What the Hell Happened to Linda Hamilton?

linda hamilton 2014

Linda Hamilton

There are very few actresses who have played iconic roles in action movies.  Linda Hamilton is one of them.  But immediately following the biggest success of her career, Hamilton put her career on hold.  When she did work, it was usually as a guest star on a TV show.  She basically terminated her movie career at its peak.

What the hell happened?

hamilton - rape and marriage

Linda Hamilton – Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case – 1980

Like most actresses, Hamilton paid her dues on television.  Hamilton had a small role in a 1979 TV movie called Night-Flowers.  In 1980, she had a guest spot on Shirley Jones’ sitcom, Shirley.  She also appeared in the TV movie, Reunion and starred opposite Mickey Rourke in another rape-themed TV movie, Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case (pictured).

In 1980, Hamilton got a regular gig on the short-lived nighttime soap, Secrets of Midland Heights. Hamilton played a teen who gets mixed up with a college jock played by Lorenzo Lamas.  The show was intended to be Peyton’s Place for the 80’s.


Secrets of Midland Heights was cancelled after only 8 episodes.  At the time, it was announced that the show would return in a retooled format.  Instead, a new show emerged.

King’s Crossing featured some of the same actors as Secrets of Midland Heights when it debuted in 1982.  But the two shows were unrelated.  Like Secrets, King’s Crossing was quickly cancelled.

Hamilton - TAG

Linda Hamilton – Tag: The Assassination Game – 1982

In 1982, Hamilton made the leap to the big screen in the thriller, TAG: The Assassination Game.

The movie was about a group of college students who play a game in which competitors pretend to kill each other with toy dart guns.  Bruce Abbott played the top-ranked contestant who takes the game too seriously.  When a loser drops his gun and accidentally “kills” him, Abbott’s character goes off the deep end and starts killing his victims for real.

Hamilton played one of Abbott’s intended victims.  The two actors met while filming and later married.

Later that year, Hamilton appeared in a TV movie called Country Gold.

Loni Anderson starred as a buxom, blonde haired country singer.  I wonder who that could have been based on?  Hamilton played Anderson’s younger rival.


Wishman – 1983

Holy crap what the hell is that horrible thing!  It’s called Wishman.  And believe it or not, this thing was the star of a failed TV pilot on ABC in 1983.

Wishman was some kind of genetic experiment.  Joseph Bottoms played a scientist at the lab who decides to take the scary freak home to his wife played by Hamilton.  They put a hoodie on it and decide to raise it as their own.

You can sort of see the logic at play here.  Clearly ABC was trying to capitalize on the success of E.T. which had been a hit at the movies in 1982.  Except instead of a loveable alien, they had a creature that will haunt my dreams for as long as I live.  Seriously, I though Alf was disturbing.  E.T. was ugly cute.  Wishman is pour bleach in your eyes disturbing.  Unsurprisingly, it was not picked up to series.


1984 was a very big year for Hamilton.  First, she landed a four-episode role on the hit TV show, Hill Street Blues.  She also had a minor role in the Glenn Close/Robert Duvall family drama, The Stone Boy.  Which is sadly not about a boy made of stone.

hamilton - children of the corn

Linda Hamilton – Children of the Corn – 1984

Later that year, Hamilton starred opposite Peter Horton in the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s short story, Children of the Corn.  Hamilton and Horton played a couple who happen upon a farm town filled with murderous children.  Around this time, everything King had ever written was being made into a movie.  Unfortunately, what works on the page doesn’t always translate to film.  Children of the Corn really tries to make a town full of kids scary.  But the best it ever achieves is “creepy”.  More often than not, it is unintentionally funny.

Despite negative reviews, Children of the Corn did well enough at the box office to start a franchise.  A sequel was released theatrically in 1993 followed by several direct-to-video sequels and a TV movie.

hamilton - the terminator

Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn – The Terminator – 1984

Oh yeah.  I almost forgot.  Hamilton also starred in a science fiction movie called The Terminator.  You may have heard of it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger played a cyborg sent from the future to kill the mother of the man who would go on to lead a human resistance against the machines.  Hamilton portayed Sarah Connor, the mother of humanity’s only hope.  And Michael Biehn costarred as the man sent back in time to protect her from the Terminator.  Of course, you already knew all this.

James Cameron originally wrote The Terminator with Bridget Fonda in mind to play Sarah Connor.  Had Fonda agreed, The Terminator would have been her movie debut.  When she passed, several actresses were considered.  Debra Winger was cast but changed her mind before filming started.

Hamilton was finally cast, but she broke her ankle one week before filming started.  To accommodate her injury, all scenes that required her to run were rescheduled as late as production would allow.

According to Hamilton, she and Cameron didn’t get along very well at first:

“Oh my god, he made me so mad on the first Terminator film where he was on the side of the technology, not the people. Just after we shot the film’s memorable moment – “You’re terminated f****r”, where I had a 250lb arm that grabbed my throat and was exhausted from working the ninth day in a row stuck in a machine – I asked to look at the playback of the scene.

But Jim said: “No time, got to move on.” I went bonkers and I took him off the set to shout at him. But there was no ceiling, so everybody could hear us anyhow. I screamed at him: “If you want to see a human being on that set, treat me like a f*****g human being.” He tried to calm me down, apologised, gave me a bottle of Champagne and got me back on set.

Then he told the crew that he’d made me work up that rage to get a better performance from me. Bull! So the apology didn’t mean a thing. I thought: “You creep!”

