Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. Peggy Lipton from Twin Peaks and The Mod Squad

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. Peggy Lipton from iTwin Peaks /iand iThe Mod Squad /i
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, actress and model Peggy Lipton—best known for starring on The Mod Squad and for playing Double R Diner owner Norma Jennings on Twin Peaks—has died. Her death was confirmed by her daughters, Kidada and Rashida Jones, who released a statement saying that their mother died from cancer on Saturday “with her daughters and nieces by her side.” She was 72.


Lipton was born in New York in 1946, and as a teenager her lawyer father got her modeling jobs while her artist mother pushed for her to become an actor. When her family moved to Los Angeles in the ‘60s, she quickly began to land small roles on TV, appearing on The John Forsythe Show, Bewitched, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. She became a self-described hippie while living in California, which presumably came in handy when she landed her big break as Julie Barnes on ABC’s counterculture crime drama The Mod Squad in 1968.

As the L.A. Times points out, the series was one of the few to treat youth culture of the era with some legitimacy, with its team of hippie cops—played by Michael Cole and Clarence Williams III alongside Lipton—addressing hot-button issues of the ‘60s and ‘70s like the Vietnam War, drugs, and police brutality. Lipton appeared in well over 100 episodes, landing four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win for best actress in a TV. Lipton returned for a one-off Mod Squad revival in the late-’70s, but other than that she retired after the show ended to concentrate on starting a family with her husband, legendary record producer Quincy Jones—though she did also have a brief singing career, releasing hits like “Stoney End,” “Lu,” and “Wear Your Love Like Heaven.”

In the ‘80s, after she and Jones got a divorce, she returned to acting, popping up in a number of small roles before getting another big break in the cult-classic (turned regular-classic) Twin Peaks. Lipton played Norma Jennings, owner of the mysterious town’s beloved diner and a woman struggling with the regrets of her past. She also appeared in the prequel movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and in the recent Twin Peaks revival series, reprising her role as Norma. In a series known for often having tragic and unexpected conclusions, Norma actually got a relatively rare happy ending in the revival, dedicating her life to her diner and marrying her high school sweetheart.

Lipton also appeared in The Postman and A Dog’s Purpose, and had recurring roles on Popular, Alias, and Crash. She also popped up a couple times on the comedy series Angie Tribeca, playing the mother of Rashida Jones’ character.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter