means 'clergyman', and in the Ukrainian language it means 'spiritual'. Duchovny's paternal grandfather was a Jewish emigrant from Berdychiv, Ukraine, and Duchovny's paternal grandmother was a Jewish emigrant from Congress Poland (now in Poland).

Duchovny attended The Collegiate School For Boys in Manhattan (where he was a classmate of John F. Kennedy Jr.) from which he graduated as head boy in 1978. He then attended Princeton University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 1982 with an A.B. in English literature. He was a member of Charter Club, one of the university's eating clubs. In 1982, his poetry received an honorable mention for a college prize from the Academy of American Poets. The title of his senior thesis was The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett's Early Novels. He played junior varsity basketball at Princeton. He earned a Master of Arts in English Literature from Yale University and subsequently began work on a Ph.D. that remains unfinished. The title of his uncompleted doctoral thesis is Magic and Technology in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry.


Duchovny's great-great-grandfather and his family moved from Berdychiv, Ukraine to Jaffa (then in the Ottoman Empire, now in Israel). In December 1914 his ancestors were among 6,000 Jews who were forcibly removed from their homes by Ottoman police, violently expelled from Jaffa, and deported by ship to Egypt.


Duchovny had a small recurring role as Denise Bryson, a DEA agent on the series Twin Peaks. In 1992, he played the role of Rollie Totheroh in the biographic film Chaplin, directed by Richard Attenborough and based on the life of Charlie Chaplin. In 1992 he had a small role in the family film Beethoven.

David Duchovny 2011 Shankbone
Duchovny at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2011

In 1993, Duchovny began starring in the science fiction series The X-Files, as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, a conspiracy theorist who believed his sister had been abducted by aliens. The show evolved into a cult hit and became one of The Fox Network's first major television hits. According to The X-Files creator Chris Carter, Duchovny turned out to be one of the best-read people he knew. After getting the role, Duchovny thought the show would not last for long or make as much impact as it did. Executive producer Frank Spotnitz called Duchovny "amazingly smart". Spotnitz further stated that Duchovny was behind some of the main characteristic ideas behind Mulder. Also in 1993, Duchovny was cast alongside Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis, in the Dominic Sena-directed thriller Kalifornia.

During The X-Files run, in between the fifth and sixth seasons, Duchovny co-starred alongside Gillian Anderson in a 1998 film also titled The X-Files that continued the storyline. He remained with the series until leaving the show in 2001, partly because of a contract dispute that occurred after season seven finished filming. Duchovny appeared in half of the season eight episodes, but did not appear in season nine until the series finale in 2002. He also provided the voice for a parody of his Mulder character in the episode "The Springfield Files" of the animated comedy series The Simpsons. Duchovny has been nominated for four Emmy Awards.

Gillian Anderson & David Duchovny (cropped)
Duchovny with Gillian Anderson at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con for The X-Files 20th Anniversary panel

Duchovny has guest-hosted Saturday Night Live twice (May 13, 1995, and May 9, 1998). Both shows were season finales. In 1997 he played lead role in the film Playing God. In 2000 he starred in the feature film Return to Me, a romantic comedy/drama directed by Bonnie Hunt and co-starring Minnie Driver and Carroll O'Connor. In 2001, Duchovny starred as Ira Kane in the sci-fi comedy film Evolution, alongside Seann William Scott, and had a cameo as hand model J.P. Prewitt in the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander. He appeared in a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in May 2000. He got to the $250,000 question but answered his $500,000 question incorrectly and lost $218,000, leaving him with $32,000. He appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy! in 1995 and 2010.

Duchovny provided the voice of Ethan Cole in the 2005 video game Area 51, as well as that of the title character in the 2003 video game XIII. In 2003 Duchovny starred in the 84th episode of the HBO show Sex and the City. He played the role of Jeremy, Carrie Bradshaw's high-school ex-boyfriend, who has committed himself to a Connecticut mental health facility. In 2005, Duchovny provided the voice-over for a PSA radio campaign for Act Against Violence. In 2005, Duchovny, who had already made his directorial debut with an episode of The X-Files, wrote, directed, and appeared in the feature film House of D. The film starred Anton Yelchin, Robin Williams, and Duchovny's then-wife Téa Leoni in a coming-of-age tale. It received mostly poor reviews and little box office success. Duchovny also directed "Judas on a Pole," an episode of Bones, during the show's second season.

From 2007 to 2014, Duchovny played novelist Hank Moody in the Showtime series, Californication. The portrayal landed him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical in 2007. In March 2014, NBC announced that a new TV series, entitled Aquarius, would be produced starring Duchovny. In March 2015, Duchovny was announced as returning in a six-episode continuation of The X-Files. It premiered on January 24, 2016, on Fox.

In 2017, he decided to put his acting career on hold so he could focus on his career as a novelist and singer/songwriter. Duchovny's then last acting job was in the 11th season of The X-Files in 2018. He made his return to acting in The Craft: Legacy, the 2020 film sequel to The Craft.

