Linda Hamilton was born into a typical family on September 26, 1956, in Salisbury, Maryland, along with her twin sister, Leslie. She pursued acting while in college, moving to New York and taking acting lessons with director Lee Strasberg. Hamilton started out as a television actress and moved on to films. When she landed a role as Sarah Connor in The Terminator and its sequel, Hamilton's career bloomed and placed her in the spotlight. Each of her two marriages, first to actor Bruce Abbot and then to director James Cameron, with whom she had worked on The Terminator and its sequel, ended in divorce. She continued acting, primarily in guest roles, on a number of television series.
She may have grown up in a seemingly typical white Anglo-Saxon family, but American actress Linda Hamilton spiced up her life and became a successful and well-known entertainer. She was born on September 26, 1956, in Salisbury, Maryland, along with her identical twin sister, Leslie. Hamilton’s father, physician Carroll Stanford Hamilton, died in a car accident when she was 5 years old.
Upon graduating from high school, Hamilton enrolled at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, she she spent two years before relocating to New York to study acting. There, she attended acting workshops given by Lee Strasberg, and landed a major role in the prime-time television soap opera Secrets of Midland Heights in 1980.
Hamilton's acting career took off in 1984, after she played the lead in Stephen King's Children of the Corn, and then alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger as Sarah Connor in The Terminator. The movie was a commercial and critical success and made Hamilton one of Hollywood's first female action heroes. It also helped her land new roles, both in film and television. She starred in Black Moon Rising with Tommy Lee Jones, appeared as a guest-star in the television series Murder She Wrote and starred opposite Ron Perlman in the Beauty and the Beast—a critically acclaimed television series for which Hamilton received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
In 1991, Hamilton again played Sarah Connor in the Terminator sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a role for which she underwent intense physical training. "Her toning and muscles brought her the title of "Body Of The Nineties," and her character became a byword for invincibility," according to a February 2011 Daily Mail article. Hamilton's twin, Leslie, was her double in the film, for which Hamilton received two MTV Movie Awards (best female performance and most desirable female).
Following the success of the film, Hamilton, who had been chosen in 1990 by People magazine as one of the world's "50 Most Beautiful People," hosted Saturday Night Live. She returned to television in the latter half of the decade, playing a widowed mother diagnosed with AIDS in A Mother's Prayer in 1995. Hamilton won a CableACE Award for best dramatic performance and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance the following year. She also filmed Dante's Peak with Pierce Brosnan and received a Blockbuster Entertainment Award in 1997 after the film grossed $180 million.
In 2010, Hamilton was still acting, mostly in recurring guest roles on the shows Chuck and Weeds.
Personal Life and Marriages
Hamilton's love life has been rocky, to say the least. She and her first husband, actor Bruce Abbott, married in December 1982 and divorced in late 1989, several months after their son, Dalton, was born. Hamilton later admitted that she had suffered from bipolar disorder and, as a result, had verbally and physically abused her husband, who could no longer take the poor treatment and walked out.
"He loved me when I was the life and soul of the party and even when I was the tragic lost girl," Hamilton told the Daily Mail in 2011. "But I was a bully and would throw plates at him ... Eventually it became too much and he left me. ..." Hamilton added, though, that today she and Abbott are close friends.
Hamilton's second marriage to director James Cameron, who she met while filming Terminator in 1991, also ended in divorce. The two got together in 1991, had their daughter, Josephine in 1993, and were married in 1997. But 1999, their marriage ended with a $50 million divorce settlement.
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