Linda Hunt

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Linda Hunt
BornLydia Susanna Hunter
(1945-04-02) April 2, 1945 (age 69)
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Karen Klein (m. 2008)[1]
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Linda Hunt
BornLydia Susanna Hunter
(1945-04-02) April 2, 1945 (age 69)
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Karen Klein (m. 2008)[1]

Lydia Susanna Hunter (born April 2, 1945), better known by her stage name Linda Hunt, is an American film, stage and television actress currently known for her role as Henrietta Lange in the CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles. After making her film debut playing Mrs. Oxheart in Popeye (1980), Hunt portrayed the male character Billy Kwan, her breakthrough performance, in The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).[2] Her role as Billy Kwan earned her an Academy Award, an Australian Film Institute Award, a Golden Globe nomination and various other awards.[3]

She has had great success in films such as The Bostonians (1984), Dune (1984), Silverado (1985), Eleni (1985), Waiting for the Moon (1987), She-Devil (1989), Kindergarten Cop (1990), If Looks Could Kill (1991), Rain Without Thunder (1992), Twenty Bucks (1993), Younger and Younger (1993), Prêt-à-Porter (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Relic (1997), Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998), Dragonfly (2002), Yours Mine and Ours (2005) and Stranger Than Fiction (2006).[2]

Hunt has also had a successful television career. She played Rose in the television movie Basements (1987) and narrated in the television movie The New Chimpanzees. She guest starred on Hallmark Hall of Fame in both 1978 and 1987, Space Rangers in 1993, Carnivale in both 2003 and 2005, Without a Trace in 2008, The Unit in 2008 and Nip Tuck in 2009. From 1997-2002 Hunt played the recurring role of Judge Zoey Hiller on The Practice.[2] She currently plays Henrietta 'Hetty' Lange on the CBS television series NCIS Los Angeles, a role she has played since its debut in 2009.[2] The role earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination in 2011.[3] She is also the narrator in the God of War video game franchise.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hunt was born in Morristown, New Jersey,[4] and raised in Westport, Connecticut. She is one of the two daughters of Raymond Davy Hunter, vice president of Harper Fuel Oil on Long Island, and Elsie Doying Hunter, a piano teacher who taught at the Westport School of Music and accompanied the Saugatuck Congregational Church choir.[5] Hunt attended the Interlochen Arts Academy[6] and the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago (now part of DePaul University).[7][8]



Hunt's film debut in 1980 was in Robert Altman's musical comedy Popeye. Two years later, she co-starred as Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir's film adaptation of the novel of the same name. For her role as the male Chinese-Australian photographer Billy Kwan, Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1983, becoming the first person to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex.[9] In addition, the character was Asian and had the condition of dwarfism.[10] In her screen test, Hunt wore a hairpiece, a fake moustache, and "paste-on pieces above her eyes to [appear] Oriental". To accomplish the role during production, Hunt shortened "her hair and dye[d] it black[,] wore padding around her waist, shaved her eyebrows, and carried something in her shirt pocket."[11] In her 1986 interview with the Bomb magazine, Hunt remarked that Billy Kwan "is supra-personal [with] layers of sexual ambiguity[.]"[12]

She also played the school principal in Kindergarten Cop in 1990.


Also a well known stage actress, Hunt has received two Obie awards and a Tony Award nomination for her theatre work.[citation needed] She created the role of Aunt Dan in Wallace Shawn's play Aunt Dan and Lemon. She portrayed Sister Aloysius in the Pasadena Playhouse production of John Patrick Shanley's Tony Award-winning play Doubt. She was praised for her performance as the title character in Bertoldt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children.[13] Hunt also appeared as Pope Joan in Caryl Churchill's "Top Girls" when London's Royal Court Theatre's production was staged at the Public Theater in New York. In an interview with writer Craig Gholson and actor Vincent Caristi, Hunt discusses her experience acting in theatre, “Acting onstage is like an explosion each night. And what comes in at you all the time as you are trying to . . . create something which is a tremendous act of organization and concentration.”.[14]


Her television appearances include recurring roles as Judge Zoey Hiller on David E. Kelley's series The Practice and as Dr. Claire Bryson on Without a Trace. She has narrated several installments of The American Experience on PBS. She now plays the role of an operations manager and supervisor on the CBS fall show NCIS: Los Angeles with Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen and Barrett Foa.

Voice work[edit]

Hunt is distinguished by her small stature—she is 4 feet 9 inches (1.45 m) tall—and by her rich, resonant voice, which she has used in numerous documentaries, cartoons, and commercials. She is the on-air host for City Arts & Lectures, a radio program recorded by KQED public radio at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, CA. Hunt interviews celebrated writers, artists and thinkers addressing contemporary ideas and values, often discussing the creative process. Hunt was chosen by Walt Disney Feature Animation to lend her enigmatic speaking and singing voice to Grandmother Willow in the animated musical film Pocahontas and its direct-to-video sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World.

