Although David Duchovny is primarily known for his work on The X-Files, he has spent the better part of three decades finding pop culture success in one form after the other. He's conquered television multiple times, he’s helmed feature films, he's written books, he's recorded albums, and he's even toured across the world as a musician. Approaching his 60s now, the award-winning actor remains one of the coolest, hippest, and perhaps smartest celebrities out there.
Indeed, Duchovny’s wry, understated personality helped catapult his portrayal of Agent Fox Mulder into TV stardom, winning him legions of fans around the globe. Following that, Duchovny garnered much attention with his portrayal of dissolute writer Hank Moody in Showtime's Californication, a long-running series that earned him a Golden Globe award. With his dark handsome looks and puppy dog eyes, he's been chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. A success across all mediums, his first novel, Holy Cow, was published in 2015 by a highly esteemed publisher.
Thinking that he would become a writer, Duchovny enrolled in Princeton University in 1978. As athletic as he was intelligent, he arrived on a basketball scholarship, only to play a single season before switching sports, where he played on the Princeton baseball team. Known by his classmates as "Scruff," a bright, down-to-earth, sports-playing English major who didn't seem to take himself or anyone else too seriously, Duchovny didn't show the slightest interest in acting then. He took no part in theatrical activities at Princeton, instead focusing his time and attention on sports and academics.
Duchovny, who had always loved writing and storytelling, tinkered with poetry and prose, unsure of where his talents were best suited. In 1982 he completed his senior thesis on Samuel Beckett's novels, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. That same year, his poetry received an honorable mention for a college prize from the Academy of American Poets.
In 2006, the accomplished actor made his first public appearance on Princeton's campus, where he discussed the impact that his alma mater had on his life. In a lecture at the James Stewart Theater, Duchovny quelled any fears held by students who still weren’t sure which direction they wanted their lives to take. Reminding them that he had never desired to be a TV or movie star when he came to Princeton, he humorously recounted the time he'd listened to a roommate express their desire to act. "What an idiot!" Duchovny thought to himself then. "You came here to act. Who would come to Princeton to act?"
And yet, it was that strong Princeton pedigree that set the future actor, director, and producer up for much of his later professional success. Just as important, Princeton allowed Duchovny the congenial environment to explore his literary proclivities, which have already blossomed into four full-length novels by the best-selling author, in one of those rare cases of life imitating art.