Classically handsome but never one to truly play the typical leading man, Kyle MacLachlan continues to weave his way in both television and film. You may remember him as the slightly eccentric yet all-American boy in David Lynch’s, Blue Velvet, or the ever-eccentric Special Agent Dale Cooper in pre-millennium’s iconic television series, Twin Peaks (McLaughlin had audiences wondering about cherry pie and coffee almost as much as the one-armed man). Even in Desperate Housewives, we wondered about his Orson Hodge, who was sometimes more secretive than Bree (Marcia Cross). This fall, he’ll create another character in CBS’ new drama, Made in Jersey.
However, whether he’s starring in Made In Jersey or on YouTube with his pet dogs; Mookie and Sam, growing wine or working for his charities including UNICEF, The Human Society or Live Earth, the actor is equally at home.
He’s also a dad, having become a father to son, Callum in 2008 with wife Desiree Gruber, an executive producer of Project Runway.
Born in Yakima, Washington to a lawyer/stockbroker father and public relations director mother, he graduated from Eisenhower High School and then attended and graduated from the University of Washington. After college, he decided to come to Hollywood to pursue his dream of acting.
A Star Was Born caught up with MacLachlan to talk about his new series, Made In Jersey, and his hometown of Yakima, Washington, in the beautiful wine country of the Pacific Northwest. A short drive from Seattle (about 2 1/2 hrs.), this “apple valley” is worlds apart from a trip to the city.
Breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier from Yakima County.
ASWB: What was it like growing up in Yakima, Washington?
KM: Yakima, I was there until I went to college so it was the first 17 years of my life. I lived next to a park. I have two younger brothers who were outside everyday in the summer until it was dark.
I spent a lot of time at the golf course with my dad. It was perfect. I have very fond memories.
The Apple Tree Golf Course, in Yakima Valley, is located in an apple orchard. The 17th hole is on an island shaped like an apple.
“I spent a lot of time at the golf course with my dad. It was perfect. I have very fond memories.”
ASWB: Do you still go back there?
KM: Yes. Well, I do. I make wine in Walla, Walla, which is about two hours from my hometown in Yakima. I am back frequently to check on my wine and do that process, so I still visit Yakima from time to time.
ASWB: How is the wine going?
KM: The wine is going very well. We’re in our fourth vintage now, 2008. It’s called Pursued by Bear. I also make a Syrah; so far we are having good luck.
Yakima Valley boasts that its award-winning wine regions have the same latitude as the wine regions of France, and hosts two annual events in October – Catch the Crush and Winemaker For a Day where visitors can watch the harvest and grape stomps or participate in the hands-on experience of wine-making.
(Below right) Kyle, back home in Washington, near his vineyard. (Below left) A bottle of 2008 Cabernet, Pursued By Bear, from the winery that MacLachlan co-owns, Dunham Cellars. Dunham Cellars (not pictured) is in Walla Walla, Washington, about 2 hours from Yakima Valley.
ASWB: Travel books have must-sees, what is your must-see for your hometown?
KM: Yakima has got a beautiful little community theatre, which shows all season long. They have an extraordinary symphony there, a roadhouse theatre that is built in downtown that has gone through various phases. It was a movie theater at one time and has lain dormant for some time, now it’s a symphony house.
Also maybe you can have a nice meal at Gasperetti’s, an Italian place.
Opened as a vaudeville theatre in 1920, the Capitol Theatre, has survived the demise of vaudeville and a devastating fire in the 1970s, to still stand as the Yakima community’s opera house and community theatre.
Gasperetti’s in Yakima, WA
ASWB: Any high school teachers influence your acting career?
KM: There were a number; Mary Crago, my language teacher, when I was in eighth and ninth grade. That was when I read Dune for the very first time, and I used to put sayings from the book…I used to draw them on the blackboard. She was a very free-thinking English teacher and she a very important part of my growing up, as was my science teacher, John Laatz. He was the teacher of my Life Science class; he was a golfer, so we hung out a little bit.
Then in high school, there were a couple of teachers – Stuart Hansen was my math teacher, and while we didn’t see eye-to-eye a lot, he was an important part of my growing, as well as my music teacher, Gary Basinger; he was very important to me.
When summing up a visit to MacLachlan’s hometown of Yakima Valley, the word “refreshing” comes to mind, and not just because of the great wine, although that certainly doesn’t hurt, but because it has its own character – like MacLachlan. And whether he’s creating a new character or creating wine, MacLachlan always finds a way to keep it interesting.
Extreme adventure awaits white-water rafting enthusiasts on the Tieton River; especially in September when the dam is released.