I took the Champagne home and just outside my front door the bottle spontaneously exploded. It must have had such bad vibes in it because I later cut my foot on the broken glass and thought: “Oh, God, he’s even got the last word!”‘

The Terminator received mostly positive reviews.  It was a hit at the box office, but it was not the blockbuster some people might assume.  The Terminator was a low-budget science fiction movie that grossed less than $40 million dollars in the US.  To put its box office performance in perspective, it was pushed out of the top twenty highest-grossing movies of 1984 by Red Dawn.

Hamilton - Secret Weapons

Linda Hamilton – Secret Weapons – 1985

In 1985, Hamilton starred opposite Sally Kellerman and Geena Davis in the cheesy Cold War-themed TV movie, Secret Weapons.

Hamilton and Davis played young, impressionable Russian girls.  They are enlisted into a sex school by Kellerman and her husband.  After being trained as prostitutes, they are sent out to seduce visiting Americans so they can blackmail them.

As you can see, The Terminator didn’t exactly launch Hamilton to stardom.

Hamilton - Black Moon Rising

Linda Hamilton – Black Moon Rising – 1986

In 1986, Hamilton starred opposite Tommy Lee Jones in the low-budget action movie, Black Moon Rising.

Jones played a thief who works for the government.  He has been hired to steal a cassette with incriminating data from a corrupt company.  But when he is nearly caught, he stashes the cassette on board a prototype car called the Black Moon.  Hamilton played a car thief who steals the Black Moon along with the cassette.  Eventually, Jones and Hamilton team up to recover the car and the evidence.

Black Moon Rising was co-written by John Carpenter.  It co-stars Bubba Smith as the government agent who hires Jones.  I think that tells you everything you need to know about Black Moon Rising.


Hamilton - Murder She Wrote

Linda Hamilton – Murder, She Wrote – 1986

By 1986, Hamilton was back on television.  Two years after The Terminator, she starred in a TV movie called Club Med.  Hamilton also appeared on an episode of Angela Lansbury’s long running TV show, Murder She Wrote.  Bonus points to anyone who can guess the identity of the actor pictured with her.

Give up?

That’s a young Bryan Cranston breaking no so bad.

Hamilton - King Kong Lives

Linda Hamilton – King Kong Lives – 1986

Hamilton capped off 1986 by starring opposite a guy in a gorilla costume in Dino De Laurentii’s sequel to his infamous 1976 King Kong remake, King Kong Lives.  As the title suggests, the big ape somehow survived his fall from the World Trade Center, but he has been in a coma for the last 10 years.  Hamilton played a scientist who has the brilliant idea to revive King Kong with a blood transfusion from another giant ape.  What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

De Laurentii’s Kong remake was a box office hit in spite of bad reviews.  The sequel opened to even worse reviews.  Roger Ebert wrote  “The problem with everyone in King Kong Lives is that they’re in a boring movie, and they know they’re in a boring movie, and they just can’t stir themselves to make an effort.”  This time, the big ape couldn’t overcome the critics.  King Kong Lives flopped.

hamilton - beauty and the beast

Linda Hamilton – Beauty and the Beast – 1987-1989

The following year saw Hamilton cozying up to another furry costar.  On the fantasy TV show, Beauty and the Beast, Hamilton played and assistant district attorney rather than a princess.  She encounters a man-beast named Vincent played by Ron Perlman.  Vincent lived in an underground labyrinth among a secret society of outcasts.  Over the course of the series, Hamilton’s character falls in love with Vincent and he becomes her protector.  Although apparently he wasn’t quite up to the task.  Hamilton’s character was killed off in the show’s abbreviated third season.

Beauty and the Beast was well-received by critics.  Hamilton was nominated for both an Emmy and two Golden Globes.  In 1987, she lost the Golden Globe to Susan Dey.  The next year, she lost to Jill Eikenberry.  Both winning actresses appeared on the courtroom drama, LA Law.  She lost her one Emmy to Dana Delany for China Beach.

Beauty and the Beast was never a mainstream hit.  In it’s highest-rated season, it ranked 49th in the Nielsen ratings.  But it developed a very devoted cult following.

Hamilton decided to leave the show during its third season due to her pregnancy.  The network decided to retool the show in an attempt to attract more male viewers.  Things took a violent turn as a mobster killed off Hamilton’s character after she gave birth to Vincent’s son.  Vincent spent the third season on a quest to save his son and avenge Hamilton’s death.  The new direction alienated the show’s fanbase and it was cancelled in 1990.

In 1989, Hamilton was pregnant and leaving her cult TV show.  Meanwhile, her marriage was dissolving.  According to Hamilton, her husband (actor Bruce Abbott) left her while she was carrying his child.  But Hamilton, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, takes a lot of the blame:

“My first husband had talked me out of it. He loved me when I was the life and soul of the party and even when I was the tragic lost girl. But I was a bully and would throw plates at him. If I was down he would have to be miserable, too. Eventually it became too much and he left me, though he’s my best friend now.”

Linda Hamilton - Mr. Destiny - 1990

Linda Hamilton – Mr. Destiny – 1990

In 1990, Hamilton returned to the big screen opposite James (don’t call me Jim) Belushi in the romantic fantasy, Mr. Destiny.

Belushi played a guy who believes that if he had hit a baseball in a big game as a kid, his whole life could have been improved.  He tells this to a mysterious bartender played by Michael Caine and before you can say “It’s a Wonderful Life”, history has been rewritten.  Belushi hits the ball as a child and somehow this transforms him into a rich man married to Rene Russo.  Hamilton played Belushi’s wife from his previous life whom he tries to win back in his new one

The late 80’s/early 90’s were an odd time.  For whatever reason, Hollywood seemed convinced they could make the late John Belushi’s little brother into a movie star.  During this time, Belushi signaled he was a serious actor by insisting on being billed as James.  Eventually, everyone came to their senses and relegated the lesser Belushi to TV sitcom limbo.

