The Return of Kyle MacLachlan (and Agent Cooper)


“Some people have gone as far as to try to defend it as a brilliant movie,” he added. “I’m not so sure, but I appreciate the effort.” Ultimately, he couldn’t bring himself to promote it. “I went into hiding,” he said.

Mr. Lynch didn’t hold Mr. MacLachlan’s frustration against him. “It’s a tough life for an actor waiting for the phone to ring,” he said. “You want to work.”

And at a certain point he did.

In 1999, Mr. MacLachlan went for an appointment with his chiropractor, and spotted a mystery brunette in the waiting room.

Her name was Desiree Gruber. At 31, she was already a world-class connecter who served as a vice president at the publicity firm Rogers & Cowan, with clients including supermodels (Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum) and big companies (Miramax Films, Victoria’s Secret). Mr. MacLachlan talked with her briefly but “didn’t have the nerve” to ask for her number before going into traction therapy.

The next evening, he spotted Ms. Gruber at a Talk magazine party at the Mondrian Hotel. They talked the entire night and decided on an even less low-profile date some 24 hours later: the Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Almost immediately, he said, “I couldn’t imagine not being with her forever.” Ms. Gruber was pragmatic and gregarious in a way that brought him out of his shell and motivated him “to do better.”


Burberry coat, $1,895, at Salvatore Ferragamo shirt. J. Crew pants, $250, at Maison Margiela loafers, price on request, at Maison Margiela boutiques. Credit Eric Chakeen for The New York Times; Styled by Alex Tudela

“She knows more about my industry than I do,” he said. “I like the creative part. As do all actors. The business side is something that I run from. And she has encouraged me to not run from that and to engage. And that’s been incredibly helpful.”

In 2000, Mr. MacLachlan made his debut on “Sex and the City,” a role he accepted when Ms. Gruber told him to stop vacillating and say yes.

Not long after they met, Ms. Gruber left Rogers & Cowan and started the marketing firm Full Picture. There, she helped Harvey Weinstein and Ms. Klum conceive “Project Runway,” a show she owns a piece of.

In 2002, after a string of gossip items, they married in Coral Gables, Fla. The bride wore Amsale; the groom, a custom Tom Ford tux. Ms. Klum and Ms. Campbell were guests. There was also a Cuban band with a cigar roller.

In 2005, Ms. Gruber helped her husband start a wine business, Pursued by Bear. She took on clients such as Google and AOL and began practicing Transcendental Meditation while assisting the David Lynch Foundation with its benefits and partnerships. The couple had a child in 2008, Callum, and Mr. MacLachlan’s career picked up with roles on “Desperate Housewives,” “Portlandia,” “How I Met Your Mother” and Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

His deep knowledge of Pacific Northwesterners came in handy as he stepped into the Birkenstocks of his perpetually peppy “Portlandia” character, a mayor who not only runs Oregon’s biggest city but also embodies its earnest progressiveness by playing bass in a Dub Reggae band and riding a bicycle to work.


Mr. MacLachlan’s show, “Twin Peaks,” returns to television on May 21 on Showtime. Credit Eric Chakeen for The New York Times; Styled by Alex Tudela

“We both grew up in Washington State, and that’s something we bonded over,” said Carrie Brownstein, who created and stars in the show with Fred Armisen. “There’s a like-mindedness, a feeling of being at the edge of the country, the last stop in this potentially false notion of what the American dream is.”

In fact, Mr. Armisen said, one of the reasons he was happy Mr. MacLachlan agreed to play the part is that “we definitely stole from ‘Twin Peaks.’” The actor’s unique gift, he added, was bringing humor to the character’s “do-good” impulse without ever seeming “sarcastic” or “overly ironic.”

Mr. MacLachlan’s marriage also made him something of an off-camera role model to his co-stars.

“They have an enviable relationship,” Ms. Brownstein said of Mr. MacLachlan and Ms. Gruber. “They’re not threatened by the other’s success. Kyle is the first to admit she is the powerhouse of the two of them, and at the same time, that’s given him an artistic freedom.”

So when a reporter suggested concluding the High Line stroll with a visit to Mr. MacLachlan’s wife, the answer was yes.

We arrived at her Flatiron district office around 2 p.m. Everyone from the doormen to the receptionists knew him. “I’ll be right there, Boo,” Ms. Gruber called out from her office.

We stepped inside her lair. Framed photos showed Ms. Gruber with Warren Buffett, Muhammad Ali and Barack Obama, among others. On a table was a copy of a just-released profile of her included in Variety’s “Power of Women: New York.” Ms. Gruber wore a herringbone one-piece from Prada, Manolo Blahnik slingbacks and her trademark Tom Ford glasses.

She poked fun at his old-fashioned, aw-shucks traditionalism. He poked fun at her inclination to try everything new.

The recent iPhone in his hand, they said, was the result of her overcoming his endless kvetching about how a new device was going to be the death of him.

“Technology to me is like a pattern, and I’ve learned a pattern and I’m comfortable with a pattern,” Mr. MacLachlan said. “Then I get a new piece of technology, and I have to learn a whole new pattern.”

He was more enthusiastic about another of Ms. Gruber’s discoveries, the Allbirds cashmere sneakers on his feet. “I love them,” he told her. “You have an eye.”

She pulled from a small refrigerator a couple of aluminum juice packets that she explained were made by a Silicon Valley company called Juicero.

“Are you sure you don’t want a juice?” Ms. Gruber said. “I’m going to have one.”

“Oh my God,” Mr. MacLachlan said, examining a bag. It had bar codes on it and looked like something from a fancy hospital. “Do you have an IV to go with that?”

“Ha, ha, ha, that’s cute,” she said. “It does look like an IV bag, but it’s not. It’s from the future, honey. From the future!”

An assistant took the packets to the nearby Juicero juicer and soon returned with glasses filled with a mixture of kale, lemon, spinach, pineapple and apple. Ms. Gruber coaxed Mr. MacLachlan into taking a sip.

“It’s really good,” he said, sounding by-gosh, by-golly excited to discover that his wife was right yet again.

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Source: New York Times



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