Julie Cruz, famous 'Twin Peaks' singer, dies at 65

Julie Cruz, famous ‘Twin Peaks’ singer, dies at 65

Julie Cruz, the singer who provided an ethereal and memorable voice for director David Lynch’s projects — most famously “Falling,” whose robotic version was the subject of Mr Lynch’s favorite television show, “Twin Peaks” — passed away Thursday in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, aged . Age 65 years old.

Her husband, Edward Grenan, said the reason was suicide. He said she suffered from depression as well as lupus.

Ms. Cruz was building her career off Broadway in the early 1980s when she coincidentally met composer Angelo Badalamenti when they worked on a show together.

She told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1990, “I was into this country and western music in the East Village. I was a chorus girl with a big skirt and big wig, and I sing very loudly. Angelo was playing music for the show, and we became friends.”

A few years later, Mr. Lynch, still very early in his career, engaged Mr. Badalamenti as a vocal coach to Isabella Rossellini in Lynch’s 1986 film “Blue Velvet” and ended up writing the score for that movie as well. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti wrote a song for the film that needed a vocalist.

“Angelo asked me to find someone to sing a song for the soundtrack to ‘Mysteries of Love,’ but he didn’t like any of the singers I recommended,” she told The Chronicle. “He wanted dreamy and romantic. I said, ‘Let me do it.'”

Ms. Cruz has always considered herself “cool,” as she often called her (she once played Janis Joplin in a musical called “The Beehive”), but the sound she came up with for the song “Love Mysteries” was something else entirely, mysterious and light. It fit perfectly with that and other Lynch-Badalamenti compositions. One of the two books called her style “Singing an Angel on Quaaludes”.

The three soon collaborated on Ms. Cruz’s debut album, “Floating Into the Night,” which featured songs by the two men, including “Mysteries of Love” and “Falling.” They also collaborated on a stage production called “Industrial Symphony No. 1”, performed at the New Music America Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 1989, with Mrs. Cruz performing amid an elaborate ensemble that included a vintage car.

“Often, Mrs. Cruz was perched on the catwalk, like a bleached blond angel, dressed in a prom dress,” John Bareilles wrote in his New York Times article. “Once, her body fell to the ground and helmeted workers stuffed it into the trunk of a car; later, she reappeared to face a video camera and sing “Tell your heart it’s me,” while 10 choir girls wearing golden llamas danced next to her picture on TV.”

The national show came the following April when “Twin Peaks” premiered on ABC, with an instrumental version of “Falling” serving as its theme. Ms. Cruz appeared in the pilot and subsequent episodes as a road singer.

The show quickly became the talk of television, and in May 1990 led to Mrs. Cruz’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live”. She wasn’t in the original line-up, but controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay (who called himself “the fiercest comedian ever to walk the face of the Earth”) was the scheduled host, leading to protests from at least one member of the cast. , Nora Dunn, who declined to appear in that episode, and caused the original musical guest, Sinead O’Connor, to withdraw at the last minute.

Ms. Cruz was one of two jobs called up to take her place. Mr. Grenan said in a phone interview that Ms. Cruz, who was not yet known, was working as a waitress at the time and had to quit her job. But he pointed out that she did not call the disease.

“She said she called Fame,” he said.

Although “Twin Peaks” brought Ms. Cruz extensive exposure, Mr. Grinnan said she found touring with B-52s in the 1990s particularly enjoyable. She replaced Cindy Wilson, the original member, when Ms. Wilson took a break from the band.

“This was probably the happiest performance of her life,” said Mr. Grenan.

Julie Ann Cruz was born on December 1, 1956 in Creston, Iowa to Wilma and Dr. John Cruz. Her father was a dentist, and her mother was his office manager.

Her husband said Ms. Cruz was somewhat of a musical prodigy on the French horn, earning a degree in instrumental music from Drake University in Iowa. He said she applied the precision and phrasing of classic French horn to the sound she created for Lynch’s projects.

But once she graduated, she thought acting and singing would be more attractive than playing in an orchestra. She went to Minneapolis, which is a good city for theater, and spent several years performing with the Children’s Theater Company there before moving to New York around 1983.

After Twin Peaks, Ms. Cruz did another album with Mr. Lynch and Mr. Badalamenti, The Voice of Love (1993). She also continued acting. Mr. Grenan said it was her performance in an Off-Broadway musical called “Return to a Deprived Planet” in 1991 that caught the attention of the B-52. Mel Gusso, reviewing that show for The Times, said it was a standout.

“Julie Cruz is the only one to liven up the show with her musical personality,” he wrote. Well remembered for her singing in ‘Twin Peaks,’ she is gritty and entertaining, although the script keeps her off-the-scenes for most of the first act.

Ms. Cruz later toured with Bobby McFerrin and worked with electronic musicians such as Marcus Schmechler. In 2003, she achieved a longtime goal of performing at the New York Public Theater when she participated in the musical “Radiant Child” about graffiti artist Keith Haring.

It was a tough job. As The Times wrote, she played “Andy Warhol, Haring’s mother, a demonic nurse and critic who looks like Susan Sontag.”

A reporter asked which roles were the most difficult?

“The outfit is changing,” she said. “I’m the oldest person on this cast.”

Mrs. Cruz alternates between homes in Manhattan and Berkshire. In addition to her husband, whom she married in 1988, she is survived by her sister Kate Quinn.

Ms. Cruz reprized her role as “Twin Peaks” in “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” Mr. Lynch’s 1992 film, and a quarter-century later in an episode of the Showtime television series reboot. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2017, she thought about her long haul “Twin Peaks.”

“It was so much fun being a part of something that’s just gone!” She said. “She didn’t know she would. What a lovely surprise to take you in.”

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