Linda Hunt From 'NCIS' Is 76 — Look At Her Beauty Today

Jan 11, 2022 by apost team

Linda Hunt is an established actress both on stage and on the big and small screens. She has appeared in a variety of productions, films, and television shows, sharing the spotlight with her brilliant co-stars and sharing her talent with the world. Her filmography is impressive and shows off her stunning range as a performer, lending her voice to animated films and shows as well as showing just how far she can push herself in most serious roles, too.

Born on April 2, 1945, in Morristown, New Jersey, Hunt was raised in Westport, Connecticut. She is one of two children to her parents and grew up enjoying the arts and participating in them. Taking a leap of faith, Hunt went forward with pursuing her passion for acting, and it’s safe to say that all of her hard work and dedication have truly paid off.

While Hunt has appeared in many productions throughout her lifetime, one of her most notable and recognizable roles was as Hetty Lange on the television show “NCIS: Los Angeles.” She appeared on the show for 12 seasons and even made a guest appearance later on. Fans grew to not only love the character but also love Hunt as an actress.

She has gone on to be nominated and win several awards throughout the course of her career, earning her recognition amongst critics and fans alike. Hunt has also shared some insights into both her personal and professional life, including her actual height and what her family is really like. Read on to find out more about this accomplished actress’ life story.

Early Beginnings

Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, Linda Hunt, Brian Dennehy (circa 1985), (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Growing up in Connecticut, Hunt was a big fan of the arts. Her father, Raymond, was the vice president of Harper Fuel Oil, while her mother, Elsie, was a piano teacher. They were very encouraging of their daughter’s ambitions. Hunt was persistent with her passion for the arts but still remained practical about the potential to make a real career for herself as an aspiring actress.

Hunt became completely mesmerized by the idea of becoming an actress after seeing a stage performance of “Peter Pan” during her childhood, according to Britannica. She was so determined to make her dreams come true that she began pursuing her passion by implementing it into her studies and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan as well as the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. 

She focused heavily on directing since it seemed like her physical frame was limiting her opportunities as an actress. According to Britannica, Hunt had hypopituitary dwarfism and was not conventionally beautiful, and her appearance was something that sadly held her back. Hunt has a short height, standing at 4 feet 9 inches tall.

This was something that Hunt was sadly bullied for now and then during her school years. Hunt found herself being either at the hands of infantilization or teasing from her peers due to her small demeanor. “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 said, according to IMDB. “Fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, everybody was taking their spurts except me. I was not growing up.” 

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Overcoming Her Height

Linda Hunt (1984), (Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Her height, unfortunately, was something that Hunt could not hide from, and it seemed to be a big focal point to others, both during her school years and her professional life. Hunt explained, “When I was growing up, particularly during puberty in my teen years, I was so miserable because I elicited so much teasing and meanness from my teenage cohorts.”

However, the actress realized that she needed to stay true to her passions, as she really wanted to go for it and fully embark into the world of acting, no matter what stood in her way. “For a while, I thought, maybe I should direct, until I got to New York and saw the stupidity of that idea,” she said. “If it’s hard to get into acting, what is it like for a woman to become a director?”

Hunt, fortunately, made her dreams a reality and quickly began appearing in stage productions and Broadway shows during the 1970s. In fact, this could even be considered Hunt’s breakthrough before her major breakthrough to mainstream television and film production, as she was a very well-known and well-received stage actress. Hunt made her Broadway debut in 1975 in a production of “Ah, Wilderness” and continued to make her name known in the world of theater throughout the remainder of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

In 1984, Hunt was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her work in the play “End of the World.” She also received two Obie Awards for her work in “Top Girls” and “A Metamorphosis in Miniature,” both of which were off-Broadway productions.

Starring On The Stage

Linda Hunt (1999), (Paul Harris/Online USA, Inc/Getty Images)

Moving forward, Hunt continued to make a mark on Broadway and other theater productions. She even created the role of Aunt Dan in “Aunt Dan and Lemon” by Wallace Shawn and also was cast to play one of the leading roles as Aunt Dan. The show’s original cast also included Shawn, Kathryn Pogson, and Linda Bassett.

Sticking to her roots, she was also a member of the Long Wharf Theatre Company in Connecticut, where she starred in many productions. Hunt easily received plenty of praise the more she worked on stage, showing off just how incredible her range as an actress was and still is to this day.

Finally, the actress was ready to break through to the big screen and made an everlasting impression on fans and critics alike by portraying a male character. In 1982, Hunt took on the role of Billy Kwan, a photographer in Jakarta, in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” which is a role that to this day is still recognized as one of the most pivotal in the actress’ career. 

According to the GuardianPeter Weir’s “The Year of Living Dangerously” was adapted by Weir himself from Christopher Koch’s bestselling novel. It was the first Australian film to be financed by an American studio – in this case, MGM. Hunt played opposite Mel Gibson for a great deal of the film and proved to be an outstanding actress who can captivate audiences no matter what role she plays or acts alongside. In January 2015, the Guardian described Hunt’s casting as “bold yet strangely sensible,” and critics commended her stellar performance.