Mr Destiny was Belushi’s bid to be taken seriously as a romantic leading man.  His more famous brother attempted to make the leap to romantic comedies unsuccessfully with Continental Divide.  Mr. Destiny suffered a similar fate.  It was a critical and commercial disappointment.

Next: Terminator 2


Posted on June 15, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 84 Comments.

  1. daffystardust

    She wanted to have a say in whether or not James Cameron should be allowed to not marry her? That sounds healthy.

    I guess the gambit paid off for her in the end.

    Hamilton’s hair bothered the bejeezus out of me all the way until T2.

    That Phil Collins song is the first thing I thought of when you mentioned the name of that movie. Also I predicted it would not be as good as Private Lives. Although Hamilton should definitely not star in any version of Private Lives. No matter how much its plot sounds like her real life.

    …and those are my thoughts on Linda Hamilton…


  2. I hope Linda is happy. It is unfair to expect rational choices from someone who is bi-polar. I have a relative who struggles with this condition on a daily basis. It is extremely difficult not only for for the patient, but also for the people closest to the patient. I think she has done extremely well, especially so, when compare to a supposedly healthy person like myself.

    And she is a cutie after all is said. I think Sara Connor and Ripley should do a movie together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t misinterpret my snarkiness. I wish all my subjects nothing but happiness. Also, and I can never say this enough I guess, anyone I profile has done extremely well. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be a subject of the series. When you take into consideration her condition, her achievements are even more impressive.

      I’d buy a ticket to see Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley together. But only if Cameron directs it.


    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – A Review:

      Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) had been preparing her son John (Edward Furlong) for his important role as future leader of the human resistance against Skynet, the artificial intelligent computer that will lay waste to mankind. However, now John is on his own living with guardians since Sarah got herself locked away in a mental hospital.

      A new present day threat appears in the form of an advanced Terminator (Robert Patrick) that is tasked with the mission to kill John Connor. These terminators just won’t leave the Connor family alone!

      This T-1000 model is composed of liquid metal, so not only is it as strong and unyielding as past terminators, but it can also change appearance to look like anyone it touches! This sounds like it can be a lot of trouble!

      Fortunately, the future John Connor reprogrammed an older T-800 model (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – the same type that has haunted his mother all these years – to protect his young self. From there on out the trio engage in epic battles with the T-1000 and attempt to possibly prevent ‘judgement day’ from ever happening.

      James Cameron returns to the world of killer robots and an apocalyptic destiny with what was at the time the most expensive movie ever made. Looking back on Terminator 2 now it seems like something of a gamble.

      Sure, the original Terminator was a hit in 1984, but it wasn’t such an earth-shattering smash as people might think now when it was first released. It really gained popularity through the years on cable and VHS and a strong devoted fanbase grew out of it. Cameron showed what he could do with a sci-fi sequel with Aliens in 1986. But even so investing over a $100 million budget into a sequel seven years later must of made some studio heads get some sweaty palms at times.

      James Cameron directing Terminator 2 Arnold Schwarzenegger Linda Hamilton
      Luckily Cameron pulled it off and created a movie that was both admired critically and a box office juggernaut. It was the event movie of the summer of 1991. It became a landmark film for the use of its special effects and is arguably one of the greatest sequels ever made.

      I recall the day when T2 (the hip way to refer to this film) came out. It was a day I was due to go on a camping trip. My friend and I made it to the camp grounds that morning and straight away went to the camp office asking where the nearest movie theater in the area was. We got quite a perplexed look. “These kids come all the way here to go camping and are now going to the movies???”.

      He gave us some vague directions and immediately we set out back in the car to find that theater. We watched Terminator 2 with half our camping supplies still loaded in the car. We weren’t disappointed. Seeing T2 became the highlight of that camping trip.

      I’m not going to bother rehashing the story, since if you’re reading this you’re probably already familiar with the film. Arnold is back and humanizes his T-800 a bit more as he becomes a metallic father figure to young John. This was when Arnold was at his height of fame and he was able to be a real presences with very little dialogue. It’s hard to picture anyone else being able to make the role their own as he was able to do.

      Robert Patrick is a threatening villain as the liquid T-1000. He’s got all the nifty shapeshifting abilities which is really cool, but even just his deadly stare and fast walk conveys he is an unstoppable force heading towards you. You would think it might be difficult creating a character who would look like he could hold his own over the gigantic Arnold, but Patrick manages it.

      Linda Hamilton does a complete 180 degree turn by transforming her weak, mild Sarah Connor into a tense raw muscle of a woman. I recall her portrayal of this beefed up Sarah of action got a lot of attention in the media. It is a striking difference to the character from the original film and it’s clear Cameron and Hamilton wanted the character to grow into what would seem to be her natural trajectory. Knowing she’ll be playing an important role in the looming judgement day of course she would quit that waitressing gig. This time around a kid wouldn’t dare put his scoop of ice cream in her pocket!

      The time travel element is played with a bit more in this sequel as the trio makes contract with Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) who’s present day work at Cyberdyne Systems – that ironically centers around a piece of the 1984 T-800 – will lead to Skynet’s creation and the looming Judgment Day. Will destroying all of Dyson’s existing work be enough to change the future? It’s a question that doesn’t get a clear answer.

      Although, in a notorious deleted scene from the end of the film it appears Cameron almost put a definitive end to his Terminator saga with a scene showing the elderly Sarah (Hamilton in terrible old age make-up) informing us that Judgment Day never came. It’s really a pretty bad scene.