Her voice work includes also the character of "Management" in Carnivàle, and the titan Gaia, who serves as the Narrator in the God of War series of video games. She narrated the introductory film at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and has also been heard in various commercials of the late 1990s for Tylenol.[citation needed]

Hunt narrated the PBS Nature special entitled "Christmas in Yellowstone."[15] She also narrated the acclaimed National Geographic documentary The Great Indian Railway.

Personal life[edit]

In high school she was diagnosed as having hypopituitary dwarfism.[16] She does not suffer from Turner's Syndrome as some blogs have stated.

Hunt is openly lesbian, and since 1987 has lived in Los Angeles with her partner Karen Klein, whom she married in 2008.[1][17][18][19] Hunt is an ambassador for the Best Friends Animal Society.[20]

There is no connection between Hunt and two other famous women who share her SAG-registered last name, Oscar winner Helen Hunt and actress-director Bonnie Hunt. Bonnie has joked that people come up to her asking for autographs, mistaking her for Helen, and she then confuses them even more by signing as Linda.[21]


1980PopeyeMrs. Oxheart
1982The Year of Living DangerouslyBilly KwanAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (tie with Mia Farrow for Zelig)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Australian Film Institute Jury Prize (shared with Peter Weir)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
1984DuneShadout Mapes
The BostoniansDr. Prance
1987Waiting for the MoonAlice B. Toklas
1990Kindergarten CopMiss Schlowski
1991If Looks Could KillIlsa Grunt
1992Rain Without ThunderAtwood Society Director
1993Younger and YoungerFrances
Twenty BucksAngeline
1994Prêt-à-PorterRegina KrummNational Board of Review Award for Best Acting Ensemble
1995PocahontasGrandmother Willowvoice
1997The RelicDr. Ann Cuthbert
Eat Your Heart OutKathryn
1998Pocahontas II: Journey to a New WorldGrandmother Willowvoice
2002DragonflySister Madeline
2005Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'Narratorvoice
Yours, Mine and OursMrs. Munion
The Great Transatlantic CableNarrator
2006Stranger Than FictionDr. Mittag-Leffler
2007The Singing RevolutionNarrator

Video games[edit]

Television credits[edit]

1987The Room UpstairsMrs. SandersTV movie
1993Space RangersCommander Chenault
1997–2002The PracticeJudge Zoey Hiller24 episodes
1998-2006The American ExperienceNarrator
2003–2005CarnivàleManagement—voice9 episodes
2006NatureNarrator"Christmas in Yellowstone"
2007The UnitDepartment of Defense Psychiatrist: Dr. Eudora Hobbs2 episodes
2008Without a TraceDr. Claire Bryson: FBI Psychiatrist3 episodes
2009–PresentNCIS: Los AngelesHenrietta "Hetty" LangeSeries regular
2014ScorpionHenrietta "Hetty" Lange: Collaborating with the Scorpion Team1 episode "True Colors"


1975Ah, Wilderness!NorahBroadway
1983Little VictoriesN/AOff-Broadway
1983Top GirlsPope Joan / LouiseOff-Broadway
1984End of the WorldAudrey WoodBroadway
1985Aunt Dan and LemonAunt DanOff-Broadway


  1. ^ a b "Linda Hunt". Fatctoidz. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Linda Hunt". IMDb. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Linda Hunt – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Linda Hunt". Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Linda Hunt Biography". Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Hanson, Byron. "From the Archives with Byron Hanson: February 2010". Interlochen Center for the Arts. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ Lacob, Jace (September 26, 2011). "The Cult of Linda Hunt". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Theatre School: History". DePaul University. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Oscar trivia". Daily Mail. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ Chung, Philip W (November 28, 2008). "The 25 Most Infamous Yellow Face Film Performances". AsianWeek. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ Unger, Bertil (January 15, 1986). "Size Is Small Problem for Hunt". New Straits Times. 
  12. ^ Hunt, Linda (Summer 1986). Bomb. Interview with Vincent Caristi and Craig Gholson |url= missing title (help). 
  13. ^ Rich, Frank (January 29, 1984). "Theater: Mother Courage in Boston". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ Caristi, Vincent and Gholson, Craig. "Linda Hunt", BOMB Magazine Summer, 1986. Retrieved on 2012-11-28
  15. ^ Internet Movie Database. ""Nature" Christmas in Yellowstone (2006)". Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  16. ^ Buchalter,Gail."There are Always Answers" Parade Magazine, 1991,6938803
  17. ^ Ocamb, Karen (August 10, 2008). "WeHo Marriages Go On". The BILERICO Project. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Linda Hunt – Biography". IMDb. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  19. ^ Keveney, Bill (15 November 2010). "Linda Hunt: A 4-foot-9 force of nature on 'NCIS: LA'". USA Today. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Acclaimed Ambassadors – Linda Hunt". Best Friends Animal Society. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (8 December 1996). "In the Hunt - Bonnie makes own name with gentle sense of humor". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 

External links[edit]