Linda Hamilton is an American actress best known for her performances as Sarah Connor in the first two films of The Terminator franchise, and her starring role in the TV series Beauty and the Beast.
Hamilton was born in Salisbury, Maryland to a physician father who died when she was five. She has said that she was raised in a "very boring, white Anglo-Saxon" family, and "voraciously read books" during her spare time.
Hamilton went to Wicomico Junior High (now Wicomico Middle School) and Wicomico High School in Salisbury, Maryland, with her identical twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren.
She studied for two years at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, before moving on to acting studies in New York. While attending Washington College, her acting professor told her she had no hope of earning a living as an actress.
In New York she attended acting workshops given by Lee Strasberg.
Hamilton's acting debut came first with guest starring appearances on television. Her film debut was a lead role in the horror film Children of the Corn. The movie was panned by critics, but it made a profit at the box office, and had a strong cult following.
Hamilton's next role was in The Terminator in 1984. The movie was a huge commercial success.
Following The Terminator, Hamilton starred in Black Moon Rising, an action thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones. She then returned to television in the mystery comedy Murder, She Wrote, scoring favourable reviews.
Hamilton then starred opposite Ron Perlman in the TV series Beauty and the Beast. The series was critically-acclaimed and she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
Hamilton left the series in 1989; after the series ended in 1990, Hamilton went back to the big screen with the follow-up to The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The film was a smash at the box office, grossing over 500 million, and becoming the highest grossing film of 1991.
Her identical twin sister Leslie was Linda's double in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Hamilton reprised her Terminator 2 character, Sarah Connor, for the theme park attraction "T2-3D."
Due to the success of the Terminator series, Hamilton hosted Saturday Night Live. She then returned to television in A Mother's Prayer, playing a mother who lost her husband and is diagnosed with AIDS. She earned yet another Golden Globe nomination.
That same year, Hamilton filmed two motion pictures, Shadow Conspiracy and Dante's Peak. Shadow Conspiracy flopped at the box office, but Dante's Peak opened in at number two with an opening gross of 18-million, going on to gross 180-million.
Hamilton has since appeared on Frasier and has done more TV movies, including On the Line, Robots Rising, Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Couples, Point Last Seen, and The Color of Courage.
Hamilton has been married and divorced three times. Her first marriage was to actor Peter Horton, from 1979 to 1980. Her second marriage was to Bruce Abbott, from 1982 to 1989. They had a son, Dalton Abbott, born on October 4, 1989.
Her third marriage was to film director James Cameron from 1997 to 1999; they had a daughter, Josephine Archer Cameron, born on February 15, 1993.
They divorced after Linda discovered he was having an affair with actress Suzy Amis during the making of the movie Titanic. The end result of that affair netted Linda an 80-million dollar divorce settlement.
Hamilton appeared on the October 14, 2005, episode of Larry King Live to reveal that she suffered from bipolar disorder. She revealed that her condition destroyed her marriages to her first husband, Peter Horton, revealing that she abused him verbally and physically, and that it also ruined her marriage to second husband Bruce Abbott.
Linda said that it was her love for her two children that finally forced her to seek treatment and she began taking medication in 1996.
Hamilton is good friends with former Beauty and the Beast co-star Ron Perlman. They reunited in the post-Vietnam war drama Missing in America.