20 Facts about Linda Hunt Who Plays the Elusive Hetty on NCIS
Actress Linda Hunt is known for her brilliant portrayal of Hetty Lange in the renowned American crime series, “NCIS: LA.” She quickly became a fan favorite. When people think of Hollywood stars they picture tall, skinny and modelesque but Linda Hunt is proving that anyone can make a name for themselves in the industry. Especially since she landed the role of Hetty, who she says she successfully portrays because the character seems similar to her in reality. In fact, her impressive success in Hollywood makes it very difficult to believe she actually had a difficult childhood due to her dwarfism. Here are twenty facts about the brilliant actress that you may not know.
Born on April 2, 1945, Hunt is originally from Morristown, New Jersey. Her father, Raymond Davy Hunter, was the vice president of Harper Fuel Oil. Whereas her mother, Elsie Doying Hunter, was a piano teacher at the Westport School of Music. Hunt knew that she wanted to pursue arts from an early age, as she attended The Theatre School in her childhood, and moved on to Interlochen Arts Academy. Afterwards, Linda finished the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Her Early Professional Career
Hunt’s first film debut was in 1980, where she starred in the musical comedy ‘Popeye.’ Two years later, Linda co-starred as Billy Kwan in ‘The Year of Living Dangerously.’ Hunt went on to star in various movies, including the 1989 ‘She-Devil,’ as well as ‘Kindergarten Cop’ in 1990, and ‘If Looks Could Kill’ in 1991. Besides being a famous movie star, Hunt is also well-known for her stage acting. In 1975, Linda made her Broadway debut in the production of ‘Ah, Wilderness.’
Achievements and Awards
In 1982, Hunt won an academy award - Oscar Awards Best Actress for her Supporting Role in ‘The Year of Living Dangerously.’ She also won the ‘Teen Choice Award’ for ‘Choice TV Actress: Action’ for ‘NCIS: Los Angeles in 2009.
Hunt's first film was in 1980. Her debut was a role in Robert Altman's musical comedy "Popeye." Before that, she had made her acting debut in a 1972 production of "Hamlet" as Lucianus. Then in 1975, she made her Broadway debut with the role of Nora in Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!"
Since 1987, Hunt has been in a relationship with psychotherapist Karen Kline. They have been together for over 20 years. During the time of their relationship in 1987, the idea of having same-sex marriage was still a little far fetched. Although the lovers moved into the same apartment and began living together at the time, they were unable to make their union official by tieing the knot.
About seventeen years after Hunt and Kline started their relationship, same-sex marriage was finally legalized in San Fransisco on February 12, 2004. This new development allowed the couple to make things official and they made their solemn vows to each other in a private ceremony in 2008. The couple has since been together with over a decade long marriage to their name. They tied the knot in 2008. They are still together and share a home with their dogs in Hollywood, California.
Original Career Dream
Linda did not aspire to be an actress but instead, she wanted to pursue a career in the industry. She dreamed of becoming a stage director since she felt her height would limit her acting opportunities.
A Role Written Just for Her
However, Arthur Miller had a different idea. In fact, he penned a role with her in mind in his 1978 Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "Fame. "It was Linda's first TV appearance.
Through her role as Hetty, Linda has been known for her authoritative voice. She revealed that it comes down to nature and nurture. "I think it's my fault. I think I did it, maybe (for) a false sense of authority I nurtured very early to make sure that people looked at me, that I got people's attention," said Linda. The actress has a lovely resounding voice which has been used in various documentaries, cartoons and even commercials. Hunt also is the on-air host for the radio program, "City Arts & Lectures."
The radio show interviews renowned writers, actors and artists. And thanks to her voice, the "Blacklist" actress was cast by Walt Disney Feature Animation to play Grandmother Willow in the animated musical film, "Pocahontas" and "Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World." Hunt's voice has however earned her many acts over the years including the narration of National Geographic documentary titled "The Great Indian Railway."
She Won An Oscar
In 1984, her performance in "The Year of Living Dangerously" bagged her a coveted Oscar award. She revealed that her colleagues sometimes "sweetly" tease her Oscar.
Linda is the first person to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex. Her role in "The Year of Living Dangerously" was of male Chinese-Australian photographer Billy Kwan.
When she was younger, she was bullied, called a cretin and a physician even advised her parents to institutionalize her. However, her parents adamantly supported her even when they were worried about her choices.
Parental Support and Advice
When she decided to become an actress, they wondered whether she could make a living. Her father even went on to suggest she teach drama while pursuing her dream.
Where Was She Born
Linda was born and grew up in Morristown, New Jersey.
When she was a teenager, Linda was diagnosed with hypo-pituitary dwarfism, unfortunately, the treatment did not work.
As a result of her dwarfism mentioned earlier, Linda is extremely short in stature. She stands at just 4 feet 9 inches (145 cm).
Hunt has always been at a disadvantage due to her small stature. “Everybody either wanted to take care of me or push me around, you know?” she revealed during an interview with CBS Sunday Morning. “I was teased a lot, sure I was, of course. Fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, everybody was taking their spurts except me. I was not growing up.” As a young child, Hunt was diagnosed with a form of dwarfism, which made it impossible for her to grow taller than her 4 feet 9 inches.
This led to her being bullied in school by her peers on several occasions, but thankfully, she had the support of her family. "I was so lucky my parents were encouraging on every level," she said. Things took a turn for the better when she participated in Peter Pan, which made a record as her first Broadway show. "It was bigger than life," she said, adding that "In some sense, I longed to be bigger than life, because I wasn't." Starring on the show made her consider acting and the rest, as they say, is history.
She Dabbled in Comedy
Hunt tapped into a new fanbase when she experimented with a role in a comedy. She appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Kindergarten Cop." "What's it like being opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger? For me? Are you kidding? Maybe if I'm lucky, come up to his navel!" she joked.
In 2018, Linda missed an episode of NCIS after a car accident. As a result, her character was absent from the show while she was recovering.
Her Pants Attracted Her Spouse
It was actually Hunt's corduroy pants that first caught Karen Klein's eye. The pants eventually led to the pairs long-term relationship. "I was kind of struck [by] Linda's corduroys," said Karen when asked what caught her eye first about Linda.
Her Birth Name
As an actress she is known as Linda Hunt however, her birth name is actually Lydia Susanna Hunter.
She Has Her Own Idea About Why People Like Her
Linda has come to her own conclusion regarding her popularity. In an interview, she expressed her idea of why people like her, saying: “I think people have always liked in me the combination of being the underdog because I'm a tiny woman but I have enormous authority in myself.”
One thing we know for sure now is that Linda's uniqueness is exactly what makes everybody around her love and respect the actress. And with someone who's overcome so many obstacles and still reached the top, its no wonder! If you liked this article, make sure to stay tuned for more updates.
Sources: Married Biography