Laura Linney

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Laura Linney
Laura Linney Berlinale 2017.jpg
Linney in 2017
Laura Leggett Linney

(1964-02-05) February 5, 1964 (age 58)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materBrown University (BA)
Juilliard School (GrDip)
Years active1990–present
  • David Adkins
    (m. 1995; div. 2000)
  • Marc Schauer
    (m. 2009)
RelativesRomulus Zachariah Linney (great-great-grandfather)

Laura Leggett Linney (born February 5, 1964)[1] is an American actress. She is the recipient of several awards, including two Golden Globe Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards and five Tony Awards.

Linney made her Broadway debut in 1990 before going on to receive Tony Award nominations for the 2002 revival of The Crucible, the original Broadway productions of Sight Unseen (2004), Time Stands Still (2010), My Name Is Lucy Barton (2020), and the 2017 revival of The Little Foxes. On television, she won her first Emmy Award for the television film Wild Iris (2001), and had subsequent wins for the sitcom Frasier (2003–04) and the miniseries John Adams (2008). From 2010 to 2013, she starred in the Showtime series The Big C, which won her a fourth Emmy in 2013, and from 2017 to 2022 she starred in the Netflix crime series Ozark.

Linney is also an established film actress. She made her film debut with a minor role in Lorenzo's Oil (1992) and went on to receive Academy Award nominations for the dramas You Can Count on Me (2000), Kinsey (2004), and The Savages (2007). Her other films include Primal Fear (1996), The Truman Show (1998), Mystic River and Love Actually (both 2003), The Squid and the Whale (2005), The Nanny Diaries (2007), Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), Mr. Holmes (2015), and Sully and Nocturnal Animals (both 2016).

Early life and education[edit]

Linney was born in Manhattan, New York City. Her mother Miriam Anderson "Ann" Perse (née Leggett) was a nurse at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and her father Romulus Zachariah Linney IV was a playwright and professor. Linney would spend summers with her father in New Hampshire and fell in love with the stage working with the local theatre group beginning at the age of eleven. [2][3][4] Linney's paternal great-great-grandfather was Republican U.S. Congressman Romulus Zachariah Linney. She has a half-sister named Susan from her father's second marriage.

Linney is a 1982 graduate of Northfield Mount Hermon School, a preparatory school in New England for which she currently serves as the chair of the Arts Advisory Council. She then attended Northwestern University before transferring to Brown University, where she studied acting with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh and served on the board of Production Workshop, the university's student theater group.[3] During her senior year at Brown, she performed in one of her father's plays as Lady Ada Lovelace in a production of Childe Byron, a drama in which poet Lord Byron mends a taut, distant relationship with his daughter Ada.[5]

Linney graduated from Brown in 1986.[6] She went on to study acting at the Juilliard School as a member of Group 19 (1986–90), which also included Jeanne Tripplehorn.[7] In 2003, Linney received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Brown.[8] She received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Juilliard when she delivered the school's commencement address in 2009.[9]



Linney first appeared in minor roles in a few early 1990s films, including Lorenzo's Oil (1992), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), and Dave (1993). In 1993, Linney starred in the television adaptation of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City as Mary Ann Singleton. She returned as Mary Ann Singleton in 1998 in More Tales of the City. In October 1994, Linney guest-starred in an episode of Law & Order (episode "Blue Bamboo") as Martha Bowen. She played a blonde American singer who successfully claimed "battered woman syndrome" as a defense to the murder of a Japanese businessman.

Throughout the 1990s, Linney appeared extensively on stage on Broadway and elsewhere including in Hedda Gabler, for which she won the 1994 Joe A. Callaway Award,[10] and a revival of Holiday in December 1995 through January 1996 (the Philip Barry play upon which the 1938 movie starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn was based).[11]

She was then cast in a series of high-profile thrillers, including Congo (1995), Primal Fear (1996) and Absolute Power (1997). She made her Hollywood breakthrough in 1998, praised for playing Jim Carrey's on-screen wife in Peter Weir's science-fiction comedy drama film The Truman Show.[3]


