Linda Stirling

Active - 1942 - 1966  |   Born - Oct 11, 1921   |   Died - Jul 20, 1997   |   Genres - Western, Action, Adventure, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Starting her career as a model, Linda Stirling made her film debut in 1942's The Powers Girl. Stirling was signed by Republic Pictures in 1943, where she rapidly earned the title "Queen of the Serials." Though she professed to dislike athletics, she earned the undying respect of casts and crews alike for her willingness to risk life and limb for the sake of her art. Seldom a mere damsel in distress, Stirling built up a enduring fan following via her ability to "dish it out" as well as take it. She is best remembered as the title character in The Tiger Woman (1944), one of Republic's most popular chapter plays. Her other serials of note include The Purple Monster Strikes (1945), Manhunt on Mystery Island (1946), and The Crimson Ghost. Stirling's own favorite film was the Republic feature The Madonna's Secret, in which she engagingly played a character who relied on brain instead of brawn. She married Republic screenwriter Sloan Nibley in 1946, then retired from films the following year. While raising her family in the 1950s, Stirling occasionally appeared on television in choice character roles. Once her kids were grown, she enrolled at UCLA, eventually earning an MA, a BFA and--at age 50--a PhD. In the 1960s, she began a whole new career as a teacher of college English and Drama. She valiantly tried to downplay her previous screen life, but every semester one of her students would recognize her as The Tiger Woman, and the jig was up. Now retired from teaching, Linda Stirling remains a fixture of the nostalgia-convention circuit; and in 1990, as wide-eyed and enthusiastic as ever, she participated in the cable-TV special The Republic Pictures Story.

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