Linda Thompson (actress)

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This article is about the American actress and songwriter. For other famous people named Linda Thompson, see Linda Thompson (disambiguation).
Linda Thompson
Born Linda Diane Thompson
(1950-05-23) May 23, 1950 (age 64)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation Actress, lyricist
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Bruce Jenner (1981–1984)
David Foster (1991–2005)
Partner(s) Elvis Presley (1972-1976)
Children Brody Jenner
Brandon Jenner

Linda Diane Thompson (born May 23, 1950) is an American actress, lyricist and beauty pageant winner. She was singer-actor Elvis Presley's longtime girlfriend and Olympics champion Bruce Jenner's wife. She won an Emmy Award for songwriting in 2003.

Early life and education[edit]

Thompson was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Margie (née White) and Sanford Abel Thompson.[1][2] Linda has an older brother Sam Thompson, who was one of Elvis bodyguards on tour 1972-1976, then became Elvis’ personal body guard from 1976 until Presley's death on August 16, 1977.[3][4]



Thompson held the title of "1969 Miss Shelby County".[5]

In September 1970, she was named "Miss Mid-South Fair" at Memphis, Tennessee.[6][7] Some of her other titles include, "Miss Liberty Bowl", "Memphis State's Golf Queen", "Miss Okra" (Bells, Tennessee), MSU's Homecoming Court, and others.

Also in 1970, Thompson was named "Miss Memphis State University" and third runner-up in the 1970 Miss Tennessee pageant (which is part of the Miss America contest), according to Miss Tennessee pageant records, Thompson never won the Miss Tennessee pageant.[8]

Thompson said she won the Miss Tennessee Universe Pageant in 1972,[9] which is also known as Miss Tennessee USA and under the Miss USA and Miss Universe umbrella:

I was Miss Tennessee. I was Miss Tennessee Universe in 1972, and Elvis was Elvis. And I was invited to go to the Memphian Theater, which he rented out after midnight to screen films. ... So, I was invited to go to the theater. And Miss Rhode Island, Jeannie LaMay, was my roommate in the Miss USA pageant. She was living in Memphis. And she and I went to the theater and were introduced to him properly.[10]

Jeanne LeMay Dumas, Thompson's best friend, recounts this first meeting with Elvis in an interview for her book, "Elvis, Linda and Me[11]" and later became Elvis' personal secretary.[12] Dumas said:

Like most people, I was a huge Elvis fan and never dreamed I’d get to meet him, much less have the experiences I ended up sharing with him and Linda. I’ve always in my heart felt it was fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it, that first brought me and Linda Thompson together as roommates at a beauty pageant in Puerto Rico. She was Miss Tennessee and I was Miss Rhode Island.[13]


In 1977, Thompson became a regular on the TV series Hee Haw, wherein she was in the cornfields until 1992. The Internet Movie database lists 19 acting credits for her, mostly small, one-episode parts in television shows such as Starsky and Hutch, Vega$, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Thompson starred in the TV pilots "Mars Base One" for producer Dan Aykroyd, "Two for Two", the Witt/Thomas production "The Arena", "Good Ole Boys" with Jerry Reed, and more. She has also appeared in several films, including Three on a Meathook (1972), Rabbit Test (1978, Billy Crystal's first movie) directed by Joan Rivers, and RoboCop 2 in 1990. She was cast for a small role, "Female Academy Member", in the blockbuster The Bodyguard (1992), for which she co-wrote (with David Foster) the lyrics for the theme song "I Have Nothing", performed by Whitney Houston. The song won Thompson a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

She appeared as Linda Jenner in a workout video by then-husband Bruce Jenner, four documentaries about Elvis Presley between 1997 and 2004, and in the short-lived Princes of Malibu, a reality show about then-husband David Foster's efforts to improve her two sons and herself.

Thompson, as Linda Jenner, (along with Lynn Mortensen) voiced Sally Brown in It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown, It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (who also provided the voices of Violet, Frieda and Patty), and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. She also provided the voice of Lucy van Pelt in Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown.

She appeared as herself in the reality TV series The Hills in 2009 and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2010 and 2011.


