As a kid you probably watched Pocahontas. In your adolescence you might have played one of the God of War games. And in your darkest moments you sat down with a bowl of dollar instant ramen to watch NCIS: Los Angeles. What through-line could possible exist between these things? Linda Hunt — a character actress who’s been consistently working for almost 40 years, but is largely unknown by the public.
At six months old, Hunt was diagnosed with “cretinism”, a term which only partially described her actual condition of hypopituitary dwarfism and which has thankfully fallen out out of medical use. At her tallest, Hunt is a mere 1.22m 23cm. Though her size pigeonholed her, No Small Parts explains that she developed her own accent and manner of speech which exuded the confidence her physicality wasn’t able to muster.
Though she took a circuitous route to the big screen and is still far from a household name, Hunt has given memorable performances in Dune, Kindergarten Cop, and alongside Robin Williams in Popeye. Strangely, in her biggest role, Hunt played a male Chinese-Australian (three things the New Jersey-born actress was decidedly not) in 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously with Mel Gibson. For that, she picked up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Like other character actors this video series has focused on — Crispin Glover and Harry Dean Stanton among them — Hunt has led a long and surprisingly diverse career, and still working at the age of 71. Next time you’re watching a documentary or playing a video game, see if you notice an unusual narrator, it just might be someone you’re now familiar with.