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David Duchovny - Biography

The X-Files star was born in 1960

David Duchovny sat smiling while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel live in 2022© Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: August 17, 2023
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Early life

David William Duchovny was born in New York City on August 7, 1960, to his Jewish-American father Amram and Scottish mother Margaret. David proved himself academically talented from an early age, and went on to study English Literature at Princeton University, before getting an MA in the same topic at Yale. He began a PhD on the topic of 'Magic and Technology in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry', but never finished it.

Likely responsible for the end of his academic career was the beginning of his passion for acting. David started his film career with a one-liner as a partygoer in 1988 Melanie Griffith vehicle Working Girl, and from there on he scored a steady flow of roles, mostly in the womanizer mold that characterized his early work. 

TV success

After starring as transgender FBI Agent Denise Bryson in David Lynch's Twin Peaks in 1990, he went on to star in the cable movie The Red Shoe Diaries. Despite winning a supporting role in Kalifornia in 1993 alongside rising stars Brad Pitt and Juliet Lewis, David was still to make his biggest impact on the small screen. 

It was 1993's surprise hit The X-Files that put the actor on the map and made him a millionaire. David's role as Fox Mulder, an FBI agent driven to the pursuit of the paranormal by the sight of his sister being abducted by aliens as a child, suited David's wry, understated but emotional style. 

The result was an intelligent performance underpinned by a smoldering sensuality which won him legions of fans around the world. The TV show would go on to run for nine seasons, make two movies, and launch a revival which aired from 2016 to 2018.

Post The X-Files

After the original run of The X-Files came to an end in 2002, David's next big TV role was in the comedy-drama series Californication, which aired from 2007 to 2014. He has also had roles in several films including 2009's The Joneses, 2013's Louder Than Words, and 2023's You People. David is also a keen musician, and has released three studio albums: Hell or Highwater, Every Third Thought and Gestureland.

Personal life

At the apex of his X-File fame, David met and fell in love with the actress Tea Leoni. The couple married on May 6, 1997 in the courtyard of New York's Grace Church where David's mother worked, They have two children: a daughter Madelaine West who was born in 1999, and a son, Kyd Miller, who was born three years later. 

The couple separated in 2008, and David sought treatment for sex addiction from August to October that year. He and Tea reunited in 2009, but split once more in 2011 and then filed for divorce in 2014. He is now believed to be dating florist Monique Pendleberry.

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