In 2000, she starred in Kenneth Lonergan's film You Can Count on Me alongside Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick. The film was met with highly positive reviews from critics with an approval rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus reading, "You Can Count on Me may look like it belongs on the small screen, but the movie surprises with its simple yet affecting story. Beautifully acted and crafted, the movie will simply draw you in."[12] Linney was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.[3] In 2001, she reprised her role as Mary Ann Singleton in Further Tales of the City. In 2002, she starred in Wild Iris alongside Gena Rowlands and won her first Emmy Award[13] for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

In 2002, she starred in the Broadway revival of The Crucible alongside Liam Neeson at the Virginia Theatre, which ran from March 2002 through June 2002. She received a Best Actress Tony Award nomination for her performance.[14][15] Also in 2002, Linney appeared on Sandra Boynton's children's CD Philadelphia Chickens alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone. Linney sings the song "Please Can I Keep It?".[16]

In 2003, Linney appeared in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River alongside Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Marcia Gay Harden. The film received an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes with the critics' consensus reading, "Anchored by the exceptional acting of its strong cast, Mystic River is a somber drama that unfolds in layers and conveys the tragedy of its story with visceral power."[17] Linney received a BAFTA Award nomination for her performance.[18] That same year she also starred in the popular holiday film Love Actually alongside Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, and Liam Neeson.[19] She also appeared in Alan Parker's The Life of David Gale (2003) alongside Kate Winslet and Kevin Spacey.

In 2004, she reunited with her Love Actually co-star Liam Neeson in Kinsey, as the title character's wife. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Golden Globe Award.[3] That same year she had a recurring role in the acclaimed comedy series Frasier as Charlotte, the final love interest of Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer). She won her second Primetime Emmy Award for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.[3] Also in 2004, she starred in the Broadway production of Sight Unseen at the Biltmore Theatre which ran from May 2004 through July 2004. She earned her second Tony Award nomination for her performance.[20][21]

In 2005, Linney starred in Noah Baumbach's comedy-drama The Squid and the Whale alongside Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg. It received rave reviews from critics earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading, "this is a piercingly honest, acidly witty look at divorce and its impact on a family."[22] She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance.[23] Linney appeared in the political satire Man of the Year (2006) alongside Robin Williams and the comedy-drama The Nanny Diaries opposite Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans, based on the book by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.[24]

Also in 2006 Linney played the role of Claire in the Australian movie 'Jindabyne', alongside Gabriel Byrne. It was shot on location in the town of the same name in south west NSW. In the movie, a group of men on a fishing trip make the morally questionable decision to delay reporting the discovery of a murdered Aboriginal woman's body. Claire, the wife of one of the men (played by Gabriel Byrne) tries to understand the reasoning behind such thoughtlessness and her marriage is brought to the brink. Jindabyne addresses a gulf between articulate women and moody silent males, between the whites and the patronised Aboriginal people, and the scared humanity and the vast landscape of Australia itself.

Linney also appeared in Tamara Jenkins' The Savages with Philip Seymour Hoffman.[3] She received a third Academy Award nomination for her performance.[25]

In 2008, Linney starred as Abigail Adams in the prestigious HBO miniseries John Adams directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, Les Miserables). Paul Giamatti played John Adams. The series was a critical and awards season hit and won 13 Primetime Emmy Awards overtaking Angels in America (11 wins) as the Miniseries with the most Emmy wins in history.[26] She won her third Primetime Emmy Award for her performance[3] Also in 2008, she starred as La Marquise de Merteuil in the Broadway revival of Christopher Hampton's play Les Liaisons Dangereuses alongside Mamie Gummer and Benjamin Walker at the Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre.[27] Since 2009, Linney has served as host of the PBS television series Masterpiece Classic. She became a popular meme and vine for her introductions when saying, "Hi, I'm Laura Linney and this is Masterpiece Classic".[28]

In 2009, Linney took part of the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in which she read passages from Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The event, which was free and open to the public at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, "The Sunday afternoon performance will be grounded in history and brought to life with entertainment that relates to the themes that shaped Barack Obama, and which will be the hallmarks of his administration." Obama spoke at the end of the event which featured actors reading historical passages as well as musical performances.[29]


