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Catherine Coulson, Log Lady on ‘Twin Peaks,’ Dies at 71

Catherine E. Coulson, who played the Log Lady on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” TV series and was set to return to the new Showtime version, died Monday morning of cancer. She was 71.

“We are all deeply sad, she meant so much to so many,” said her agent, Mary Dangerfield, who confirmed her death.

Coulson, who also worked as a camera assistant, reprised the Log Lady role in the feature “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and more recently, she appeared on an episode of “Portlandia” and in the film “Redwood Highway.”

Lynch said in a statement, “Today I lost one of my dearest friends, Catherine Coulson. Catherine was solid gold. She was always there for her friends — she was filled with love for all people — for her family — for her work.  She was a tireless worker. She had a great sense of humor — she loved to laugh and make people laugh. She was a spiritual person — a longtime TM meditator. She was the Log Lady.”

Coulson worked with Lynch as assistant director on his 1977 debut feature “Eraserhead,” where they began discussing the idea of a woman who carried around a log. She described her Margaret Lanterman character as the “only normal person on the show,” but qualified that she’s “had some trauma and bonded with this Ponderosa pine.” The ABC show ran for two seasons in 1990 and 1991.

She also appeared in Lynch’s 1974 short film “The Amputee” as a woman with both legs amputated.

When she appeared at a Philadelphia event last December, she was asked if Lynch had any suggestions for her character in the new “Twin Peaks. “He suggested I talk about sustainable forestry,” she told the Wall St. Journal at the time.

Coulson worked as first or second assistant camera on “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Modern Romance,” “Youngblood” and “Night on Earth.”

After moving back to her birthplace of Ashland, Ore., she appeared in numerous plays for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, including “August, Osage County,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Hamlet” and “Chicago.” Elsewhere she appeared in “Major Barbara,” “The Elephant Man” and “The Threepenny Opera.”

Coulson was married to “Eraserhead” and “Twin Peaks” star Jack Nance before marrying Marc Sirinsky, with whom she had a daughter.

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