David William Duchovny (born August 7, 1960) is an American actor. He has won Golden Globe awards for his work as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files and as Hank Moody on Californication.
Duchovny was born in New York City, New York, the son of Margaret "Meg" (née Miller), a school administrator and teacher, and Amram Ducovny (1927-2003), a writer and publicist who worked for the American Jewish Committee. David Duchovny's paternal grandparents were Russian Jews and his mother is a Lutheran immigrant from Scotland. His father dropped the h in his last name to escape the sort of mispronunciations he suffered at the hands of sergeants while serving in the Army. The surname "Duchovny" (also frequently spelt as "Duchowny") is clearly Slavic in origin, with the meaning 'spiritual', cf. Russian духовный, Belorussian духоўны, Ukrainian духовний, Polish duchowny. However, the children of Amran Ducovny have usually kept the original spelling, not only David but also Daniel and Laurie Duchovny, although the legal spelling of their surname is unknown to the general public.
Duchovny first attended Grace Church School, and for high school attended The Collegiate School For Boys; both are in Manhattan. He graduated from Princeton University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He was a member of the 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, and the title of his senior thesis was The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett's Early Novels. Duchovny played a season of junior varsity basketball, as a shooting guard, and also center field for the varsity baseball team.
He then received a Master of Arts, also in English Literature, from Yale University and subsequently began work on a Ph.D. that remains unfinished. The title of his uncompleted doctoral thesis was Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose.
Duchovny appeared in an advertisement for Löwenbräu beer in 1987. He appears in two scenes in Working Girl (1988). He had a recurring role as a transvestite DEA agent on the series Twin Peaks and played the narrator/host in the long-running Showtime erotica/softcore TV series Red Shoe Diaries. In 1993, Duchovny began starring in the sci-fi series The X-Files as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, a conspiracy theorist who believed his sister was abducted by aliens. The show emerged as a cult hit and quickly became one of The FOX Network's first major hits. During the show's run, in between the fifth and sixth seasons, Duchovny co-starred alongside Gillian Anderson in a 1998 motion picture that continued the X-Files storyline, titled The X-Files: Fight the Future. He remained with the series until quitting in 2001, partly due to 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 Fox Mulder character in an episode of The Simpsons, entitled The Springfield Files.
Duchovny caused controversy when it became public that he was the primary reason that 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 Conan O'Brien's late night show about the city's heavy rainfall; he joked that "Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day." 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. Return to Me was directed by Bonnie Hunt and co-starred Minnie Driver and Carroll O'Connor. In 2001, Duchovny played a hand model in the Ben Stiller comedy, Zoolander. He also played the role of Ira Kane in the movie Evolution alongside Seann William Scott that same year.
He also appeared in a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in May 2000. He got up to $250,000, but answered his $500,000 question incorrectly and lost $218,000, leaving him with $32,000.
Duchovny and Gillian Anderson at The X-Files: I Want to Believe premiere -- 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, who had already made his directorial debut with an episode of The X-Files, wrote, directed and featured in House of D. The film starred Anton Yelchin, Robin Williams and Duchovny's wife Tea Leoni in a coming-of-age tale. It received mostly poor reviews and little box office success. Duchovny also directed an episode of Bones (Episode 211, "Judas on a Pole") during its second season.
Duchovny currently plays Hank Moody, a troubled 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.
Duchovny married actress Téa Leoni on May 6, 1997. In April 1999, Leoni gave birth to a daughter, Madelaine West Duchovny. Their second child, a son, Kyd Miller Duchovny, was born in June 2002. On October 15, 2008, Duchovny's and Leoni's representatives issued a statement that they had separated and had been for several months prior to this announcement. On October 21, 2008, Duchovny’s lawyer said that he plans to sue the U.K.'s ‘’Daily Mail’’ over an article it ran that claimed he had an affair with Hungarian tennis instructor Edit Pakay while still married to Leoni, a claim that Duchovny has denied. On November 15, 2008, the Daily Mail printed a retraction stating that the story "is inaccurate and Ms. Pakay and Mr. Duchovny are only friends who used to play tennis occasionally". In June 2009, Duchovny and Leoni were seen together again and in interviews in September 2009, it was revealed that they had reconciled.
Duchovny is a former vegetarian.
On August 28, 2008, Duchovny announced that he had checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for treating sex addiction.