The may be most famous for the eye patch and the noiseless curtain runners, but Wendy Robie was a stage actress with a strong Shakespearean bent before David Lynch cast her as the nutso Nadine in Twin Peaks. ''I was in Seattle doing repertory theater, and David was having auditions for this pilot,'' says Robie, who grew up on a ranch in northern California where Arabian horses were raised, about her break in 1989. ''I just thought it was a day's work.''
We should all have days like that: Nadine became one of the oddest of the odd in the outlandish, much talked-about TV series. Ultimately, Peaks peaked and was canceled, but Robie who suspended her dream of acting for 10 years to teach college English and raise her daughter, Samantha, now 24 has gone on. She makes her movie debut as a mad mother/sister/wife concoction in Wes Craven's campily horrific The People Under the Stairs (Everett McGill, who was Nadine's husband, Ed, in Twin Peaks, plays opposite her). ''David and Wes have some similarities,'' Robie says of her directors. ''They're kind people with wonderful imaginations who work out their views of the darkness in the world through their art.''
And Nadine will make at least one more appearance, for Robie just reprised her in the Lynch-directed feature spin-off, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, due in theaters this March. Are wild eccentrics her preferred alter egos? ''No!'' laughs Robie, who lives with actor Michael Santo in a Los Angeles suburb. ''But I'm an actress. When someone offers me a part, I say, 'Yes, please.'''