Peggy Lipton, star of the groundbreaking late 1960s show The Mod Squad and the 1990s show Twin Peaks, has died of cancer at age 72. (Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Peggy Lipton, Star Of ‘The Mod Squad’ And ‘Twin Peaks’, Dies At 72

Posted on:

< < Back to

Peggy Lipton, the actress and singer best known for her roles in The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks, has died at the age of 72.

Her death was announced on Saturday by her daughters Kidada and Rashida Jones. Lipton was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004.

“She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side,” Her daughters said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.”

Born Margaret Ann Lipton in New York City on Aug. 30, 1946, she began modeling at 15 and started acting at 19, making appearances on The John Forsythe Show, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Bewitched.

Lipton became famous for playing Julie Barnes, one of three undercover cops in the show, The Mod Squad, which she starred in from 1968 to 1973.

The groundbreaking show depicted the growing counterculture movement of the time and was one of first to feature an interracial cast, according to the Los Angeles Times. It delved into topics like domestic violence, abortion, the Vietnam War and drugs.

The role earned her four Emmy and Golden Globe nominations respectively, winning the Golden Globe award in 1971 for best actress in a TV drama.

The Mod Squad made Lipton an “it girl” and fashion icon, but she told the LA Times in 1993 that she wasn’t a fan of the attention.

“Fame really drove me into my house. I was very paranoid. I didn’t like going out. I had no idea how to be comfortable with the press. I was very young. It was really hard for me,” Lipton said.

At the height of her fame, Lipton began her singing career. She released a self-titled album and went on to enjoy chart success for her covers of “Stoney End” by Laura Nyro and “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” by Donovan.

In 1974, Lipton married Quincy Jones, the renowned musician and producer, and aside from starring the 1979 TV movie The Return of Mod Squad, she took a break from acting to raise their two daughters.

In her 2005 memoir, Breathing Out, Lipton describes facing racist backlash for their interracial marriage, including from her own mother. Lipton and Jones later divorced, though remained close.

Lipton returned to acting in 1990 to play Norma Jennings, the diner owner on the TV show Twin Peaks.

“It was very scary,” Lipton told the LA Times in 1993. “I had a push-pull thing inside me that I wanted to do it … I had become so insulated in my world as a mother, that I didn’t know how to pick up the phone and call anybody to put myself out there.”

The original Twin Peaks only aired for two seasons, but has since gained a cult following. Lipton recently reprised her role in a 2017 revival of the series.

Also in 2017, Lipton made an appearance in an episode of the show Angie Tribeca, as Peggy Tribeca, the mother of the main character played by her real life daughter, actress Rashida Jones.

“We can’t put all of our feelings into words right now but we will say: Peggy was, and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond.” Her daughters said in a statement. “She will always be a part of us.”

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit