Linda Evans

Active - 1963 - 1997  |   Born - Nov 18, 1942 in Hartford, Connecticut, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Western

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While attending Hollywood High School, Linda Evanstad (born November 18, 1942) accompanied a nervous classmate to an audition for a Canada Dry TV commercial. Impressed by the brunette, wholesomely pretty Evans, the ad-agency director invited her to read as well. After this and two subsequent commercial spots, Evans began making the TV guest-star rounds on such series as Bachelor Father, Ozzie and Harriet, The Untouchables and The 11th Hour. Her fortunes improved when she cut the "stad" off her last name and dyed her hair blonde. As Linda Evans, she made her first important film appearance as kidnapped pop singer Sugar Kane in the 1963 confection Beach Blanket Bingo; that same year, she was signed to an MGM contract, though she spent much of it on loan-out to other studios. From 1965 to 1969, Evans was co-starred on the TV western The Big Valley as the ever-imperiled Audra Barkley. Thereafter, her life and career was under the strict guidance of her then-husband, actor/director John Derek. Once free of Derek's influence, Evans was compelled to virtually start all over again in such lower-berth film efforts as Mitchell (1975). When she was hired to play the long-suffering Krystle Carrington on the long-running (1981-89) nighttime serial Dynasty, Evans' comeback was full and complete.

Evans reprised her role as Krystle Carrington for Dynasty: The Reunion, a television series that aired in 1991. After working in a variety of made-for-television movies throughout the 1990s, Evans decided to retire from screen acting towards the end of the decade. However, the actress wouldn't disappear from television entirely, and neither would her legendary Dynasty persona (in 2005, actress Melora Hardin portrayed Evans herself for Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure, a fictionalized television movie based on the production of Dynasty). The following year, Evans reunited with her Dynasty alumni for a non-fiction reunion special titled Dynasty: Catfights and Caviar. The actress appeared in -- and won -- the British television reality series Hell's Kitchen.

Evans enjoys the reputation of being one of Hollywood's nicest and most gracious actresses. A persuasive spokesperson, she has endorsed several commercial products and worked tirelessly on behalf of the pro-environment movement.

Movie Highlights

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  • A junior high-school English teacher suggested she take acting classes to overcome extreme shyness.
  • Made TV debut in 1961 on Bachelor Father. Its star, John Forsythe, later played her husband on Dynasty.
  • In 1964, she decided to change her last name from Evanstad to Evans after being cast in The Big Valley.
  • In the '90s, she helped launch Linda Evans Fitness Centers, a chain of women-only gyms in California.
  • Reunited with Dynasty costar Joan Collins in a 2006-2007 touring production of the James Kirkwood play Legends!
  • Won the U.K. version of Hell's Kitchen in 2009.