Linda Hunt, the Academy Award-winning actress renowned for her role as Hetty Lange in NCIS, has captured the hearts of audiences for decades.
With over 50 productions to her credit, Hunt has become one of the most beloved and memorable characters on the show. But there’s so much more to Linda Hunt than meets the eye – she’s not only a talented actress but also a devoted wife.
At 76 years old, Linda has been happily married to her partner, Karen Kline, for over a decade. Their love story is truly extraordinary, spanning more than 30 years together. It’s a testament to their unwavering commitment and dedication to each other.
The Early Years
Linda’s journey began on April 2, 1945, in Morristown, New Jersey, where she was raised by her parents, Elsie and Raymond Hunt. However, when she was just six months old, her parents noticed a delay in her motor skills development, which led them to seek medical help in New York.
The news they received wasn’t what they had hoped for. Linda was diagnosed with a form of cretinism, which severely stunted her physical and mental growth. The doctors even predicted that she might need to be institutionalized in the future. But Linda’s parents refused to let hope fade away. They stood by her side, using books and theater as tools to encourage and support her development.
Despite facing learning difficulties and struggles due to her short stature, Linda pushed through with determination. She experienced alienation and teasing from her peers but used those experiences to motivate herself. Her unique perspective on life fueled her passion for acting.
When Linda was eight years old, she watched a Broadway musical called Peter Pan with her parents. It was a transformative experience for her. The performance of Mary Martin, who played Peter, left a deep impression on Linda. She was captivated by Martin’s ability to make others believe in the world she created onstage.
From that moment on, Linda knew that acting and theater were her true calling. Her parents, who always believed in her, did everything they could to ensure she had the opportunity to pursue her dreams. Linda received private acting coaching in high school and attended an excellent boarding school, fostering her talent and dedication.
However, Linda’s parents also wanted her to have a backup plan. They encouraged her to study directing and even suggested pursuing a teaching degree. But Linda’s determination to succeed as an actress never wavered.
The Rise to Stardom
After finishing high school, Linda was diagnosed with hypopituitary dwarfism, a condition that resulted in her standing at just 4 feet 9 inches tall. But she refused to let her diagnosis define her or hinder her dreams. She studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Theatre School of DePaul University in Chicago, where her passion for the theater continued to grow.
When Linda moved to New York City, she initially felt lost and overwhelmed. But with the encouragement of her acting coach and the support of her friends, she found her way. Linda started working backstage at off-Broadway theaters while undergoing treatments for her dwarfism. Eventually, she regained her sense of purpose and started auditioning for roles.
In 1975, Linda made her Broadway debut in Ah, Wilderness, which led to her first onscreen appearance in the film Fame in 1978. Just four years later, she made history by winning an Academy Award for her portrayal of Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously. Linda became the first person to win an Academy Award for playing a cisgender character of the opposite sex.
Since then, Linda’s career has blossomed. For the past ten years, she has been a shining star on NCIS, portraying the unforgettable Operations Manager Henrietta “Hetty” Lange. Her dedication to the show and her fans is undeniable.
A Remarkable Love Story
After missing a season due to COVID-19 concerns, fans wondered if Linda would return. Fortunately, she is back and ready to continue the role she loves. Her dedication and enthusiasm for the job are evident, signaling a promising future for her character.
Beyond her career, Linda’s personal life is just as fascinating. Linda and Karen Kline have been married since 2008, but their connection began long before that. The couple first crossed paths in 1978, and Karen was immediately struck by Linda’s sense of fashion and charm. Their initial connection blossomed into a lifelong romance.
Linda and Karen prefer to keep their private lives out of the public eye, much like Linda’s character Hetty on NCIS. They have chosen to focus on their relationship and share their love with their three adopted dogs. Their bond is truly special.
It’s no wonder Linda Hunt is a role model to many. She has overcome challenges, never giving up on her dreams. Her career and life are a testament to her resilience and determination. Linda’s love story with Karen is a beautiful example of a lifelong commitment that withstands the test of time.
As we celebrate Linda Hunt’s extraordinary journey, let’s give her the recognition she truly deserves. Share this article with your friends and family and spread the word about this remarkable actress and her incredible love story!