Worked With:

Mary McDonnell


Cam Gigandet


Ed Helms


Tim Roth


Shemar Moore


Teri Hatcher


David Boreanaz


Steve Valentine


Charlize Theron

Linda Purl Biography


Home > Actresses > P > Purl, Linda > Biography


Birth Name: Linda Purl
Born: 09/02/1955
Birth Place: Greenwich, Connecticut, USA


Purl was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, but spent most of her childhood and early teens in Japan, where he father was an executive for Union Carbide. In 1962, she hosted a children's program on TV in Tokyo and in 1967, at age 11, she appeared on stage as Helen Keller in an English-language version of "The Miracle Worker", then followed with performing a Japanese version of "The King and I". Purl returned to the US at age 16, and made her film debut in 1972 playing a small role opposite Robby Benson in "Jory". She attended Finch College for awhile, but dropped out to pursue acting, studying with Marguerite Beale and then at the Lee Strasberg Institute. By 1973, she was a regular on the CBS' soap opera "The Secret Storm" and then moved to Hollywood, where she played Gloria, the object of the guys' attentions during the first full season of "Happy Days" (ABC, 1974-75). The following season, she was cast in the ensemble of "Beacon Hill", CBS's attempted to create an American "Upstairs, Downstairs". Purl's other series attempt was a one season stint as Andy Griffith's daughter on "Matlock" (NBC, 1986-87),

Throughout the years, Purl also appeared as a guest star in episodics and was especially active in TV-movies, appearing in more than 30, beginning with "Bad Ronald" (ABC, 1974), in which she was the object of Scott Jacoby's affections. Purl won acclaim for "Young Pioneers" (ABC, 1976), and was a young, pregnant woman in "Having Babies" (ABC, 1976). She was the first female cadet in "Women at West Point" (CBS, 1979), a retarded woman who wants to wed in "Like Normal People" (ABC, 1979), an Irish immigrant lass in "The Manions of America" (ABC, 1981), and a young married woman with money woes who turns to prostitution in "Money on the Side" (ABC, 1982). She was in "Dark Mansions" (ABC, 1986), a potential Spelling series pilot that didn't take off, and was a psychotic secretary in "Body Language" (1992) and the victim of a kidnapping plot left stranded in "Incident at Deception Ridge" (1994), both for the USA network. In 1995, Purl played a woman who brings her children to Africa in "Born Free: A New Adventure", which took the story of Elsa the Lion and updated the concept.

Purl has not been too active in feature films. She was the youngest of three generations of women on a crime spree in "Crazy Mama" (1975) and an ingenue enticed by Rod Steiger in "W.C. Fields and Me" (1976). Purl was leading lady to Donny Most (from "Happy Days") in Jerry Paris' "Leo and Loree" (1979), executive produced by Ron Howard. She also recorded songs for the original soundtrack to the film, including "If We Could Turn Back Time". Purl was an illiterate woman being pursued in the mountains in "High Country" (1979) and a woman who finds herself in the middle of a plot to assassinate Henry Kissinger in "Natural Causes" (1993).

The actress has also worked on the stage, appearing in small theaters in Los Angeles in the 70s, and became more high profile productions in the 80s. She played Portia in "The Merchant of Venice" at the Globe Theatre in 1980, and Daisy in "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" with the San Bernadino Light Opera Company in California in 1984. In 1986, Purl was cast as Annie in "The Real Thing" at the prestigious Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, as well as Thea in a production of "Hedda Gabler". She joined Stephanie Zimbalist in producing and starring in "The Baby Dance" (1990), a play about a poor Southern woman (Purl) planning to give up her baby to a rich California couple. The show premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse before moving Off-Broadway the following year. Additionally, Purl has performed a cabaret act in NYC and throughout Southern California.