Linda Cardellini Biography

Actress (1975–)
Linda Cardellini is an American film and TV actress known for her roles as Lindsay Weir in 'Freaks and Geeks,' Laura Barton in 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' Sylvia Rosen in 'Mad Men,' Samantha Taggart in 'ER' and Velma in two 'Scooby Doo' movies.

Who Is Linda Cardellini?

Linda Cardellini (born June 21, 1975) has been working as an actress since the 1990s. Over the course of her career, she's inhabited a range of diverse characters. These include an out-of-place teen on Freaks and Geeks, a hard-working nurse on ER, a woman having an illicit affair with her upstairs neighbor on Mad Men and a stalwart wife in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cardellini knew from a young age that she wanted to act and launched her career while attending college in Los Angeles. She's engaged to makeup artist Steven Rodriguez; the couple's daughter was born in 2012.

Linda Cardellini Photo

Linda Cardellini attends the premiere of 'Daddy's Home 2' at Regency Village Theatre on November 5, 2017 in Westwood, California.

When Was Linda Cardellini Born?

Linda Cardellini (full name Linda Edna Cardellini) was born on June 21, 1975, in Redwood City, California.


Cardellini's breakout role came when she played the smart, self-aware Lindsay Weir on Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). During the casting process, she liked the Freaks and Geeks script so much that she didn't audition for two other potential jobs in order to focus on landing the part. Though the show only aired for a short time, its cult following has grown as the series became available online and on DVD, which means Cardellini's work is still winning new fans.

Cardellini got the chance to play a more mature character when she joined ER as nurse and single mom Samantha Taggart in 2003. She remained with the show until its 2009 finale. Cardellini had a guest arc on Mad Men as Sylvia Rosen, downstairs neighbor and mistress to Don Draper, and was nominated for a 2013 Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy Award for the role.

Cardellini's first professional union gig was on the children's horror series Bone Chillers in 1996. Another early job (1998-99) was a guest spot on Boy Meets World as Lauren; Cardellini's character's interference with the relationship of leads Cory and Topanga had fans calling her "Homewrecker!" afterward.

In 2014 Cardellini appeared on New Girl as the trouble-making older sister of Zooey Deschanel's character Jess. From 2015 to 2017, she was seen as Meg, daughter of a twisted family, on Netflix's Bloodline. Cardellini was also in the 2008 mini-series Comanche Moon (part of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove saga).

Cardellini's first TV appearance was as a contestant on The Price Is Right. She won a fireplace on the show.


In addition to her TV roles, Cardellini has been in numerous films. For Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), she played Laura Barton, the calm and collected wife of Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye. In two live-action adaptations of the Scooby Doo cartoon series — Scooby Doo (2002) and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) — she brought the character of Velma Dinkley to life.

In Legally Blonde (2001), Cardellini had a small but important part as Chutney, the permed daughter of a murder victim. She was a love interest in Grandma's Boy (2006). For Daddy's Home (2015) and Daddy's Home 2 (2017), she played the wife of Will Ferrell and ex of Mark Wahlberg.

Among Cardellini's more serious projects is her star turn in the independent film Return (2011), about a female veteran's adjustment following her return from Iraq. Cardellini portrayed the best friend of Kristen Wiig's mentally ill character in Welcome to Me (2015) and was Joan Smith, who went on to marry Ray Kroc of McDonald's fame, in The Founder (2016). And Cardellini had a role as a waitress involved with Heath Ledger's character in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005).

Cardellini made her film debut in Good Burger (1997). In 1998, she had a prominent part in the horror film Strangeland.

Voice Actor

Cardellini has been a voice actor for Robot Chicken, The Goode Family, Sanjay and Craig, All-Star Superman, Gravity Falls — also making a live-action cameo on the show — and Out There. Some of these projects came about when Cardellini was pregnant and not able to be cast in other roles.

Cardellini has also done vocal acting for video games, including a Scooby Doo game.

Linda Cardellini and Steven Rodriguez

In 2013 Cardellini became engaged to makeup artist Steven Rodriguez. The two met in school, where a 10-year-old Cardellini admired new kid Rodriguez. They became romantically involved after reconnecting in Los Angeles as adults.


Lilah-Rose, Cardellini's daughter with Rodriguez, was born on February 29, 2012. The delivery was high risk and required an emergency C-section. Fortunately, both mother and child recovered.

Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel

Cardellini dated Jason Segel, her Freaks and Geeks co-star, for a few years.


Cardellini is the youngest of four children. Her parents, Lorraine and Wayne, fully supported her as she began an acting career. At one point, the family home prominently displayed a poster for the DVD cover of Strangeland because it featured their daughter's face — even though the image was a gruesome one that showed Cardellini's lips stitched together.

Early Life and Education

Cardellini, who grew up putting on shows at home, credits a role in The Music Man when she was in sixth grade with making her want to become a performer. She went to St. Francis High School, where she was homecoming queen, before heading to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University.

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