      Fortunately Cameron ditched this ending and left things more vague. Of course since a window was left open with the ‘possible’ looming Judgment Day story it has allowed later filmmakers to eagerly jump through it and continue the series.

      There were a few deleted scenes from the movie I really liked. With Arnold having the ability to learn this time around and listening to John’s instructions and using his expressions, I really like the scene of John and Sarah replacing his CPU head chip to make him capable of it. It shows us this will not be the same terminator as before and they have to modify him to be more of a learning computer.

      Later when Arnold uses John’s slang words or learns to look for the keys to a car before he hotwires it now explains a lot. I always thought they shouldn’t have skipped over this cool scene. Without that scene it just says to me that any terminator will learn from human interaction. I sometimes wonder had the 1984 terminator stuck around long enough would he have been so easy to teach? Somehow I can’t picture 1984 Arnold saying ‘Hasta la vista baby” after shooting up the police station and having a big grin on his face. Plus, I love how Sarah wants to destroy the chip as soon as she’s able to.

      Some other short deleted shots near the end of the film is when the T-1000 is malfunctioning at the steel mill and his liquid metal abilities are getting more and more wonky. Not only do the effects look cool, but it also shows Arnold and the gang have done some damage to this thing. Mr. Liquid Metal is no longer working one-hundred percent. They’re both very good deleted scenes and did take a lot of time and effort to film, but I guess for whatever reasons Cameron jettisoned them.

      Besides the intriguing story and compelling heroes we’re rooting for and the villain we’re fearful of there’s of course the special effects and action sequences. Watching it today Terminator 2 still looks like a well polished, big-budget blockbuster that puts most recent ones to shame. I wish there was a way of knowing just how many fans it has gained through the years who weren’t even born when it came out but discovered it years later and made them Terminator fans. The cinematography, sound, the music. The movie continues to age with grace. Almost twenty-five years later the CGI-effects of the T-1000 still are amazing to see. I don’t understand how so much of the CGI special effects we see today look so shabby in comparison to the work that was done in 1991.

      The action sequences are inventive and well choreographed as they unfold. The action and stunts feel real and continue to be impressive. I always wince when the T-1000 throws that truck driver out onto the pavement. That guy lands hard! The night scenes always happen with that metallic blue lighting Cameron always seems to love. I don’t think the mental hospital has one white light in it! There should be a petition for Crayola to make a ‘Cameron blue’ crayon color.

      I always liked the little touches that Cameron sprinkles into an effect or a sequence. The corner piece of the semi-truck that disintegrates from Arnold’s time bubble arrival. The T-1000 briefly glimpsing the silver mannequin in the mall. Arnold’s cool one handed cocking of his shotgun not slowing him up for a second on his motorcycle.

      The T-1000 easily walking through the gated bars at the mental hospital, but his hand holding his gun getting stuck in them and him having to move it to get it through. The spinning, flickering fluorescent light in the elevator as the T-1000 spills through the cracks of the ceiling. The shot off piece of the T-1000’s claw stuck in the car that John tosses back out on the road (I couldn’t have been the only one shouting ‘don’t touch it! when I first saw him do that).

      As much as I like T2, I can find things to complain about. As much as she is a different and interesting Sarah Connor we meet here, Hamilton gets very melodramatic and her dark haunted performance feels a bit too hammy at points. She gets to be too overly intense in certain scenes. Some of her narration and line readings sound too overboard. Furlong isn’t bad, but I thought he gets a bit annoying as things move along. And the T-1000 disappears and his threat gets sidetracked for a bit too long as the Skynet story takes root.

      Some fans have criticized some of the humor that runs throughout the movie, but that never bothered me and I don’t think it’s overdone. It’s the next movie where it really gets out of hand. Although after repeat viewings I now cringe when ‘Bad to the Bone’ comes up on the soundtrack. It’s just such an obvious song choice.

      I still prefer Arnold as a killing terminator whose height of humor is saying ‘Fuck you asshole’ to inquisitive folks and not the more humane T-800 here. Although making him the hero in the story works pretty well. It really helps that he’s up against such a dangerous adversary. And the strange father figure role that John develops for him is believable.

      Comparing the original Terminator to this sequel – I’d say I still prefer the first one. The second is very good. It’s a terrific epic blockbuster of a movie, but there’s something about the low-budget, no-nonsense gritty original that makes me lean to it more. One killer robot chasing a man and woman, intense from beginning to end, no levity present anywhere. I can understand why fans rank the sequel higher and it is a great followup, but I still place the first over the second. It’s just my personal preference.

      This was the height of the Terminator franchise. I think the devoted Terminator fanbase grows out of these first two films and I’m the same way.

      This was when the Terminator name meant something to me. When I saw the title ‘Terminator’ I expected to get top quality sci-fi/action entertainment. It wasn’t going to be a cheap patched together movie. Every element was going to be the best Cameron could possibly make it and he was willing to spend all the money and all the time he was allowed to in order to get it right. And the movie continues to show it decades later.

      After Cameron left the Terminator series that’s when I checked out as well. Of course I’ve seen the subsequent sequels. And there were a few things I liked in them, but once the series lost Cameron’s unique vision and high standards my expectations dropped. Despite all the anticipation and excitement for another entry in the series through the passing years I’ve come to accept I’ve most likely seen the best the Terminator series can offer me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s another subject that I’ve not given much thought to, other than remembering that, the guys in my circle, 1980 or so, all said that she was the “IT” girl. I do recall much attention was paid to her getting in such good shape for the Terminator flicks. Never warmed to her as an actress but don’t have strong negatives either. Def don’t get the hair complaints? It’s long and wavy, the envy of many. Unless you are not a fan of that style. Regardless, Lebeau, no one chronicles pop culture better!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • daffystardust

      Her natural hair is lovely, but most of the time she favored a feathery helmet-head that is the coiffure equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Maybe that’s a generational thing.