In 2010, Linney starred in the Broadway production of Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies alongside Brian D'Arcy James and Alicia Silverstone at the Cort Theatre from January 28, 2010, through March 27, 2010. She received her third Tony Award nomination for her performance. The play returned to Broadway with most of the original cast in September 2010 and closed on January 30, 2011.[30] That same year, Linney returned to television in Showtime's half-hour series about cancer, The Big C. She served as both an actress and executive producer on the show. She starred as a suburban wife and mother who explores the emotional ups and downs of suffering cancer, and the changes it brings to her life and her sense of who she is.[31] In 2011, she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance. In 2013, she won her fourth Primetime Emmy Award for the final season of the series.

Linney at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin (2016)

In 2012, she starred in Roger Mitchell's Hyde Park on Hudson alongside Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt. The film also starred Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams and Samuel West. Murray was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance. In 2015, she starred in Bill Condon's Mr. Holmes alongside Ian McKellen. The film received rave reviews, earning an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading, "Mr. Holmes focuses on the man behind the mysteries, and while it may lack Baker Street thrills, it more than compensates with tenderly wrought, well-acted drama."[32] In 2016, she appeared in Clint Eastwood's Sully with Tom Hanks. The film was a critical and commercial success making almost US$240 million at the box office.[33]

She starred in Genius (2016) alongside Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Dominic West. She appeared briefly in Tom Ford's critical hit Nocturnal Animals alongside Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon. The film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus, "Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill."[34]

From 2017 to 2022, she appeared in Netflix's crime drama series Ozark alongside Jason Bateman.[35] She has been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for her performances in both seasons one and two and for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for seasons two and three.

In 2017, she starred in the Broadway revival of The Little Foxes alongside Cynthia Nixon at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre which opened officially on April 19, 2017, and closed on July 2, 2017. She alternated the roles of Regina and Birdie with Nixon.[36] She received her fourth Tony Award nomination for her performance.[37] In 2018, Linney starred in a monologue play adapted from the Elizabeth Strout novel by Rona Munro titled My Name Is Lucy Barton, which opened at the Bridge Theatre in London with direction by Richard Eyre. Previews began on June 2, 2018, and officially opened on June 6.[38]

Linney reprised her role as Mary Ann Singleton in the 2019 Netflix miniseries Tales of the City based on the Tales of the City series alongside Olympia Dukakis and Elliot Page.


In 2020, Linney starred in Falling opposite Viggo Mortensen, who also directed.[39] It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 31, 2020.[40] She next starred in The Roads Not Taken, directed by Sally Potter, alongside Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning.[41] It had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 26, 2020.[42] It was released on March 13, 2020, but was pulled from theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing on video on demand on April 10.[43]

In 2020, Linney reprised her role in My Name Is Lucy Barton, returning to Broadway in the American premiere at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Preview performances began on January 6, 2020, with the play officially opening on January 15, Linney received rave reviews from critics, with The New York Times describing her as "luminous".[44] For her performance she received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and received her fifth Tony Award nomination for Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.[45][46]

In 2020, it was reported that Linney would be starring in an Irish drama film, The Miracle Club, with Maggie Smith and Kathy Bates. The film's plot is being described as a "joyful and hilarious" journey of a group of riotous working-class women from Dublin, whose pilgrimage to Lourdes in France leads them to discover each other's friendship and their own personal miracles." As of December 2021, it remained in pre-production, having just received additional funding from the U.K. Global Screen Fund.[47]

In 2022, Linney made her television directorial debut with the eleventh episode of Ozark's final season ("Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin'").[48]

Personal life[edit]

Linney married actor David Adkins in 1995; they divorced in 2000.[49][50] In 2007, she became engaged to Marc Schauer, a drug and alcohol counselor[51] from Telluride, Colorado.[52] On her wedding day in May 2009, actor Liam Neeson walked her down the aisle.[53] On January 8, 2014, Linney gave birth to a son.[54] Linney was a guest and presenter at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.[55]


Awards and nominations[edit]


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  55. ^ – We Are One Archived January 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]