Linda Bove

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Linda Bove (born November 30, 1945 in Garfield, New Jersey) is a deaf American actress who played the part of Linda the Librarian on the children's television program Sesame Street from 1971 to 2003.

Sesame Street[edit]

On Sesame Street, Bove has introduced millions of children to sign language and issues surrounding the deaf community. The character owns a very playful dog, Barkley. Her role on Sesame Street lasted from 1971[1] to 2003, making it the longest running role for a deaf person in television history.[citation needed] Also, in her role in Sesame Street, she increased the knowledge of deaf culture and made it known that being deaf was not shameful.[2]

Other works[edit]

Bove appeared in an episode of Happy Days as Allison, a deaf girlfriend of The Fonz. She also performed on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow and some productions of the play, Children of a Lesser God.[3]

With her role on Search for Tomorrow, she became one of the first deaf actresses to become a regular on a soap opera series. Today, Linda continues her work in the deaf community.

She performed as a member of the National Theater of the Deaf,[3] founded in 1967. She also received an award in 1974 from AMITA, an Italian-American women's organization, in recognition for her work on television.

Personal life[edit]

Linda Bove was born in Garfield, New Jersey. Both of her parents were deaf. As a child, she attended St. Joseph School for the Deaf in the Bronx, New York, and then Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in Trenton, New Jersey from which she graduated in 1963. Bove attended Gallaudet University for college where she studied library science. From there, she became interested in theatre. She participated in several theatrical productions at Gallaudet including The Three Penny Opera and poetic characterizations of the Spoon River Anthology. In her senior year at Gallaudet University, Bove studied in a Summer School Program at the National Theater for the Deaf. In 1970 she married Ed Waterstreet, another deaf actor. The two of them met while working together with the National Theatre for the Deaf.[4]

In the 1970s, Bove and some of her colleagues started a company called Little Theatre of the Deaf to attract more deaf people, as well as children. This company gained national and international attention. The company dealt with communication among deaf people and the importance of teaching sign language to deaf children.

In 1979, Bove and the NTD traveled on a 30,000 mile world tour. Their biggest success was in Japan where they were well received. There, they were invited to come on a television show and later, their show was attended by the royal family.

Bove was, with her husband, one of the founders of the Deaf West Theater Company in Los Angeles in 1991, which was the first of its kind based on Deaf actors and actresses. In this company, she starred in a play produced by George Bernard Shaw called Saint Joan based on Joan of Arc. The plays performed by this company were translated into American Sign Language and adjusted accordingly in order to make sense. This company uses speech along with signs in order to help bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds.[5]

Not only did Bove help found the Deaf West Theater Company, she was also involved in a number of projects pertaining to the deaf community. Several of her involvements were related to children as well as the deaf. She had a brief “role” in The Land Before Time IV. When the characters, which were dinosaurs, would talk in the movie, she would have a pop-up box in the corner of the video and interpret what they were saying using American Sign Language. She also made videos such as "Sign Me a Story."


Year Film Role Notes
1971 Sesame Street Linda the Librarian TV series, 1971–2003
1973 Search for Tomorrow Melissa Hayley Weldon TV Series, unknown episodes
1978 Christmas Eve on Sesame Street Linda the Librarian TV Movie
1979 A Walking Tour of Sesame Street TV Movie
1980 Happy Days Allison TV Series, one episode "Allison"
1983 Don't Eat the Pictures Linda the Librarian TV Movie
1985 Follow that Bird
1986 Children of a Lesser God Marian Loesser
1987 Sign me a Story Herself, Various Characters Educational video featuring signed versions of fairy tales.
1989 Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting Herself TV Special
1996 Somebody to Love Computer Voice only
2005 Friends to the Rescue Linda the Librarian Direct to video
2010 Weeds Child Protective Services Officer 3 Episodes



  1. ^ Schuchman, John S (1999). Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry. Illini Books. p. 138. ISBN 0-252-01526-6. 
  2. ^ Barbara Harrington and Linda Bove (1991). "Non-Traditional Casting Update: Interview with Linda Bove". TDR 35 (2): 13–17. JSTOR 1146085. 
  3. ^ a b "Deaf People - Phyllis Frelich and Linda Bove - Deaf Actresses". 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  4. ^ "National Theater of the Deaf - Milestones". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Deaf West Theatre". Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  6. ^

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