Biography of David Duchovny

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American actor, writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter

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 60)
New York, U.S.
EducationPrinceton University (AB)
Yale University (MA)
OccupationActor, director, producer, writer, singer-songwriter
Years active1987–present (actor)
2015–present (singer and writer)
Known forFox Mulder in The X-Files
Téa Leoni

(m. 1997; div. 2014)​

David William Duchovny /dʊˈkʌvni/ (born August 7, 1960) is an American actor, writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter. He is known for playing FBI agent Fox Mulder on the television series The X-Files and writer Hank Moody on the television series Californication, 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 (2015–16). Duchovny earned an A.B. in English literature from Princeton University, and an M.A. in English literature from Yale University, and has since published three books, Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale (2015), Bucky F*cking Dent (2016) and Miss Subways (2018).

Early life

Duchovny was born in New York, in 1960. He is the son of Margaret "Meg" (née Miller), a school administrator and teacher, and Amram "Ami" Ducovny (1927–2003), a writer and publicist who worked for the American Jewish Committee. Duchovny's mother is a Scottish Presbyterian emigrant from Aberdeen, Scotland. His father was Jewish; Duchovny's paternal grandfather was a Jewish emigrant from Berdychiv, Russian Empire (now in Ukraine), and Duchovny's paternal grandmother was a Jewish emigrant from Russian Poland (now in Poland). 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'.

Duchovny attended Grace Church School and The Collegiate School For Boys (from which he graduated as head boy in 1978); both are in Manhattan. 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 appeared in an advertisement for Löwenbräu beer in 1987. The next year he appeared in Working Girl (1988). He had a small recurring role as a transgender DEA agent on the series Twin Peaks and played the narrator and host in the long-running Showtime erotica/soft-core TV series Red Shoe Diaries. The Rapture is a 1991 drama film written and directed by Michael Tolkin. It stars Mimi Rogers as a woman who converts from a swinger to a born-again Christian after learning that a true Rapture is upon the world. 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. 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 quickly became one of The Fox Network's first major television hits. According to 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 that it would not 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.

Duchovny and Gillian Anderson at The X-Files: I Want to Believe premiere in July 2008
Duchovny at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2011

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 X-Files storyline. He remained with the series until quitting 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.

Duchovny caused controversy when it became public that he was the primary reason for which filming of The X-Files series was moved from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Los Angeles in 1998. Many residents of Vancouver were upset with Duchovny over scripted jokes on Late Night with Conan O'Brien about the city's heavy rainfall; he joked, "Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day." (Duchovny's character Mulder would later reference this joke in the Season 5 episode "Schizogeny".) He also stated, "Of course, I'm tired of the rain. But if I wasn't married to a woman that lives in L.A. I'd stay in Vancouver. It's a lovely city." During the run of The X-Files, he also made several guest appearances in the cult TV satire The Larry Sanders Show, playing himself, but adding a strong attraction to Sanders. In the final episode of the series, he performed a parody of Sharon Stone's 'flashing' scene from Basic Instinct and a parody of Dr. Hannibal Lecter being introduced to Agent Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.

Duchovny has guest hosted Saturday Night Live twice (May 13, 1995 and May 9, 1998). Both shows were season finales. 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 "XIII" 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, which was written, directed and produced by advertising agency, chemistri. 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 ex-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.

Duchovny has played Hank Moody, a troubled, womanizing novelist in Showtime's 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. Duchovny portrayed a 1960s police sergeant investigating small-time criminal and budding cult leader Charles Manson. 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 made the decision to put his acting career on hold, so he could focus more on his career as a writer and a singer/songwriter. Duchovny’s last acting job was in the 11th season of The X-Files.

He made his return to acting in the 2020 film sequel of The Craft, titled, The Craft: Legacy.

Personal life

Duchovny married actress Téa Leoni on May 13, 1997. Their daughter Madelaine West Duchovny was born on April 24, 1999. Their son Kyd Miller was born on June 15, 2002. Duchovny is a former vegetarian and a pescetarian.

On August 28, 2008, Duchovny announced that he had checked himself in to a rehabilitation facility for treating sex addiction. On October 15, Duchovny's and Leoni's representatives issued a statement revealing that they had separated several months earlier. A week later, Duchovny's lawyer said that he planned to sue the Daily Mail over an article that it ran which claimed that he had an affair with Hungarian tennis instructor Edit Pakay while married to Leoni, a claim that Duchovny has denied. On November 15, 2008, the Daily Mail retracted their claims. Duchovny and Leoni reunited, then separated again on June 29, 2011. In 2012, he declared that he was still married to her, though they were separated. Their divorce was finalized in June 2014. Until their split, the couple lived on the Upper East Side. He then moved to Central Park West on the Upper West Side.

