Peggy Lipton, an actress known for her roles on the ABC crime series “The Mod Squad” and the cult TV series “Twin Peaks,” died May 11. She was 72.
The cause was cancer, according to a statement from Kidada and Rashida Jones, her daughters from a marriage to music producer Quincy Jones. They did not say where Ms. Lipton died.
The waifish, blond Ms. Lipton began her modeling career at age 15. She made her television debut on the sitcom “The John Forsythe Show” and later appeared on series including “Bewitched,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “The Virginian.”
She had just turned 21 when she rocketed to fame in 1968 as the street-smart flower child Julie Barnes, one of a trio of Los Angeles undercover “hippie cops” on the counterculture police series “The Mod Squad.”
One of pop culture’s first efforts to reckon seriously with the counterculture — and one of the first TV shows to feature an interracial cast — the series, which co-starred Michael Cole and Clarence Williams III, dealt with issues such as domestic violence, abortion, police brutality, the Vietnam War and drugs. Over five seasons, the series earned Ms. Lipton four Emmy nominations and a 1971 Golden Globe Award for best actress in a TV drama.
Her role and later marriage to Jones, who is black, put Ms. Lipton at the center of the passions of a restive America dealing with racism and a post-World War II generation who were breaking free from their parents. The “Mod Squad’s” edgy music and hip slang marked a significant shift from “Gunsmoke” and “Leave It To Beaver.” But while the show turned the mini-skirt-and-bellbottoms-clad Ms. Lipton into a fashion icon, she found the spotlight uncomfortable.
“I never saw myself as trendsetting,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. “We were always working. 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.”
In 1974, she married Jones and, with the exception of a 1979 “Mod Squad” reunion TV movie, stepped away from her career to focus on raising a family. In her 2005 memoir, “Breathing Out,” Ms. Lipton wrote of her struggles with fame and the racism she and Jones faced as an interracial couple.
The pair’s daughters would both become actors, with Rashida gaining fame on the comedy series “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.”
After Ms. Lipton and Jones divorced in 1989, Ms. Lipton decided to return to acting, landing the role of Norma Jennings, the owner of the Double R Diner, on “Twin Peaks,” created by Mark Frost and David Lynch.
“It was very scary,” she told the 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.”
Peggy Ann Lipton — her mother later changed her first name to Margaret — was born in New York City on Aug. 30, 1946, and raised in Lawrence, N.Y., on the south shore of Long Island. Her mother was an artist, and her father was a corporate lawyer.
In her 2005 memoir, “Breathing Out,” Ms. Lipton said she was sexually abused by an uncle and struggled with a stutter, even as her modeling career was taking off in her teens. She also revealed that she had been diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer in 2004.
Ms. Lipton and Clarence Williams III made cameo appearances in a 1999 big-screen version of “The Mod Squad” that starred Claire Danes, Omar Epps and Giovanni Ribisi. In recent years, Ms. Lipton continued to appear in occasional supporting roles in films such as “When in Rome” and “A Dog’s Purpose” and TV series like “Alias,” “Crash” and 2017’s “Twin Peaks” revival.