While still a child, Linda Hunt decided to become an actress, and began taking drama lessons at age 13. As she was quite small (4'9") and not a great beauty, she also studied directing, in case she never landed any acting roles. Hunt majored in directing at the prestigious Goodman Theater School in Chicago, and went on to spend several years in New York, working as a stage manager, director, and occasionally as an actress; during some of that time she worked in alternative theater with companies such as La Mama and the Open Theater. Following years of getting bit parts and directing for a children's theater, Hunt finally started landing good roles and ultimately won two Obie awards and a Tony nomination. She debuted onscreen in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), but it was her second film, The Year of Living Dangerously (1983), that made her internationally known; for her portrayal of a male Indonesian dwarf, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She followed that up with a part in David Lynch's infamous adaptation of the sci-fi classic Dune, and immediately segued into the part of a beloved saloon owner in Lawrence Kasdan's throwback western Silverado. She maintained a steady career appearing in various projects including She-Devil, Kindergarten Cop, Maverick and Stranger Than Fiction. Her distinctive voice led to steady gigs in animated films and as a narrator of documentary films.
- Made her acting debut at 12 in a Westport, CT, production of Flibbertigibbet.
- Originally planned to be a stage director because she thought her small stature would limit acting opportunities.
- First TV appearance was in a 1978 Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of Arthur Miller's Fame, in a role the playwright created with Hunt in mind.
- Big-screen debut came with Robert Altman's live-action Popeye (1980).
- Was the first actor to win an Oscar for playing someone of the opposite sex, for her role as Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).
- Won Obie awards for her performances in the plays Top Girls and A Metamorphosis in Miniature.
- Frequent voice-over work has included narrating the popular God of War video game series, as well as providing the voice of Management on HBO's Carnivale.