The Heartbreaking Death Of Walter Olkewicz

Walter Olkewicz, an actor known for celebrated roles on Twin Peaks, Seinfeld, Wizards and Warriors, and Grace Under Fire, has died at the age of 72. His death was confirmed by his son, screenwriter Zak Olkewicz, who told Entertainment Weekly that his father passed away the morning of April 6, 2021 inside of his Los Angeles home. 

The actor had stepped away from acting over a decade ago due to issues stemming from multiple knee surgeries and subsequent infections that eventually led to his death, according to Deadline. However, his iconic roles and beloved personality has never been forgotten. "He was a good man who pushed his love for creativity and the arts into everything he did," Olkewicz told USA Today. "He handed that passion down to me, and I look forward to passing it on to the grandchildren he loved so much."

Though his debuted his talents in the 1976 film Futureworld, Olkewicz was better remembered for his roles as bartender and croupier Jacques Renault on Twin Peaks and Nick the cable guy on a 1996 episode of Seinfeld called "The Cadillac."

Walter Olkewicz earned many loyal fans for his work on Twin Peaks

Over the span of nearly three decades, Walter Olkewicz played his role as Jacques Renault on episodes of the original series, which ran between 1990 and 1991, in the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and in the 2017 Showtime revival. 

The latest iteration of the television show was the last time that Olkewicz appeared on television, due to ongoing health issues. In fact, during this last performance, the complications from numerous knee surgeries made it so that he had to be positioned behind the bar for every scene because he had trouble standing. Though, despite the physical setback, Zak Olkewicz told USA Today that his father "wouldn't have turned down returning to that role for anything."

What made his 2017 comeback even more impressive was that his character had been killed off in a previous season finale of the television show. But, as Olkewicz told The Jersey Journal in 2017, show creator David Lynch liked Olkewicz so much that he worked hard to include his character in any way he could. "After the series shut down, David said, 'We love what you did, we want you for the movie,'" Olkewicz recalled. "I said, 'David, I was killed in the last episode.' He said, 'Bull, we got flashbacks, we got dream sequences. We'll bring you back.'"

Oklewicz is survived by his son, daughter-in-law, Katrina Rennells, an actress and screenwriter, and two grandchildren.