    • Oh plenty of people chronicle pop culture better than I do. But I like to think my presentation is uniquely entertaining. Regardless, thanks for the compliment.

      Through the 80s, Hamilton tended to favor a massive helmet o’ hair. That was more in fashion at the time. She moved on with the times. But in some of those Beauty and the Beast pictures, both characters look like they have lion’s manes.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I find it funny (besides the whole Jim Belushi stuff), that Linda Hamilton has worked w/ at least two different James Bonds (Pierce Brosnan in “Dante’s Peak” and Timothy Dalton on “Chuck”). I also find it kind of funny that Linda worked w/ Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first two “Terminator” films and would later play a character on “Batman Beyond” who performs experience on Mr. Freeze (a character that Arnold of course portrayed in “Batman & Robin”).


    The world knows her best as Sarah Connor in the first two installments of the Terminator film franchise. Yet, many people are unaware of Linda Hamilton’s body of work outside the multibillion dollar series. While she embraced a role full of physical and mental strength, she was also not afraid to tackle roles where her characters deal with more real world hardships and personal tragedy. Most of all, it was the struggles in her personal life that drove her performances on the big screen.

    A native of Salisbury, Maryland, Hamilton was born in 1956 as half a twin alongside her sister Leslie as they were two out of four siblings in their household. Her father died in a car accident at age five and soon thereafter her mother remarried to a police chief. To break out of the boring upbringing she had, Hamilton read countless books and eventually found an interest in acting. After high school, Hamilton attended Washington College for two years where she studied acting; however, her inexperience at the time caused her acting professor to discourage her into entering the business and making a living. This only fueled Hamilton’s fire as she quit school to move to New York City and study at the Lee Strasberg Institute.

    Hamilton started out in television roles. Her debut was a guest spot on the short lived Shirley Jones dramedy, Shirley, in 1980 followed by a regular role on a prime-time soap called Secrets of Midland Heights that same year. In 1982, Hamilton made her big screen debut in Nick Castle’s comedy-thriller, Tag: The Assassination Game. She played Susan Swayze, a college student taking part in a campus dart gun game where students are assigned to “kill” each other until one of them takes it one step too far. The killer in the film was played by actor Bruce Abbott who would later marry Hamilton in real life. The film was not a box office hit. But it got Hamilton noticed as Theatre World editor, John A. Willis, named her one of the “Promising New Actors of 1982.” Her next major film role was Vicky Baxter in Children of the Corn which was a bit of a career setback considering its terrible sequels. Though for Hamilton in 1984, luck was about to change.

    When James Cameron wrote The Terminator, the role of Sarah Connor was a 19 year old girl who was “flawed, yet accessible.” Hamilton beat out Rosanna Arquette for the role which had to be adjusted for her as she was 27 when cast. The Terminator was unquestionably a diamond in the rough: A director with only one credit (Piranha 2: The Spawning), a bodybuilder whose casting in the title role was in doubt (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and two unknown leads (Hamilton and Michael Biehn). But Cameron had a relentless dark vision that pushed the limits of his cast and crew to create what would become a sci-fi classic. Hamilton felt the toll of the production when she sprained her ankle before production and some could say she used the physical pain to add to her chaotic chase scenes throughout the film. While Terminator succeeded on a technical level as well as Schwarzengger’s subtle but dangerous performance, it also succeeded as a narrative. Hamilton clearly fit her character’s arc from the typical girl next door to a determined woman accepting her destiny.

    Terminator didn’t necessarily make Hamilton an A-list movie star as it had done for Schwarzenegger; however, it raised her profile in Hollywood. She landed a 4 episode arc as a sexually assaulted woman on Hill Street Blues, a futuristic car thief in Black Moon Rising opposite Tommy Lee Jones, and King Kong’s professional surgeon in the megaflop, King Kong Lives.

    In 1987, Hamilton was cast opposite Ron Perlman in the CBS series, Beauty and the Beast. Unlike the fairy tale with the same title, this new take on it has Hamilton playing a New York attorney who gets attacked in Central Park only to be rescued and cared for by the lion-faced Vincent. The show focused on the characters’ budding romance along with the adventures they have both in New York and the underworld where Vincent came from. Hamilton won praise for her work on the show, earning multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. She would leave the show early in its third year to focus on motherhood, effectively killing her character and eventually the show all together. Other roles she played during the run of the series included Go Towards the Light (A made-for-TV movie about a couple dealing with their son diagnosed with AIDS) and Jim Belushi’s love interest in Mr. Destiny.

    Hamilton reprised Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991. Now she was playing a fully realized version of her character as promised at the end of the original: Tough, determined, and militant. She underwent a serious regimen and physical training to make Sarah Connor into the ultimate female warrior. She also brought family to the project when she had Cameron hired her sister, Leslie, to double for her for stunts as well as when the T-1000 shapes shifts into her near the end. No one knew about this until the behind the scenes video was released a year later. Perhaps the one major aspect of Hamilton’s performance that was praised was her ability to turn Sarah into a much colder character who was devoid of emotion in protecting her son, John Connor. The scene where she attempts to kill Miles Dyson in a Terminator-like fashion only to break down to her vulnerable state in front of John was one of the most powerful scenes in the film. Hamilton just had a way of morphing and evolving her character in different emotional states, sometimes all in one shot.