Her Breakthrough

Linda Hunt (1987), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

The role earned her plenty of praise and recognition as it was so complex and dramatic, especially for someone so relatively new to the world of film and television acting. The role even earned her her first Academy Award, making her the first person to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex, according to Britannica.

According to IMDB, Hunt said:

“I can’t be a man. But I can embrace the head of a man, the intelligence of a man, the spirit of a man.”

While the role is known as being one of Hunt’s best, it did receive some criticism. In 2018, Teen Vogue reflected on the role of Billy Kwan and how Hunt, a white woman, portrayed a Chinese-American man. Looking back, some people were upset that Hollywood chose to cast a white woman rather than an Asian actor to show the importance of inclusion. Instead, some people felt like the production was relying on stereotypes to bring the role of Billy Kwan to life.

Hunt’s value as an actress can be seen in a wide array of films and television shows, as her range truly seems to be unlimited. She has also gone on to appear in “Kindergarten Cop in 1990,” “Pocahontas in 1995,” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018.” These three films, in particular, did quite well at the box office. According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Kindergarten Cop” made $88.6 million at the box office, and “Pocahontas” made $141.6 million at the box office. As part of a huge franchise, it’s no surprise that “Solo: A Star Wars Story” did exceptionally well, bringing in a whopping $213.8 million.

A Long-Standing Series

Linda Hunt (1984), (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)

One of Hunt’s most recognized and loved roles has been her portrayal of Hetty Lange in “NCIS: Los Angeles.” “NCIS” itself is a huge television series and has a handful of successful spin-offs, including “NCIS: Los Angeles.” While each series is slightly different, the plot is pretty similar in the sense that the show revolves around a fictional team of special agents who embark on missions and handle tough cases and other situations. 

It’s a good mix of typical drama, action, and crime shows, similar to that of “Criminal Minds.” This TV show is clearly not going away anytime soon as it has created a huge fan following, and it is still being renewed for new seasons and spin-offs, with the latest spin-off being “NCIS: Hawaii.”

Hunt appeared on “NCIS: Los Angeles” for the first 12 seasons as a main character and was a special guest star during the 13th season. Hetty is the Supervisory Special Agent and Operations Manager of the Office of Special Projects who embarks on dangerous missions and cares deeply for others.

Fans were sad to see that Hunt’s character wasn’t included as much in the most recent season of the CBS drama. According to Express, Hetty had a video call with another character at the beginning of the show’s 12th season, explaining that she needed a replacement for the time being. This gave fans an insight into the fact that Hunt would not be on the show as much, and it was clear by her less than frequent appearances during the following season.

Time Away From Television

Linda Hunt (2011), (Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images)

Due to Hunt’s age, it would be more than reasonable for her to retire in the near future, but it’s unclear if those are her intentions. However, Express reported that she was thrilled when she was given the opportunity to return to “NCIS: Los Angeles.” 

Showrunner R. Scott Gemmill said:

“Linda (Hunt) 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. The minute I saw her, she’s like, ‘Let’s talk about next season…’”

Hunt had previously spent some time away from her “NCIS: Los Angeles” cast back in 2018, after being involved in a car accident in July of that year. According to E! News, Hunt was involved in a car accident near Orange Grove Avenue in Los Angeles, California, but suffered no serious injuries and was said to be recovering shortly afterward. The actress had been driving a black BMW SUV and tried to make a left turn when she struck a car before colliding with another car. Hunt was visibly shaken when paramedics arrived and were quickly taken to the hospital shortly afterward to be evaluated, according to E! News.

She released a statement explaining the situation:

“Yesterday I was involved in a minor traffic accident and taken to the hospital. I’m pleased to report I’m recovering well and have no serious injuries. Thank you for all the well wishes! I’m looking forward to starting production on ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ later this summer.”

Her Life Today

Linda Hunt (2015), (Araya Doheny/WireImage/Getty images)

It seems like Hunt pulled from her personal life to add some genuineness to her character as she has proved time and again to be a kind-hearted individual. Although Hunt has kept much of her private life out of the public eye, relishing in the personal moments she gets to share with her loved ones; she has shared a few details about her relationships. She has been in a long-lasting relationship with psychotherapist Karen Kline since 1978. The two tied the knot in 2008.

Hunt has also served as an ambassador for the Best Friends Animal Society since 2011 and is a supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, according to Celebrity Net Worth. It’s clear that Hunt has had a very successful relationship as well as a brilliant career. According to Celebrity Net Worth, her net worth is estimated at $12 million. She earned $80,000 per episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” totaling about $2 million per year before royalties. This pay is also her typical annual salary.

At 76 years old, Hunt can easily say she has accomplished a lot in her life and has become a true inspiration to any aspiring actor. Not only that, but she has shown that anything is possible. Today, she is an incredibly beautiful woman with an astounding career that she should be immensely proud of. On top of that, she is also a kind soul with a huge heart – something that is truly evident in her relationship and charitable causes.

While Hunt doesn’t appear to have any projects currently in the works, we’re excited to see what she does in the upcoming years!

Linda Hunt (2015), (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Did you know about Linda Hunt’s personal and professional life? What’s your favorite show or movie that she’s starred in? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your friends and family, too.

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