Linda Watkins

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Watkins in a guest appearance on TV's The Munsters with Al Lewis (1964)

Linda Mathews Watkins (May 23, 1908 in Boston, Massachusetts – October 31, 1976 in Los Angeles, California) was an American stage, film and television actress.


Born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gardiner and Elizabeth R. (née Mathews) Watkins,[1] at age 16, her 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 Broadway producer Charles Hopkins.[2] When he asked Watkins if she preferred playing comedy or drama, she replied, "Tragedy".[citation needed] He was casting for a comedy production and Watkins was offered the lead role.

Aged 17, she performed in the Tom Cushing comedy The Devil In The Cheese with Fredric March at the Charles Hopkins Theater in New York City.[3] 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[edit]

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."[citation needed]

Her second movie was Good Sport (1931), a screen adaptation of a story by William J. Hurlbut. Produced by the Fox Film Company, Watkins depicts Marilyn Parker, a naive wife caught up in a love triangle. Her co-stars were Alan Dinehart and John Boles. She appeared in Charlie Chan's Chance, a lost 1932 film starring Warner Oland as the famous detective.[4] Edmund Lowe and Watkins co-starred in Cheaters at Play (1932). Her other film credits included From Hell It Came (1957), Ten North Frederick (1958), As Young as We Are (1958), Cash McCall (1960), Because They're Young (1960), The Parent Trap (1961), Good Neighbor Sam (1964), Huckleberry Finn (1974) and Bad Ronald (1974).[4]


Watkins married lawyer, Gabriel L. Hess at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago on January 28, 1932. He was attorney for Will Hays and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America.

Watkins and Hess had a son, Adam Hess, who died in 1969; he left three daughters, Elizabeth, Faye, and Emily, Watkins' granddaughters. Watkins obtained her release from Fox prior to her marriage.[4]


Watkins appeared in numerous television broadcasts beginning with an episode of The Billy Rose Show in 1950. Other shows in which she performed are Wagon Train (1957), Death Valley Days (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1958), M Squad (1957), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1957–1958), Peter Gunn (1959), Perry Mason (1959), The David Niven Show (1959), The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1958), Gunsmoke (Season 4, Episode 23 "Sky"), Gunsmoke (Season 6, Episode 15 "Old Fool"), Gunsmoke (Season 10 Episode 6 "Take Her, She's Cheap") The Asphalt Jungle (1961), The Munsters, Hazel (1963-64), and The Doris Day Show (1968).[4]

She also appeared as Emily Hull, the mother of Sally McMillan (Susan St. James), in several episodes of McMillan & Wife. One of her last television appearances was as a guest star on The Waltons in 1973, in the episode "The Journey".[4]


Linda Watkins died in Los Angeles in 1976, aged 68, from undisclosed causes.[4]


  1. ^ Parents' names from Massachusetts Vital Records, 1908 births, vol. 577, pg. 101.
  2. ^ Charles Hopkins at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. ^ Devil in the Cheese at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ a b c d e f Linda Watkins on IMDb


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

External links[edit]