The Incredible Journey of Linda Hunt: From Challenges to Success

Linda Hunt from 'NCIS' is completely unrecognizable in historic role – fans won't believe their eyes

Have you ever heard of Linda Hunt? She may not have been a Hollywood superstar until she landed the role of Hetty on ‘NCIS,’ but she has had a remarkable career in show business. Despite facing difficult challenges growing up, Linda persevered and pursued her dreams.

Born on April 2, 1945, in Morristown, New Jersey, Linda faced early developmental difficulties. Her motor skills weren’t developing at the usual rate, and doctors diagnosed her with a condition called cretinism, which severely affected her physical and mental growth. There were concerns that Linda might have to be institutionalized.

But Linda’s parents, Elsie and Raymond, refused to give up. They became her biggest supporters, using books and theater to encourage her development. Linda’s love for acting and theater blossomed, especially after seeing the Broadway musical Peter Pan at the age of eight. Inspired by the larger-than-life performances, Linda knew that she wanted to be a part of the world of theater.

With her parents’ unwavering support, Linda pursued acting with a passion. Despite her learning difficulties and short stature, she dedicated herself to becoming a “high priestess of theater.” Linda’s parents even encouraged her to study directing and have a backup plan in case her acting career didn’t take off.

After completing her studies, Linda made her Broadway debut in Ah, Wilderness in 1975. This led to her first on-screen role in the film Fame. But it was in 1983 that Linda’s career reached new heights with her role as Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously, starring alongside Mel Gibson. This groundbreaking role earned Linda an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She became the first person ever to win an Oscar for playing a cisgender character of the opposite sex.

Playing Billy Kwan was no easy task. Linda had to undergo a transformation to become unrecognizable. Initially unsure about playing a man, Linda eventually embraced the challenge and immersed herself in the character. She cut her hair short, shaved her eyebrows, and even dyed her hair to convince the audience that she was indeed a man. Her dedication paid off, and her performance was both captivating and unforgettable.

Since her iconic role in The Year of Living Dangerously, Linda has continued to shine in her role as Hetty on NCIS Los Angeles. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Linda’s return to the show has been highly anticipated by fans.

Linda Hunt’s incredible journey is a testament to her talent, determination, and the unwavering support of her parents. Her success in the entertainment industry is a source of inspiration for aspiring actors and actresses alike.

With a net worth of approximately $12 million and a salary of $80,000 per NCIS Los Angeles episode, Linda Hunt has certainly made a name for herself in Hollywood. Let’s continue to celebrate her remarkable career and share her story with others.