Linda Harrison (actress)

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Linda Harrison
Born (1945-07-26) July 26, 1945 (age 68)
Berlin, Maryland
Other names Augusta Summerland
Occupation Actress
Years active 1966-2001
Spouse(s) Richard D. Zanuck
(m. 1969–1978)
Children Harrison Richard Zanuck
born (1971-02-23) February 23, 1971 (age 43)
Dean Francis Zanuck
born (1972-08-11) August 11, 1972 (age 41)

Linda Harrison is an American actress best known for her role as "Nova", Charlton Heston's mute mate in the first two films of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Early years[edit]

Linda Melson Harrison was born July 26, 1945, in Berlin, Maryland, the third of five daughters of Isaac Burbage Harrison (1907-1989), a nurseryman, and Ida Virginia Melson (1914-2010), a beautician. The Harrison family were long-established residents of the area, as were the Melsons, her mother's family. According to Ancestry.com, the Melsons emigrated from Yorkshire to Virginia in the mid-17th century. Harrison's paternal grandfather, Joseph G. Harrison, and Joseph's older brother, Orlando Harrison (Mayor of Berlin 1900-1910 and 1916-1918 and senator from Maryland), established Harrison's Nurseries, which was, at one time, the largest fruit tree nursery business in America, employing some five hundred workers. The Harrison Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park campus, was named for Harrison's paternal great-uncle, Senator Orlando Harrison.

At age five, Ida Harrison enrolled her middle daughter, whom she called "a little ham", in ballet and acrobatics classes. At age six, Harrison began performing on stage, and, over the next several years, became a skilled acrobat. During this time, she attended Buckingham Elementary School in Berlin, where her sisters and their mother had gone, and appeared on local TV programs. In 1956, when she was 11, her acrobatic performance earned first prize in the Del-Mar-Va (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) Chicken Festival Talent Contest. Six years later, at the same Festival, she won the "Miss Del-Mar-Va" beauty contest.

During her teen years, Harrison appeared on local TV and radio, and worked summers as a waitress at Phillips Crab House in Ocean City. While attending Stephen Decatur High School, Harrison won the Miss Berlin title in a beauty contest; she also acted in her first dramatic role, that of "Connie Fuller" in the senior class production of the Kaufman/Hart play George Washington Slept Here. After graduation, she enrolled for a summer term at the University of Maryland at College Park, then attended the University of Baltimore, and a secretarial school in Baltimore, but found it all uninspiring; she knew she wanted to be somewhere else. When her oldest sister, Kay, graduated from college and headed for New York, Harrison went with her.

In New York, the Harrison girls shared an apartment and their mother Ida's credit card. Harrison scored some success as a model, but she disliked New York and was homesick. Less than a year later, she returned to Berlin, where she won the 1964 Miss Del-Mar-Va beauty pageant. She entered the Miss Maryland beauty pageant, a preliminary event to the Miss American pageant, itself the final preliminary event to the Miss International contest, to be held in mid-June 1965 in Long Beach, California.

Harrison won the contest over nineteen other girls, and in June 1965, as Miss Maryland, she traveled to California for the Miss America contest. But she was first-runner up, not Miss America, and deeply disappointed. Nevertheless, her striking good looks and hourglass figure gained the notice of Mike Medavoy, then an agent at the General Artist Corporation. "You ought to be in pictures," Medavoy told her. Shortly thereafter, Medavoy obtained a "personality test" for her at 20th Century Fox.

Career[edit]

Harrison was initially signed to a sixty-day option agreement. She starred as Paulette Douglas, a starlet under contract to a major movie studio, in the short-lived NBC TV series Bracken's World (1969–1970), which also featured Laraine Stephens and Karen Jensen in similar roles. She is known for her role as Charlton Heston's female mate Nova in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, and its 1970 sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes opposite James Franciscus. She also had a cameo in Tim Burton's 2001 remake Planet of the Apes. She was married to the film producer Richard D. Zanuck from 1968 to 1978. She is also the first actress to play a live-action version of Wonder Woman, which she did in a failed 1967 television pilot for a Wonder Woman television series. Lynda Carter made this role more successful eight years later.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Midnight Massacre Trevor Bowen indie, co-stars Don Pedro Colley of Beneath the Planet of the Apes
2001 Planet of the Apes Woman in Cart
1999 Runaway Bride Uncredited Shot in Berlin, MD, Harrison's hometown
1996 Dunston Checks In Cameo
1996 Wild Bill Madam
1988 Cocoon: The Return Susan
1985 Cocoon Susan
1974 Airport 75 Winnie Credited as "Augusta Summerland"
1970 Beneath the Planet of the Apes Nova
1968 Planet of the Apes Nova
1967 A Guide for the Married Man Miss Stardust
1966 Way...Way Out Peggy James Brolin played Peggy's husband
1966 The Fat Spy Treasure Hunter
1966 Planet of the Apes (Test) Dr Zira Makeup test; with Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson (Dr Zaius), James Brolin (Cornelius)

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 2 Herself (uncredited) TV documentary
1998 Behind the Planet of the Apes Herself 30th anniversary documentary
1977 Barnaby Jones Jan Redbow The Damocles Gun, Season 6 Episode 5, (credited as Augusta Summerland)
1976 Switch Jill Martin Death Squad, Season 1 Episode 24 (credited as Augusta Summerland)
1975 Barnaby Jones Dori Calder The Alpha Bravo War, Season 5 Episode 6 (credited as Augusta Summerland)
1969-70 Bracken's World Paulette Douglas appeared in 41 episodes
1969 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Herself Interview, 11/19/1969
1967 Wonder Woman: Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? Mirror reflection (uncredited) TV short (four minute-pilot)
1966 Batman Cheerleader II He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul, Season 1, Episode 16
1966 Batman Cheerleader II The Joker Goes to School, Season 1, Episode 15
1966 Felony Squad Biker Chick Series pilot; original title: Men Against Evil. Only line: "Go, man, go!"

References and External Links[edit]