Linda Hunt has a long history in the entertainment industry. The Academy Award-winning actress has acted as Hetty Lange in the now-classic television series NCIS since 2009. She has also appeared in more than 50 other productions.
In all, 280 episodes of NCIS have featured Hunt, who has grown to be regarded as one of the show’s best characters. Hunt is reportedly a fantastic wife in addition to being a terrific actor, according to all accounts.
The 76-year-old has been with her spouse, Karen Kline, for more than ten years; together, they have been together for more than 30 years. The reality is that their love story is quite remarkable.
Linda Hunt was born in Morristown, New Jersey, on April 2, 1945. Her parents, Elsie and Raymond Hunt, raised her in Connecticut. However, Linda’s parents started to worry when she was only six months old.
Linda’s parents took her to a hospital in New York to get help because her motor skills weren’t improving at the expected rate.
The news Linda’s parents expected wasn’t exactly what the doctors discovered. As The Bulletin reported in 1991, tests indicated Linda had a kind of cretinism, which results in severely postponed physical and mental development. Linda would eventually need to be institutionalised due to this illness.
But Elsie and Raymond weren’t going to let hope disappear. They were adamant about helping their dear Linda and used theatre and reading to boost her spirits and aid in her development.
Linda’s motor skills were practically on par with those of a typical young kid when she entered school. She sadly had difficulties as a result of her small size and learning problems.
“I was totally alienated by school almost from the first day, I had a bad experience with a teacher and was made to feel stupid. I felt bad that I didn’t fit in,” Hunt said.
“Everybody either wanted to take care of me or push me around, you know? I was teased a lot, sure I was, of course,” she told CBS.
“Fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, everybody was taking their spurts except me.”
Hunt was subjected to rigorous treatment, as anyone would have been. However, she chose to utilise it as a type of motivational tool because she was aware of her individuality.
“I was a very determined kid. This happens to kids who are different in any way,” Linda told the Daily Beast.
Though Linda had a rough time at school, her parents were determined to see their beloved daughter succeed in life. Then, at the age of 8, she saw something that changed everything.
In an interview with The Bulletin, Linda outlined her lifelong passion for acting and theatre. When she was eight years old, her parents took her to see Peter Pan on Broadway, which served as her greatest source of inspiration.
“I’m lucky that I’ve always known what I wanted to do,” she mentioned. “[Mary Martin, who played Peter] was astonishing in her belief in the world she was creating, and that was fascinating to me. She had the power to make others believe what was in her mind.”
“It was bigger than life. And that in some sense, I longed to be bigger than life because I wasn’t,” she explained to CBS.
Linda Hunt’s height – dwarfism
At that point, Linda decided that she would devote her life to acting and theater. She explained that she wanted to become a “high priestess of theater”. In high school, she got a private acting coach, and was sent to an excellent boarding school.
Linda’s parents would do whatever they had to in order to see their daughter achieve her dreams.
“I was so lucky my parents were encouraging on every level,” she said.
Linda’s parents wanted her to pursue a career as an actress, but they were also concerned that she didn’t have a fallback option. Because of this, her father Raymond urged her to pursue directing as well. He even made an effort to persuade her to pursue a teaching degree in case nothing else worked out.
Fortunately, they did. Linda Hunt was diagnosed with hypopituitary dwarfism when she graduated from high school. The disease prevents the body from releasing growth hormones at their normal rate. As a result, Linda is considerably shorter than the usual woman (4 feet 9 inches tall).
Naturally, Linda wasn’t about to let any diagnosis stop her, just like she hadn’t when she was younger.
It was time for Hunt to aim high after attending the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Theatre School of DePaul University in Chicago. Her desire to work in theatre only strengthened after she relocated to New York City.
Moved to New York
That said, once in the “Big Apple” she didn’t know what to do or where to begin.
“I moved into a shoebox-sized apartment in the city when I was in my early 20s with my father’s help,” Hunt recalled.
“I was very young and very lost, I didn’t even attempt to act professionally. That would of meant getting an agent and going to auditions. I wasn’t capable of doing any of that. It was truly emotionally beyond me.”
Instead, Linda found some minor jobs working backstage at off-Broadway theatres, and her social network supported her in staying positive. She had a variety of dwarfism treatments concurrently. She began to doubt her ability to flourish in the industry when they were unsuccessful. She ultimately relocated back to her parents’ house to second-guess her choice.
She had a private acting coach in the past, as was already reported, while she was in school. In the end, returning to her parents’ home was the best decision she could have made.
“My acting coach reminded me again about the importance of acting in my life,” Linda explained.
“And the knowledge that this was my gift. I had lost myself for a while, and that awareness gave me back to myself. Soon, I was sending out resumes and reading for parts.”‘
Linda made her Broadway debut in 1975 as the lead in Ah, Wilderness. She eventually got her first job on television as a result of that. She starred in the movie Fame in 1978; four years later, Hunt achieved fame.
Linda Hunt – Academy Award
Alongside Mel Gibson, Linda played Billy Kwan in the movie The Year of Living Dangerously. Hunt was honoured with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress after the movie was a smash hit. She was the first individual to ever receive an Oscar for portraying a cis-gender figure who was the opposite sex.
Since that time, Linda’s career has advanced remarkably. She has appeared in an astounding 280 episodes as Operations Manager Henrietta “Hetty” Lange over the course of the past ten years, making her a true celebrity on NCIS.
After Linda missed season 12 due to COVID-19 issues, things have been rather calm around her. She may or may not return to the series, but the latest information about her future is very encouraging.
“Linda had both her vaccines, she was feeling great, and she came back. And she was so happy to be back. She had been gone for so long and hadn’t really interacted with anyone, so she was just so thrilled to be back on set,” NCIS showrunner R. Scott Gemmill explained.
“The minute I saw her, she’s like, ‘Let’s talk about next season,’ so I think that as tough as last year was, for a lot of reasons, she, like the rest of us, is starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel and feels good about coming back to work,” he added.
Linda Hunt marriage – partner Karen Kline
In the late 1970s, Linda Hunt’s career really took off. She also met the love of her life at that time, and they are still together today. Although Hunt and her wife Karen Kline were wed in 2008, the two had been dating for a very long time before to that. Their love story is simply lovely.
In 1978, Karen and Linda had their very first encounter. Speaking to CBS News, Karen said that rather than Linda’s height, what truly stood out to her when she first met her was her sense of style. Fortunately, Karen is able to attest to the reality that height is largely irrelevant.
“I was kind of struck [by] Linda’s corduroys,” she said.
Their initial connection to each other has turned into a lifelong romance.
“Karen’s six years younger, but I forgive her daily,” Hunt said. “I do; I forgive you for being younger.”
Linda and Karen aren’t particularly outgoing, much like Linda’s NCIS character Hetty’s fans don’t know much about her personal life. The couple makes a concerted effort to keep their relationship covert and avoids being photographed together.
In a CBS documentary, however, Linda proudly showed her life from a more personal side and the viewers finally got to know her wife.
What is known today is that the couple lives in a stunning Hollywood home that was constructed back in 1919 and doesn’t have any biological children; instead, they have three adopted pets. The couple invited the world into their home for a feature article in the Los Angeles Times.
“This house has whimsy and a special kind of elegance,” the Oscar-winning. Linda Hunt has a fortune of around $12 million!
Linda Hunt is a true role model for many. Despite the rough treatment she got from her classmates as a young girl and having to move back to her parents when things didn’t work out, Linda never gave up and kept her dream alive.
Today it seems like she’s living her best life alongside her beloved partner Karen – we wish only the best for them in the future!
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