    T2 brought greater fame to Hamilton who some felt had the potential to be the next big female action star apart from Sigourney Weaver. Hamilton felt during this period that most scripts offered to her were causing her to get typecast and as a result, she lost out on potential roles in Batman Forever, Star Trek: Voyager, and A Few Good Men. Few could see her as anybody except Sarah Connor which was why after the T2 attraction at Universal Studios theme parks she declined reprising the role in T3 and only accepted a voiceover cameo in Terminator Salvation.

    As her marriage to Bruce Abbott ended and a new one began with James Cameron, Hamilton found ways to play against type. She again played a mother with a son diagnosed with AIDS in A Mother’s Prayer which won her a CableACE Award. In 1997, she starred as a town mayor opposite Pierce Brosnan in the volcano flick, Dante’s Peak, and a journalist opposite Charlie Sheen in Shadow Conspiracy. The rest of her credits afterwords were mostly a variety of television movies for Lifetime and guest spots on shows such as Frasier, Weeds, and Chuck where she played the title character’s long lost mother. She also reunited with Ron Perlman in the independent post-Vietnam film, Missing in America.

    Hamilton’s true struggle had nothing to do with killer cyborgs but had to do with her battle with bipolar disorder. She revealed on Larry King Live in 2005 that the illness was the reason for her failed marriages with Abbott and Cameron. She also had a brief addiction to cocaine. Having underwent treatment and special medication, Hamilton has bounced back and has devoted most of her time to children and less to her career. Still though, Hamilton’s performances have been considered an inspiration for many actresses associated in the action film genre from Carrie-Anne Moss to Mila Jovovich. Even fans of The Expendables movies have lobbied for Hamilton to headline an all-female spin-off of the hit franchise. While the Sarah Connor role has been passed on to other actresses from Lena Headey (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) to Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genesis), Hamilton will always be a tough act to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Finally!! A WTHH on Linda Hamilton! Thanks for writing this, I really enjoyed reading it, as usual… 😉
    I still think it is a real shame that she wasn’t able to capitalise on the success of Terminator.
    Also, I am probably one of the few people who really enjoyed her performance in Dante’s Peak. It was actually my favourite disaster movie as a kid.
    Oh well, we’ll always have Sarah Connor.


    • I think Dante’s Peak has its fans. It was a pretty popular movie when it came out. I doubt you’re alone in having a soft spot for it.

      I actually started this article right after the article on Michael Biehn. So it’s been in the hopper for a while. Then the Katherine Heigl article got dropped in my lap followed by Ralph Macchio and then I was out of town on vacation. Before I knew it, three months had gone by! But I was glad to be able to come back and finish it up. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been getting requests for Hamilton for quite some time.

      If nothing else, Hamilton has one of the most iconic roles in cinema on her resume. Not a lot of actors can make that claim. Especially for an actress in the action/sci-fi genre. It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment in and of itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My lord, that Wishman creature is hideous! I can’t look at it too long, for I fear that thing will haunt my nightmares tonight. In what universe did ABC give a hideous creature design like that approval for a potential family-friendly tv series? This one we live in, that’s which one! How insanely bizarre.


    • I know! I get the concept. ET as a TV sitcom is a winning concept. It worked for Alf and to a lesser degree shows like Small Wonder in the 80s. But come on! That thing looks like it walked off a horror movie. ET was ugly/cute. That thing is just disturbing. I’d hate to see the designs they rejected. They should have just paid the extra money and called the Henson company.


    • 8 Bizarre TV Pilots That Were Doomed To Fail


      The first problem with Wishman is that its “lovable protagonist” is in actual fact terrifying. Those are not the eyes of an adorable genetically engineered baby (is it even possible to make the words “adorable” and “genetically engineered” fit together in the same sentence?). They’re the eyes of a psychopathic killer.

      The story centers on a scientist who steals “the beast” (yeah, they actually refer to Wishman as a beast, yet ask us to love him) because he feels bad that it’s about to be murdered and dissected for research purposes.

      Wishman starred Linda Hamilton (of Terminator fame) as the scientist’s wife, and quite frankly she dodged a very weird bullet when it was cancelled.

      The trailer features the line: “Man, if my dog looked like that, I’d shoot it.” It’s supposed to evoke sympathy. All it does is evoke empathy for the person saying it.


  7. Should’ve Been Bigger: Linda Hamilton:

    Linda Hamilton is an icon of feminine ass-kicking. She ran like scared little girl in the first Terminator and played a monster-humping district attorney on television in Beauty and the Beast, but after Terminator 2 she became a symbol for real female action heroes. In fact she still is. Aside from Sigourney Weaver, no other actress has really managed to successfully pull off that kind of character. Others, like Angelina Jolie, have tried. But Jolie’s action characters are pure fantasy. They’re fetish queens in leather outfits or bouncy video game babes without sweat glands. Linda Hamilton in T2 is tough as nails, bad to the bone, and frighteningly real. She gets dirty, disgusting, gritty, and she bathes in brute force. No one else has ever done the bad ass chick thing better.

    You’d think with that kind of reputation, Terminator 2 would have launched Linda Hamilton into a career as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Just imagine her in a female powered version of Die Hard, blowing up terrorists and battling snide, uppity Germans. That’s the kind of movie in which Linda Hamilton belonged. Unfortunately, that never happened. In fact if you ask most people where she is, they’ll probably tell you she retired from acting, or maybe wonder aloud if she might have been killed in some sort of tragic car accident. As it happens, neither of those things is true. Linda Hamilton is alive and well, and what’s more she’s working, churning out dozens and dozens of low-budget movies which nobody has ever heard of, and nobody ever will.

