As the unorthodox FBI agent Fox Mulder on the X-Files, he may have probe unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena, but in real life, David Duchovny (1960-) born on this day, believed seeing is believing.
His name Duchovny means "spiritual" in Russian. Growing up in New York City, he remembered being "smart, studious, and most of all, shy."
Half Jewish, half Scottish, he told US Weekly that his parents' divorce when he was 11 "must have broken my heart, and that's something that is a great sorrow and a great gift. The gift being, I think, it turned me into an artist, or whatever it is I am."
Duchovny received a graduate degree in English Literature from Yale University and was ready for a career as a teacher when the acting bug bit. In 1987 he abandoned his doctoral studies for Hollywood, landing the X-File role in 1993.
By 1999, he was paid $110,000 per episode and drew an additional $4.5 million for starring in the first X-Files motion picture.
"A good script makes everything fresh right away, even though you're playing the same character," Duchovny said. "That's when you want to satisfy that script. You want it to be a really good show, and you're inspired, you're ready to make a great show."
In 2007, Duchovny returned to television for Showtime's Californication, an adult comedy-drama about dysfunctional writer Hank Moody, a character Duchovy described as "one of these guys who tell the truth always, to his own detriment."
Known for a dry sense of humor, the actor downplays his intelligence, "If you're smart, you'll always be humble," he says. "You can learn all you want, but there'll always be somebody who's never read a book who'll know twice what you know."
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