Linda Hunt, star of ‘NCIS: Los Angeles,’ Didn’t Always Want to Be an Actor: Here’s Why

Linda Hunt is best known for her role as Hetty Lange on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” as well as her Oscar-winning performance as Billy Kwan in “The Year of Living Dangerously.” She portrayed the Shadout Mapes in David Lynch’s “Dune,” as well as Grandmother Willow in “Pocahontas” and the Narrator in the “God of War” video game series. Despite her impressive acting resume, it’s a little-known fact that Linda Hunt didn’t always intend to be an actor.

Her parents initially suggested that Hunt pursue directing rather than acting because of her stature; Hunt is 4 foot 9 due to hypopituitary dwarfism. She took her parents’ advice and relocated from Connecticut to New York to pursue her dreams of directing and stage management. That, however, was not her dream.

“I was a good enough actor at that point to know I didn’t know enough to be a director,” she has said. By chance, she enrolled in an acting class taught by Robert Lewis. Lewis was a well-known acting teacher and director who founded New York’s Group Theater in the 1930s and later became the head of the acting and directing departments at Yale School of Drama in the 1970s. According to The List, he was certain Linda Hunt would become an actress. He told Hunt that she “needed to stop acting like she wanted to be a director.”

Linda Hunt began her career on stage, with “Ah, Wilderness,” her Broadway debut. She played Aunt Dan in “Aunt Dan and Lemon,” had multiple roles in a “Hamlet” production, and played Sister Aloysius in a “Doubt” production.

Hunt discussed the phenomenon of stage acting in an interview with BOMB Magazine in 1986. “Acting on stage is like an 3xpl0sion every night,” she said. And what keeps coming at you all the time while you’re trying to […] create something that requires a tremendous amount of organization and concentration.”

Linda Hunt’s Current NCIS: Los Angeles Role

Linda Hunt is best known for her role as Hetty Lange on “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Hetty worked as the Office of Special Projects’ Operations Manager. She is currently on a mission overseas and does not appear on the show. Linda Hunt hasn’t appeared on “NCIS: LA” seasons 12 or 13 because she’s been taking C0V1D 19 precautions.

Chris O’Donnell, Hunt’s co-star, once described the experience of working with her as “exhilarating.”

“Some of the scenes with Linda Hunt,” he explained, “she’s such an amazing actress you never know what to expect.” I read the script and read the scene aloud, but she has such a command of the English language and the way words fall off her tongue that it’s never what I expect.”

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