Al Strobel, Twin Peaks' One-Armed Man, Dies at 83

Actor Al Strobel, best known for his recurring role as the one-armed shoe salesman Phillip Michael Gerard / Mike in Twin Peaks, has died at the age of 83. Producer Sabrina Sutherland reported news of Strobel's December 2nd death on Facebook, writing, "I am sad to have to post that Al Strobel passed away last night. I loved him dearly." A cause of death was not given. Strobel played the One-Armed Man in the original Twin Peaks ABC series, reprising his role in director David Lynch's 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the 2017 revival limited series that again starred Kyle MacLachlan.

MacLachlan remembered Strobel as "one of the nicest guys ever," the Special Agent Dale Cooper actor wrote on Instagram. "I'm so sorry to hear this news. He brought a gravitas and an intensity to the world of Twin Peaks that was essential."

Mark Frost, who co-created Twink Peaks with Lynch, tweeted of Strobel: "Oh no...Dear those of you lucky enough to have met him over the years, what a warm and wonderful gentleman he was. RIP, friend." Wrote Bobby Briggs actor Dana Ashbrook on Twitter, "Sad , sad Al. He was the sweetest of men. A wonderful story teller... and to watch him roll a one handed cigarette- pure magic." 

Actor Adele Jones, who played Lieutenant Cynthia Knox in the 2017 series, remembered Strobel as "a sweet soul that will be missed." Tweeted producer Harley Peyton of Strobel: "As authentic an actor as I ever met. So precise so real. RIP, Al."

As the devil-touched shoe salesman who lived among the shadows, Strobel's character removed his arm to rid himself of his "fire walk with me" tattoo. The 2017 return of Twin Peaks marked Strobel's last on-screen appearance. 

"I thought it was fabulous," Strobel, who had retired to Portland, Oregon, told The Register-Guard of the cult favorite in 2005. "I actually felt that it would become the phenomenon that it would become. I almost knew that right away." Strobel recalled being cast in the role without auditioning or even meeting Lynch, saying at the time, "I'm told that he psychically understood what I could bring to his concept by just looking at my picture." 

In his 2018 book, Room to Dream, Lynch wrote of Strobel: "I heard Al Strobel's voice, which is an incredible voice, and I had to write something for that voice."


Along with his famed role in Twin Peaks, the veteran stage actor appeared in the 1990 film Megaville and played a "One-Armed Man" in the 2001 Kate Hudson film Ricochet River.