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Linda Watkins (born May 23, 1908 - October 31, 1976) was an actress in theater, motion pictures, and television. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Contents

Theatrical actress

At the age of sixteen Watkins' parents sent her to study at the Theatre Guild. After six months she began to appear with the guild's summer repertory program in Scarborough, New York. Instead of finishing her studies at the guild, she pursued a job at the office of Charles Hopkins. When he asked Watkins if she preferred playing comedy or drama, she replied, "Tragedy." He was casting for a comedy production and Watkins was offered the lead role.

Only seventeen, Watkins performed in the Tom Cushing comedy The Devil In The Cheese with Fredric March at the Charles Hopkins Theater in New York City. In 1928 she appeared in the Forest Theater production of Trapped by Samuel Shipman. She appeared in a revival of The Wild Duck in November 1928, starred in the George S. Kaufman/Ring Lardner comedy June Moon in 1929, and co-starred with Ralph Morgan in Sweet Stranger in 1930.

Motion pictures

She debuted in movies in Sob Sister (1931), a film in which she plays a female reporter. Reviewer Muriel Babcock remarked that Watkins is cool, blond, poised, good to look upon. She plays the title role with admirable restraint and gives every evidence of being a comer in films.

Her second movie is Good Sport (1931), a screen adaptation of a story by William Hurlbut. Produced by the Fox Film Company, Watkins depicts Marilyn Parker, a naive wife caught up in a love triangle. Her co-stars are Alan Dinehart and John Boles. Edmund Lowe and Watkins made their debut as co-stars in Cheaters at Play (1932). Directed for Fox by Kenneth McKenna, the motion picture was adapted from a story by Gene Towne. Her most famous and more recent film credits included "Parent Trap" (the original), and Huckleberry Finn.

Marriage

Watkins married film boards' lawyer, Gabriel L. Hess, at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on January 28, 1932. Hess was attorney for Will Hays and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. He got his start in the movie business with Samuel Goldwyn and Samuel Goldwyn Films. Watkins was a close friend of Hess' first wife, Katherine Hawley. She was one of the first to send sympathy when Hawley was thrown from a horse and killed. Watkins and Hess had a son, Adam Hess, who was an attorney and secretary for the Aetna until his death in 1969; he left three daughters, Elizabeth, Faye, and Emily, the only grandchildren of Watkins. Watkins obtained her release from Fox prior to her marriage. A later romance with actor Tom Drake ended in 1959.

Television

Watkins appeared in numerous television broadcasts beginning with an episode of the The Billy Rose Show in 1950. Other shows in which she performed are Wagon Train (1957), From Hell It Came (1957), Death Valley Days (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1958), M Squad (1957), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1957-1958), Peter Gunn (1959), McMillan and Wife, The Munsters, Perry Mason (1959), The David Niven Show (1959), and The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1958). One of her last television appearancse was as a guest star on "The Waltons" in 1973, in an episode titled "The Journey".

Linda Watkins died in Los Angeles, California in 1976.

References

  • Fresno Bee, Linda Watkins Hinted To Be A Bride, January 27, 1932, Page 5.
  • Los Angeles Times, Baby Stars Vote Splits Up WAMPAS, August 15, 1931, Page A1.
  • Los Angeles Times, New Move Marks War On Wampas, August 24, 1931, Page A1.
  • Los Angeles Times, Studios Place Stars Together, August 29, 1931, Page 11.
  • Los Angeles Times, Sob Sister Proffered At Loews, October 23, 1931, Page A11.
  • New York Times, A New Ingenue (stock character), January 9, 1927, Page X4.
  • New York Times, Trapped To Open Aug. 7, July 25, 1928, Page 13.
  • New York Times, In Sweet Stranger Cast, August 28, 1930, Page 27.
  • New York Times, The Screen, December 12, 1931, Page 23.
  • New York Times, Linda Watkins Weds G.L. Hess In Chicago, January 29, 1932, Page 12.
  • Zanesville, Ohio Register, Along Broadway, Monday, May 4, 1959, Page 5.
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