Born September 26, 1956 in Salisbury, Maryland, USA, Linda Carroll Hamilton is six
minutes older than her identical twin sister Leslie Hamilton Gearren. They have an
older sister, Laura - a successful lawyer in Washington, DC - and a younger brother
named John. Her birth father, who was a general practitioner, died in a car crash
when Linda & Leslie were only five years old. Leslie - residing in New Jersey - is
an ER nurse who has done a stint as her sisters double in Terminator 2: Judgment
Day (1991). Linda's mother remarried; her stepfather was Chief of Police of
Salisbury; he's retired now.
Linda's real dad suffered from bipolar disorder, and though Linda was diagnosed
early, too, she refused any drug therapy. All her life she has suffered from
manic-depressive illness, a condition that propelled her to brilliance in the manic
state and to depths of despair in the melancholic one. By the end of her 30's she
gave in and is now on anti-depressants to control her illness.
But still during her childhood Linda suffered from the fact that everybody saw her as
just one with her sister. At the age of 16, this frustration lead to a severe identity
crisis: she cut her hair and eyelashes and finally weighed about 167 pounds just to
differ from her sister. "I wanted to be ugly. I became the intellectual, the thinker,
as opposed to my sister the cheerleader. I was voted class snob."
Although Linda began acting at an early age, she never considered acting as a
career: she had plans to become an archeologist or possibly a firefighter. For a
couple of years Linda also studied classical piano and - while still being in high
school - had a summer job working in a local zoo as a security guard.
Her love of acting continued to grow while working with a children's theatre group in
Salisbury. Her steady belief is that "acting decided to have its way with me. I loved it;
I always loved it. I did children's theater when I was young. No particular talent for it,
I might add. You know, I have a twin sister, so they hired my twin sister and me to do
this play. I'm sure they thought it was really cute to have the Hamilton twins playing
the same role. I discovered my passion for acting then."
In high school she was the assistant to the drama coach and even directed a play.
After graduating in 1974, Linda enrolled in two acting classes at Washington College
in Chestertown, Maryland. There Linda performed in a couple of student productions
like Prometheus Bound by John Million and Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine.
Soon after, she became involved with the Kent Players, a community theatre group
based in Chestertown. She played in a theatrical version of Henry Fielding's novel
Tom Jones, in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, Arthur Miller's A View From The
Bridge a musical adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest
called Ernest In Love, and Looice.
In 1989, Linda returned to Washington College to receive an Alumni Citation as
"outstanding student" at the College's 207th commencement exercises.
After two years at Washington College "... I decided I loved it [acting], and I decided
to go to New York to study at an acting school". So Linda and her then boyfriend
moved to New York in 1976, where she joined the famous Lee Strasberg Theatre
Institute; there she studied Method Acting and - among others - was taught by
After appearing in numerous student stage productions such as Shakespeare's
Richard III, she made her professional debut with a small role on the daytime
television drama Search for Tomorrow.
Because her then agency thought her unsuited to the theatre, they encouraged Linda
to try her luck in Los Angeles.
In 1979 she borrowed $ 2,000 and moved to California. When she earned her first
role, a guest spot on Shirley, she was down to her last $ 6.
Her first features for television were Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case and
When Linda tried to make the down payment on her Venice home in 1982, she
discovered that her then business manager had embezzled $107,000 of her earnings.
The manager had also been stealing from his other clients, was subsequently
sentenced to five years in prison. "It was a nightmare, I had to borrow the down
payment." Because of frustration she began sniffing cocaine. At her peak, she and a
friend would buy an ounce and snort it until it was gone. "There are drugs that
expand the soul, but cocaine is one that just closes the heart. It's a very alone,
horrible sort of shrinking drug. I quit on my own, but there was a time when I feared
I would have to go in for treatment. I really was in trouble." She needed three years
to get clean again.
On the other hand Linda met Bruce Abbott in 1982 on the set of her first motion picture
T.A.G. - The Assassination Game. He played a psychopath trying to kill her.
In real life they married December 19, 1982.
Linda's first big break was in 1984, when she played the part of Sarah Connor in
James Cameron's The Terminator. From 1987 to 1989 she came to fame as
Catherine Chandler in TV's Beauty and the Beast. The show earned her
nominations for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and People's Choice Award; she received
a Saturn and a Romy Award.
Linda and her Beauty co-star Ron Perlman are still very close friends.
After having miscarried already, Linda got pregnant again in 1989 and quit Beauty
due to her wish to be just there for her family. October 4, 1989 Linda's and Bruce's
baby boy Dalton Bruce Abbott was born. Shortly after their son's birth Linda and her
husband separated and got divorced by the end of 1989.
In March 1990 Linda was offered to reprise her role as Sarah Connor in Terminator
2- Judgment Day. 13 weeks before production started, she began military as well
as fitness training for her advanced interpretation of the Sarah character.
When production finally started, Linda, who had gained 40 pounds during her
pregnancy, was a lean machine. Though she weighed as much as she had in 1984
for The Terminator, she was now all muscle, measuring about 14 percent body fat.
The new interpretation of Sarah Connor earned her MTV Movie Awards for "best
female performance" as well as "most desirable female"; she also received another
After T2 Linda moved together with her T director James Cameron.
Because of her continued heavy workout Linda suffered two more miscarriages,
but February 15, 1993 Linda's and James's daughter Josephine Archer Cameron
Early in 1994 Linda moved out with the kids to her own place during preproduction
of Cameron's True Lies. They were together again at the movie's premiere.
For her made for TV movie A Mother's Prayer (1995) Linda received a Cable Ace
Award and a Golden Globe nomination. 1997's Dante's Peak earned her a
July 26, 1997 Linda and James Cameron married on a free weekend of Cameron's
Just some weeks after the 1998 Academy Awards the couple separated, and
December 1998 Linda filed for divorce because of "irreconcilable differences".
Currently Linda and the kids are living in Malibu.
Linda is a big football fan (SF 49ers), smokes cigarettes and loves icecream.
In her freetime she reads a lot, likes playing Scrabble, collects Santa Claus
and Easter Bunny figurines, is mad about horses and most of all spends time
with her kids.