As reported by The New York Times, actor Peter Donat—best known for his recurring role on The X-Files as Bill Mulder—has died. His wife told The New York Times that the cause of death was “complications of diabetes” and that he died while at his home in Point Reyes Station, California. Donat was 90.
Donat was born in Canada in 1928, and acting was evidently a big deal in his family. His younger brother Richard Donat had a regular role on Syfy’s Stephen King show Haven, and his uncle Robert Donat was the Academy Award-winning star of Goodbye Mr. Chips. Donat was primarily a theatrical performer, having played Cyrano De Bergerac, Prospero, and King Lear over the years, but he also appeared on a bunch of American television shows from the ‘70s to the ‘90s, including Hawaii Five-O, Hill Street Blues, and Murder, She Wrote.
Donat also played a lawyer in The Godfather Part II, having previously been considered for the role of Tom Hagen (the character played by Robert Duvall) in the first movie. He also narrated The Hero’s Journey: A Biographical Portrait, the movie about Joseph Campbell, and he worked on the multi-part video series The World Of Joseph Campbell: Transformation Of Myths Through Time.
To American audiences, though, Donat’s most famous role was easily Bill Mulder, the father of David Duchovny’s X-Files protagonist Fox Mulder. In typical X-Files fashion, Bill Mulder was the center of an enormous conspiracy but was murdered by an alien before he had a chance to divulge too many secrets. In a statement given to The New York Times, Duchovny said that Donat “had an easy gravitas as a performer and seemed to come from that generation that took the art seriously but not too seriously.”