    Where did it all go wrong? Back in 1991 everything was all laid out for her. Terminator 2 was a massive hit, an instant classic, a landmark action movie still revered today by nearly everyone. So is she for that matter. Mentioning Linda Hamilton’s name invariably results nostalgic flashbacks to a time when chicks really knew how to kick some serious robot ass. Linda Hamilton was and is an icon, but for some reason she’s an icon that’s never in anything people might want to watch.

    The reasons for her career cliff dive may have less to do with whether she’s well liked by audiences than it does with Linda herself. In 2005 Linda revealed that she’s bipolar. In fact, she credits it with helping her pull off those rage-babe performances. Speaking to Larry King in 2005 she said, “I think it gave me a wonderful arena in which to act out some of my rage.” But after T2 was over, it wasn’t particularly good for her career. Sarah Connor’s paranoid fear for the safety of her son was soon mirrored in Linda who said she couldn’t leave the house because “I just did not feel that my kids were going to be OK if I wasn’t in the house protecting them.”

    In light of her mental health problems, it’s amazing perhaps that she managed to do anything outside of Terminator, crap or otherwise. After Terminator was over, the closest she got to doing anything else worth watching was Dante’s Peak, but by then it was six years after Terminator 2 and the top billing on Dante’s poster was Pierce Brosnan.

    Now even the Terminator franchise is going on without Hamilton. On television Sarah Connor is played by Lena Headey and in the new movie Terminator Salvation, if Linda Hamilton shows up at all, it’ll only be in a cameo. It’s hard not to wonder what the action world might have been like if Linda Hamilton had been able to live up to her full potential as a proper ass-kicking female hero. Since 1991, we’ve had nothing but poor substitutes. Linda Hamilton should’ve been bigger.


  8. Love your blog. Highlight of my day, easily. Would you ever consider doing a WTHH on either William hurt, James van Der beek or Patrick fugit?


    • Thanks. Glad you like it.

      William Hurt is someone I have considered for a long, long time. Eventually, I expect to write up the entire cast of The Big Chill. So far, I have only written up Tom Berenger. But I will get to them all in time.

      I’m not sure that Van Der Beek or Fugit made enough movies to sustain an article. But you never know. It could happen.


  9. I was looking forward to a Linda Hamilton write up, and this didn’t disappoint. Wow, I didn’t know she did so much animated voice work, especially “Batman: The Animated Series” (I like the vibe of that series). But here’s this: remember when Linda Hamilton attended the Marine corp. ball with a Sergeant named Ray Lewis after Bette White backed out?


  10. Yes, her mental illness and messy divorce from Cameron did her no favors. Rumors that he had her blacklisted persist. But have you seen her in the past few years? All those years of tanning and smoking (not to mention past drug use) have caught up with her. I love her as an actress and in interviews, she seems like a lovely person, but time has not been kind to her once beautiful looks.


    • I don’t believe James Cameron had her blacklisted; I like her and all, but it wasn’t like her career took flight for very long. Just a solid, working actress. Sure, she isn’t the fresh face that she was in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but she’s still Linda Hamilton, and for myself always a welcome presence.


    • After reading what you said Heather, I think that in a way, Linda Hamilton’s career struggles so to speak, could be considered to be somewhat similar or a variant of Kim Basinger’s. Like Linda Hamilton w/ “Terminator 2”, Kim Basinger at one point in her career, happened to star in the biggest movie of its respective year, w/ “Batman”. But for whatever the reasons, both never really properly capitalized off of the momentum (“LA Confidential”, for which Kim won an Oscar for could be added also, since Kim didn’t release another movie for three years afterwards) of those movies. Kim Basinger’s career arguably could’ve turned out better had it not been for her (and I don’t want to say “mental illness”) issues w/ agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder, her nasty divorce from Alec Baldwin, and simply being a “sex symbol” actress who was now over the age of 40.


  11. Don’t get me wrong–I love Linda Hamilton, she’s a fine actress. But when it comes to the physical appearance of older, aging women, Hollywood is not so forgiving.


  12. I own every episode of Beauty and the Beast, and still watch them today. I wii always love Katherine. and Vincent.


  13. Finally got around to reading this because T2 was on TV this weekend, and I had forgotten what a ridiculously great film it is. (Even if the T1000 still scares the bejesus out of me.)

    Some thoughts on this piece:
    1) That is the mother of all fine photos of Donald Sutherland. Hang on, start again …

    1) Linda Hamilton in T2 is one of the great female action characters, as you say.

    2) No matter whether people think she is / was attractive, she was never pretty or beautiful in the way that actresses are expected to be.
    This won’t have helped.

    3) Her greatest role is also one where she’s really quite astonishingly competent at looking after herself and others. This is of course a big no-no in popular film culture, where girlies must be girlies and at some point need protecting by a nice strong man. Else, why do they exist?
    This won’t have helped.

    4) By the sound of it, she’s astonishingly honest about her failings. Unfortunately, there is a strain of man that will take that as meaning, she’s a massive bitch, not worth the effort, don’t go near her.
    This won’t have helped.

    5) The whole Cameron thing, tho’ I’m on team “unlikely he tried to have her blacklisted”, won’t have helped either. The same unimaginative stereotypical soft males as in 4) will not have wanted to use her in case it hacked off Mr.Cameron.
    This won’t have helped.

    So all in all, I suspect that Terminator & its downstream effects probably ruined her prospects, even if it made her name & fortune.

    A shame … I’d have like to see her have a proper career. God knows there aren’t enough women who have had proper action roles, and a good number of them seem to have turned up here in WTTH? articles. 😦


  14. And now the Terminator attraction is gone. Of course, it’ll live on forever through Youtube and other video sites.


    • It still exists in Orlando. For now.

