Walter Olkewicz, best known for his role in Twin Peaks but also recognizable from roles in films like The Client and TV series like Grace Under Fire and Seinfeld, has passed away. He was 72 years old. Olkewicz died early Tuesday morning, at his home in Reseda, according to a statement from his son, screenwriter Zak Olkewicz. The character actor has reportedly suffered a series of health setbacks dating back two decades, following infections that came during knee surgeries. It limited his work in the last 20 years, as he remained bedridden, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported the statement.
Olkewicz played Jacques Renault on Twin Peaks, the sleazy bartender and croupier who was one of the key clues in finding out the truth about the death of Laura Palmer. He would continue to play disreputable figures throughout much of his career, including a mafia lawyer in The Client.
From the early '80s until 2002, Olkewicz worked more or less constantly, but after his surgical complications, his final credited screen appearances were in Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces, a 2014 home video release that included deleted scenes and previously-unseen content from Twin Peaks and the feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Showtime's Twin Peaks: The Return, in which he performed from behind a bar to hide the fact that he could not stand, according to his son.
Born on May 14, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey, Olkewicz graduated from Colorado State University before making his screen debut in 1976's Futureworld. Not long after, he would have a role in Steven Spielberg's commercial bomb 1941, which has stayed alive on home video due to the number of big stars who are wasted in its mediocre script. He would go on to work with some of the biggest names in TV and film over his decades onscreen.
Olkewicz played Nick the Cable Guy in "The Cadillac" episode of Seinfeld and appeared in dozens of TV roles, including but not limited to The Rockford Files, Taxi, Cheers, Newhart, ER, Family Ties, Married … With Children, Moonlighting, Murder, She Wrote, and Dharma & Greg. His other film appearances included The Big Picture and Stuart Saves His Family.
Olkewicz is survived by his son Zak and daughter-in-law, Katrina Rennells, an actress and screenwriter; and his grandchildren Sadie and Declan Robert.0comments
Our sympathies go out to Olkewicz's friends, family, and fans in this difficult time.