Duchovny is supportive of environmentalism and an enthusiast for electric vehicle technology. He appeared as a part of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival in support of the film Revenge of the Electric Car.







1988Working GirlTess's FriendNone speaking

1989New Year's DayBilly
Bad InfluenceClub Goer
1991Julia Has Two LoversDaniel
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's DeadBruce
The RaptureRandy
1992RubyOfficer Tippit
Red Shoe DiariesJake Winters
ChaplinRoland "Rollie" TotherohCameo

1993KaliforniaBrian Kessler
1997Playing GodDr. Eugene Sands
1998The X-Files: Fight the FutureFBI Special Agent Fox Mulder
2000Return to MeBob Rueland
2001EvolutionDr. Ira Kane
ZoolanderJP Prewitt
2002Full FrontalBill / Gus
2004Connie and CarlaJeff
House of DTom WarshawAlso writer and director

2005Trust the ManTom
2006Queer Duck: the MovieTiny Jesus
The TV SetMike Klein
2007Things We Lost in the FireBrian Burke
The SecretDr. Benjamin Marris
Quantum HoopsNarrator
2008The X-Files: I Want to BelieveFox Mulder
2009The JonesesSteve Jones
2012GoatsThe Goat Man
Louder Than WordsJohn Fareri
2020The Craft: LegacyAdam Harrison






1990–1991Twin PeaksDEA Agent Denise Bryson3 episodes

1992Baby SnatcherDavid AndersonTelevision movie

1992–1997Red Shoe DiariesJake Winters10 episodes

1993–2018The X-FilesFBI Special Agent Fox Mulder209 episodes

1995–1998The Larry Sanders ShowHimself3 episodes

1995–1998Saturday Night LiveHost / himself2 episodes

1995Eek! The CatFox Mulder (voice)Episode: "Eek Space 9"

1996FrasierTom (voice)Episode: "Frasier Loves Roz"

Space: Above and BeyondHandsome AlvinEpisode: "R&R"

1997The SimpsonsFox Mulder (voice)Episode: "The Springfield Files"

Duckman: Private Dick/Family ManRichard (voice)Episode: "The Girls of Route Canal"

1998Dr. Katz, Professional TherapistHimselfEpisode: "Metaphors"

2001The Lone GunmenFox MulderEpisode: #12 All About Yves

2002Primetime GlickHimself2 episodes

Life with BonnieJohnny Volcano2 episodes

2003Sex and the CityJeremyEpisode: "Boy, Interrupted"

2007–2014CalifornicationHank Moody84 episodes

2015–2016AquariusSam Hodiak26 episodes

2016Better ThingsHimselfEpisode: "Brown"

2017Twin PeaksDenise BrysonEpisode: “Part 4”

Video games



Voice role


1998The X-Files GameFox Mulder
2003XIIIJason Fly
2004The X-Files: Resist or ServeFox Mulder
2005Area 51Ethan Cole

Discography and tours

Studio albums



2015Hell or Highwater

2018Every Third Thought

2020/2021Upcoming third studio album


  • The Hell of Highwater Tour (2015–2016)
  • Every Third Thought Tour (2018–2019)


  • 2015: Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, Farrar, Straus and Giroux .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:block;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:block;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}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 Lighting: A Novel


On May 12, 2015, Duchovny released his first music album entitled Hell or Highwater, which consists of 12 songs.

On February 9, 2018, Duchovny released his second album entitled Every Third Thought.

Other works

  • 2011: Introduction to Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference ISBN 978-1-4384-3734-7.
  • 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

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult

1995Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actor in a Quality Drama SeriesThe X-FilesNominated

1996Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaNominated

National TV AwardsMost Popular ActorWon

Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

1997Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaWon

Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesThe Larry Sanders ShowNominated

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesThe X-FilesNominated

Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaWon

Saturn AwardsBest Actor on TelevisionNominated

Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated

Television Critic AssociationIndividual Achievement in DramaNominated

1998Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaNominated

Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaNominated

Saturn AwardsBest Actor on TelevisionNominated

Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated

1999American Comedy AwardsFunniest Male Guest Appearance in a Television SeriesThe Larry Sanders ShowWon

Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaThe X-FilesNominated

Saturn AwardsBest Actor on TelevisionNominated

Best Actor (film)Nominated

Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesNominated

2000Kids' Choice AwardsFavorite Television Friends (with Gillian Anderson)Nominated

Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesNominated

2003Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesLife with BonnieNominated

2008Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyCalifornicationWon

Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyNominated

2009Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyNominated

Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated

2010Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series Musical or ComedyNominated


2016Saturn AwardsBest Actor on TelevisionThe X-FilesNominated

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