10/16/1923 to 4/10/1965
Born Monetta Eloyse Darnell, in Dallas. A Texas-born beauty, her mother encouraged her to model. By1934 she was modelling clothes for a department store. When Linda was 13, she appeared with local theatre companies, her talent already becoming apparent. There was no doubt that Linda had a rare gift for someone so young. When the Hollywood moguls sent scouts to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, her mother thought it would be a good idea to give Linda a shot at a try-out. The talent scouts took one look at her and her acting abilities and arranged for a screen test. She made the trek to Hollywood and when her true age was discovered she was sent home. After two years and more local theatre appearances, Linda returned to California and her career was off and running.
Her debut was in 1939 in the role of Marcia Bromley in Hotel for Women. She was just 16 at the time and became the youngest leading lady in Hollywood history. Her next film was Day-Time Wife (1939, quickly followed by Star Dust made in 1940, Blood and Sand (1941), Rise and Shine (1941), Hangover Square (1945).
The following year Linda appeared with the legendary Lillian Gish in Centennial Summer (1946). Later that same year she co-starred with Henry Fonda and Victor Mature in My Darling Clementine. It was another hit. Linda reached the height of her career when she played opposite Cornel Wilde in Forever Amber (1947) where she survives the famed London fire. In 1952 she starred in Blackbeard, the Pirate. Lindas final appearance on the silver screen was in 1965's Black Spurs (1965).
She was married and divorced three times. On April 10, 1965, Linda died of burns she suffered in the house fire of her former secretary. Ironically, she had been watching Star Dust (1940) on television, which was one of the films that set her career in motion. She had filmed a total of 46 movies. Often described as the "girl with the perfect face", Linda died at the age of 41.