Personal detailsName: David Duchovny
Born: 7 August 1960 (Age: 53)
Where: New York, New York, USA
Awards: Won 2 Golden Globes, 1 BAFTA nomination
All about this star
Due to his part as Fox Mulder in the phenomenally successful X-Files, David Duchovny was one of the brightest stars of the fledgling Internet, one of the best-known actors on the planet. Naturally, the end of the series would bring a marked drop in his popularity. His efforts as a film actor and writer-director would be largely ignored and he was in serious danger of being dismissed as a one-hit wonder (albeit in one of the biggest TV hits of all time). Nevertheless, he persisted in his work, returned to TV and honed his comic abilities, enjoying another smash hit with Californication. A serial nominee at the Emmys and Golden Globes, he had proved him to be a performer of wit, charm, breadth and, oddly, given his age, considerable potential.
He was born David William Duchovny on August 7th, 1960, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His parents were Jewish New Yorker Amram Ducovny and Lutheran Scot Margaret Miller, known as Meg and born at Whitehills, just north of Aberdeen. With that heritage, Duchovny jokes, you shouldn't ask him for money. He also says it gave him a "Protestant work ethic combined with Jewish guilt and introspection". He has a brother, Daniel, four years older, and a sister, Laurie, six years his junior.
Amram Duchovny had grown up on a block between Neptune and Mermaid Avenues in Coney Island. A jazz fanatic, he'd gain a BA from New York University, then join the army. It was here that, due to continual mispronunciation, he'd drop the H from his surname. After a spell working as a journalist in the Middle East, he'd return to New York to work as a publicist for the American Jewish Committee. His dream, though, was to become a successful playwright and novelist. Meg would later become a teacher and school administrator.
With his parents coming from such different backgrounds, young David would enjoy a fairly cosmopolitan early life. At the age of 4 he'd be taken to Scotland on a liner, returning to his mother's homeland at age 10 (he has strong links to the clan McFarlane). He'd actually celebrate his tenth birthday on Erraid, a tiny island next to Iona off the west coast of Mull. Back home in New York, he'd get his first taste of showbiz when his dad's play The Trial Of Lee Harvey Oswald, co-written with Leon Friedman, would get a one-week run at Broadway's ANTA Playhouse in November, 1967. The 1977 film The Trial Of Lee Harvey Oswald, starring Ben Gazzara, would share nothing with the play but its title.
Amram and Meg would divorce when David was 11, Amram later moving to Boston where he'd work as director of public affairs at Brandeis University and perform publicity duties for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Also pursuing his literary ambitions, he'd write several books, some humorous collections and some histories, including David Ben Gurion In His Own Words. Finally, in 2000, having married Varda and moved to Paris, he'd have his first novel published, Coney, a story set in the 1930s Coney Island of his youth. Sadly, he would die just three years later.
After the divorce, the kids would stay with their mother in New York, growing ever more distant from their father. Meg's own father had fought in WW1 then lived through the Depression and WW2 making her very aware of how quickly the good times can end. Thus she'd remind the kids constantly that poverty was only a small step away, engendering a real fear of winding up in the gutter and promoting the aforementioned work ethic.
Life was difficult, but David excelled at it. He'd be educated at Grace Church School, a small establishemnt on 4th Avenue that, founded in 1894, had been the first choir boarding school in New York. His mother would work there for some 27 years. Having passed through 8th Grade with distinction, David would win a scholarship to the renowned Collegiate School for Boys. Founded by the Dutch back when the city was New Amsterdam, this was argued to be the oldest independent school in America and had relocated to 260 West 78th Street, next to the West End Collegiate Church in 1892. Cesar Romero had graduated from here, as had Peter Bogdanovich and a host of playwrights, film-makers, high-powered journalists and entrepreneurs. Other pupils who'd passed through included Douglas Fairbanks Jr and William Hurt.
So Duke, as Duchovny was sometimes nicknamed (he was also known as Doggie), found himself surrounded by the children of the rich and famous, including John F. Kennedy Jr, with whom he roomed on a school-trip to Washington in 1975. There were also many child prodigies, one of whom was already editor of the New York Times' crossword. David fitted in easily. There were two gyms, two theatres and a host of opportunities to learn music and the arts. There were no more than 50 boys to a grade. Duchovny was brilliant at baseball and basketball, playing the latter to college scholarship standard, and studied diligently.
His work paid off. Graduating in 1978, he was class valedictorian, and was offered places at Harvard, Yale, Browns and Princeton, choosing to attend the last of these. He made friends fast, and got a girlfriend. Seeing her on his first day, he discovered her name, and joined a politics class in which she'd enrolled. When she turned up (actually three months later), she asked to borrow his notes, he asked her out and they were together for the next four years. David was already fairly successful with women.