Personal life

Duchovny and actress Téa Leoni married on May 13, 1997. They have two children, daughter West Duchovny, born in April 1999 and a son born in June 2002.

In 2008, the couple separated. In 2009, Duchovny and Leoni reunited but separated again on June 29, 2011. Duchovny filed for divorce in June 2014, and the couple had agreed to settlement terms by that August.

Duchovny is a vegetarian or pescetarian and is supportive of environmentalism, and an enthusiast of electric vehicle technology. He made an appearance at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival in support of the film Revenge of the Electric Car.

Acting credits


Film work
Year Title Role Notes
1988 Working Girl Tess's Friend Non-speaking
1989 New Year's Day Billy
1990 Denial John
Bad Influence Club Goer
Julia Has Two Lovers Daniel
1991 Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Bruce
The Rapture Randy
1992 Ruby Officer Tippit
Beethoven Brad Wilson
Red Shoe Diaries Jake Winters
Venice/Venice Dylan
Chaplin Roland "Rollie" Totheroh
1993 Kalifornia Brian Kessler
1997 Playing God Dr. Eugene Sands
1998 The X-Files: Fight the Future FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder
2000 Return to Me Bob Rueland
2001 Evolution Dr. Ira Kane
Zoolander JP Prewitt
2002 Full Frontal Bill / Gus
2004 Connie and Carla Jeff
House of D Tom Warshaw Also writer and director
2005 Trust the Man Tom
2006 Queer Duck: the Movie Tiny Jesus (voice)
The TV Set Mike Klein
2007 Things We Lost in the Fire Brian Burke
The Secret Dr. Benjamin Marris
Quantum Hoops Narrator
2008 The X-Files: I Want to Believe Fox Mulder
2009 The Joneses Steve Jones
2012 Goats Goat Man
2013 Phantom Bruni
Louder Than Words John Fareri
2020 The Craft: Legacy Adam Harrison
2022 The Bubble Sean Knox
The Estate Richard
2023 You People Arnold
Pet Sematary: Bloodlines Bill Baterman
What Happens Later Bill


Television work
Year Title Role Notes
1990–1991 Twin Peaks DEA Agent Denise Bryson 3 episodes
1992 Baby Snatcher David Anderson Television film
1992–1997 Red Shoe Diaries Jake Winters 10 episodes
The X-Files FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder 191 episodes
1995–1998 The Larry Sanders Show Himself 3 episodes
1995–1998 Saturday Night Live Host / himself 2 episodes
1995 Eek! The Cat Fox Mulder (voice) Episode: "Eek Space 9"
1996 Frasier Tom (voice) Episode: "Frasier Loves Roz"
Space: Above and Beyond Handsome Alvin Episode: "R&R"
1997 The Simpsons FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder (voice) Episode: "The Springfield Files"
Duckman Richard (voice) Episode: "The Girls of Route Canal"
1998 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Himself Episode: "Metaphors"
2001 The Lone Gunmen Fox Mulder Episode: #12 All About Yves
2002 Primetime Glick Himself 2 episodes
Life with Bonnie Johnny Volcano 2 episodes
2003 Sex and the City Jeremy Episode: "Boy, Interrupted"
2007–2014 Californication Hank Moody 84 episodes
2015–2016 Aquarius Sam Hodiak 26 episodes
2016 Better Things Himself Episode: "Brown"
2017 Twin Peaks Denise Bryson Episode: "Part 4"
2021 The Chair Himself Episode: "The Last Bus in Town"
Ten Year Old Tom Ice Cream Man (voice) 2 episodes
2023 History of the World, Part II Howard Cosell impersonator Episode: "VIII"

Video games

Video game work
Year Title Voice role
1998 The X-Files Game Fox Mulder
2003 XIII Jason Fly
2004 The X-Files: Resist or Serve Fox Mulder
2005 Area 51 Ethan Cole


  • 2015: Audiobook To Legend He Goes: A Tale from The Legend of Drizzt
  • 2017: Audiobook X-Files - cold cases - an Audible original
  • 2017: Audiobook X files - stolen lives - an Audible original

Discography and tours

Studio albums

Studio albums
Year Title Refs.
2015 Hell or Highwater
2018 Every Third Thought
2021 Gestureland


  • 2011: Introduction to: Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference ISBN: 978-1-4384-3734-7.
  • 2015: Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN: 978-0-374-17207-7.
  • 2016: Bucky F*cking Dent, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN: 978-0-374-11042-0.
  • 2018: Miss Subways: A Novel, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN: 978-0-374-21040-3.
  • 2021: Truly Like Lightning: A Novel, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN: 978-0-374-27774-1.
  • 2022: The Reservoir: A Novella, Akashic Books ISBN: 978-1-636-14044-5.

See also

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