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Linda Hunt (born April 2, 1945) is an American film, stage and television actress. She is perhaps best known for her Academy Award-winning role in 1982's The Year of Living Dangerously. She is currently portraying the role of Henrietta "Hetty" Lange, Office of Special Projects Operations Manager on the CBS Television series NCIS: Los Angeles.
Linda Hunt was born in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in Westport, Connecticut, one of the two daughters of Raymond Davy Hunt, vice president of Harper Fuel Oil on Long Island and Elsie Doying Hunt, a piano teacher who taught at the Westport School of Music and accompanied the Saugatuck Congregational Church choir. Linda Hunt attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy. She has a sister, Marcia.
Hunt's film debut in 1980 was in Robert Altman's musical comedy Popeye. Two years later, she co-starred as Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir's film adaptation of the novel of the same name. For her role as the male Chinese-Australian photographer, Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1983, becoming the first person to win an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex (also the first to win playing an Australian character). This was both cross-gender acting and yellowface.
Also a well known stage actress, Hunt has received two Obie awards and a Tony Award nomination for her theatre work. She created the role of Aunt Dan in Wallace Shawn's play Aunt Dan and Lemon. Recently, she portrayed Sister Aloysius in the Pasadena Playhouse production of John Patrick Shanley's Tony Award-winning play Doubt. She was praised for her performance as the title character in Bertoldt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children. Her television appearances include recurring roles as Judge Zoey Hiller on David E. Kelley's series The Practice and as Dr. Claire Bryson on Without a Trace. She has narrated several installments of The American Experience on PBS. She now plays the role of an operations manager and supervisor on the CBS fall show NCIS: Los Angeles with Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J and Daniela Ruah.
Beside her acting abilities, Hunt is distinguished by her small stature (she is 4' 9"/1.45 m tall ), and by her rich, resonant voice, which she has used in numerous documentaries, cartoons, and commercials. She is the on-air host for City Arts & Lectures, a radio program recorded by KQED public radio. Hunt was chosen by Walt Disney Feature Animation to lend her enigmatic speaking and singing voice to Grandmother Willow in the film Pocahontas.
Her voice work includes also the character of "Management" in Carnivàle, and the titan Gaia, who serves as the Narrator in the God of War series of video games. She narrated the introductory film at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
Hunt has lived with her partner, Karen Klein, since 1987.
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