Miguel Ferrer: George Clooney pays tribute to TV star cousin famed for Twin Peaks and NCIS: Los Angeles

George Clooney has led tributes to Miguel Ferrer, his actor-cousin known best for his roles in US TV hit dramas Twin Peaks and NCIS: Los Angeles, after his death at the age of 61.

Ferrer, who also appeared in more than 40 movies including RoboCop, Iron Man 3 and Traffic, died of throat cancer at his Los Angeles home on Thursday.

Miguel Ferrer, centre, seen with his cousins George and Nick Clooney. Credit: AP

Clooney issued a statement with a reference to Donald Trump's inauguration.

Today, history will mark giant changes in our world and lost to most will be that on the same day Miguel Ferrer lost his battle to throat cancer. But not lost to his family. Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day ... pale in comparison. We love you Miguel. We always will.

George Clooney

Ferrer was the eldest of five children of Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer and singer-actress Rosemary Clooney - George's aunt.

He toured with his mother and Bing Crosby as a drummer before moving into acting in the early 1980s, earning a series of roles with his trademark gravelly voice.

Ferrer earned praise for his turn as FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield in David Lynch's hit series Twin Peaks before defining career roles as Dr Garret Macy in Crossing Jordan and as assistant director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles.

Miguel Ferrer began his role as Owen Granger in NCIS: Los Angeles in 2012. Credit: AP

A statement from NCIS: Los Angeles producer R. Scott Gemmill described Ferrer as "a man of tremendous talent who had a powerful dramatic presence onscreen, a wicked sense of humour and a huge heart".

The twice-married actor leaves behind his wife Lori and two sons, Lukas and Rafi.