She began her musical career as a lyricist with the Kenny Rogers single "Our Perfect Song" from his 1985 album The Heart of the Matter. Thompson went on to collaborate with composers such as Richard Marx to pen Josh Groban's first hit record "To Where You Are", Composer Steve Dorff for the Celine Dion hit "Miracle", Andreas Carlsson for "Drowning" by the Backstreet Boys, and others including her many collaborations as lyricist to composer David Foster's musical compositions. (The two were married in 1991). Their collaborative successes include "No Explanation" for the 1990 film Pretty Woman, and "I Have Nothing" sung by Whitney Houston in the 1992 motion picture, The Bodyguard, for which they were nominated both for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1993 and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television in 1994. They also wrote what has become a Christmas classic, "Grown Up Christmas List", recorded by Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, Kelly Clarkson, Amy Grant, Michael Buble', and many others. In 1999, Linda Thompson-Jenner, with Clint Eastwood & Carole Bayer Sager as co-writers, wrote Why Should I Care for the 1999 film True Crime which starred Clint Eastwood. The song was performed by Diana Krall as the end credits rolled and appears on the 1999 Diana Krall album When I Look in Your Eyes. In 2011, Thompson, Foster and Jackie Evancho collaborated on the title track for Evancho's album Dream With Me.

Thompson and Foster shared the 2003 Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for "Aren't They All Our Children" for the "The Concert for World Children's Day", aired Nov. 14, 2002 on ABC.[14]

Personal life[edit]

From July 1972 to November 1976, Thompson had a relationship with Elvis Presley.[15] Their relationship was portrayed in the 1981 television movie Elvis and the Beauty Queen, with Stephanie Zimbalist as Thompson and Don Johnson as Elvis. In August 2002, Larry King Live had Thompson as his guest, with the show dedicated to discussing her relationship with Presley.[16]

In 1980, Thompson began a relationship with former Olympic Gold Medal decathlete Bruce Jenner. The couple married on January 5, 1981, at the Oahu, Hawaii, home of film producer Allan Carr.[17] As of February 1986 they were separated.[18] They had two children, Brandon and Sam Brody, known as Brody.[19]

On June 22, 1991, she married composer and record producer David Foster, with whom she has written many songs. They divorced in 2005.[20][21]

Honors and awards[edit]

In addition to her Emmy win, Thompson has also won a BMI Film & TV Award in 1994 for Most Performed Song from a Film ("I Have Nothing"), composed by Thompson and David Foster for the soundtrack for The Bodyguard[citation needed], and she shared Special Recognition Awards in 1997 and 2004 with several others for work related to the Olympics, including her and Foster's powerful lyrics for the official 1996 Olympic theme song, sung by Celine Dion, "The Power of the Dream".[citation needed]


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  6. ^ Memphis Commercial Appeal, "Mid-South Memories", September 8, 2010.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Miss Tennessee Titleholders". 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Interview With Linda Thompson". Larry King Live / CNN. August 16, 2002. Archived from the original on August 29, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  11. ^
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  15. ^ Lollar, Michael (August 12, 2006). "Fling with the King had all the extras – But if he was 'hellbent on destruction,' she wasn't", The Commercial Appeal, p. A1.
  16. ^ Larry King Live interview, Aug 2002 on YouTube
  17. ^ "Notes on People; Bruce Jenner Married 'Hee Haw' Entertainer; Hawaiian Wedding". The New York Times. January 7, 1981. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  18. ^ "After Five Years, Bruce Jenner and Second Wife Linda Find Happiness Is Not Working Out". People 25 (6). February 10, 1986. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  19. ^ Saad, Nardine (March 5, 2013). "Brody Jenner joins 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  20. ^ Piccalo, Gina (August 22, 2005). "Television & Radio; 'Princes': royal flush; The Malibu-based reality series slipped on the grain of truth from which it sprang. Fox's failed show had little chance from the outset. Reality, it seems, got in the way.". Los Angeles Times. p. E.1. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  21. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (22 July 2005). "Divorce for Mom on Princes of Malibu". People. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 

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