      You got me thinking about a rumor I read just this morning that a fairly substantial Universal Orlando attraction would be replaced soon. I wonder if the clock is ticking for T3-D in Orlando…


  15. LOVE Linda…would be fun to have her as a neighbor—drinkin a beer and havin a barbecue

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 15 Awful Films Terminator Actors Want You To Forget:

    King Kong Lives (1986) – Linda Hamilton

    RottenTomatoes Score: 0%

    The Plot: A sequel to the 1976, Jessica Lange-starring King Kong remake, King Kong Lives sees the giant creature kept alive in a coma by Dr. Amy Franklin (Hamilton), and after hunter Hank “Mitch” Mitchell (Brian Kerwin) captures a large female gorilla to help give Kong enough blood for a heart transplant, Kong and the female escape, wreaking havoc on the world once again.

    Why It Sucks: From its very first moment, this is an outrageously unnecessary, braindead sequel, which while perversely entertaining to an extent, takes itself far too seriously considering the absurdity of its premise and general execution. Furthermore, despite costing $18 million almost 30 years ago, the film looks like garbage, earning a Razzie nomination for Worst Visual Effects, and to rub salt in the wound, it barely recouped 25% of its budget.

    Hamilton and pretty much the entire cast are blatantly taking a paycheck role here: they all look bored, and it’s a shame that, following The Terminator’s success, she decided to opt for such a blatantly ropey follow-up project. Thankfully for Hamilton, she rebounded the next year with the lead role in the Beauty and the Beast TV series, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 1989.


  17. Nostalgia Critic: Children of the Corn (1984)

    Stephen King combines killer kids and corn, because they go so well together?


    • Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: Children of the Corn (1984)

      We’re always so hard on King, but does this movie actually have some moments worth watching? Doug and Rob discuss Children of the Corn.


  18. 10 Franchises That Killed Off The Wrong Person

    Sarah Connor In Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

    Why she shouldn’t have died: The second Terminator film is a classic. Or as close to a classic as a film about time-travelling robots being tossed into lava whilst Guns N’ Roses play in the background is likely to get. James Cameron’s masterpiece is at least partly so iconic thanks to Linda Hamilton’s performance as Sarah Connor, totally transformed from the terrified victim of the first movie.

    Neither Hamilton nor Cameron were on board for the third film, Rise Of The Machines, which meant that one of the coolest female action stars in history was killed off-screen. From leukemia. Kind of a drag.

    Who should’ve died: Apparently Hamilton was approached to appear in the film, but turned it down, saying “I read it and I knew my character arc was so complete in the first two….[in the third one] she died halfway through and there was no time to mourn her.” Which sucks. John Connor should’ve got it in the neck instead. Really mess up the timeline. Looks like Genisys is going for that anyway…




      Linda Hamilton’s absence from the last few Terminator movies shows just how important she is to the franchise. No other actor or actress provides an emotional core to the movies like Hamilton. Each Terminator movie made without her is worse than the last, beginning with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. From there, the series never recovered, reaching its lowest point with 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, which tried to reboot the storyline of the original two films, but was nowhere near as good. Knowing more sequels are planned, we’d much rather be terminated than have to watch them.


      • As much as I like the Sarah Connor character and Linda Hamilton in general, I think that character’s absence from the recent films and their relatively poor showing has more to do with the material. As Lebeau said, the story was essentially told in the first first film. The sequel got away with filling in the blanks because it was so well-crafted, but I just don’t think there is anywhere to go with the story that can rivet an audience, since whatever is applied lacks potency, since we know what’s going to happen.


  19. Good Bad Flicks – Dante’s Peak (1997)


  20. Review: Beauty and the Beast, “Though Lovers Be Lost” and “Walk Slowly”

    Jessica says hello to the third season of Beauty and the Beast, and goodbye to Linda Hamilton. But all is not lost as she’s a fan of the new Beauty Diana, and the focus on a darker side of fairy tales.


    • In 1987, CBS Bowed Beauty and the Beast

      “The writing staff included ‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R.
      Martin and ‘Homeland’ creators Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa: “The
      George R.R. Martin scripts were like John Coltrane on acid — primal,
      but with incredible elegance…”



        Beauty and the Beast (1987-1989)
        Director: Various

        Cast: Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton

        Beastliness Rating of the Beast: 2/5

        Although this goes pretty far afield of the original source material, crafting a character-driven saga that gave Perlman his best role until Hellboy and Hamilton something to do between Terminator films, the TV series is Beauty and the Beast for anyone as devoted to the show as its fans surely are. Although Vincent’s look was definitely beastly, the soft cat-like contours did become familiar and even comforting in time; maybe it was that silky-smooth voice. Controversy erupted when Hamilton left at the end of the second season, forcing the show to replace her and do lasting damage to its ongoing storyline. At its height, the show roped in romantics on a weekly basis and also offered some excellent mythology-building plots for those inclined toward fantasy and action. Plus, Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin wrote for the show as well! A 2012 CW reboot starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan actually outlasted its predecessor by one season.


  21. Linda Hamilton on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Had a Twin


  22. The Terminator Franchise Just Lost One Of Its Main Actors

    The Terminator franchise kicked off in 1984, and while the first two movies are widely acclaimed, its follow-ups didn’t fare nearly as well. The most recent entry, Terminator Genisys, served as a Star Trek-style reboot intended to usher in a new trilogy. Following its less-than-stellar performance in theaters last year, the future of the franchise was already in question, but now it’s suffered a huge loss, as Emilia Clarke, a.k.a. the new Sarah Connor, won’t be returning to the series.

    When asked if she’ll appear in any future Terminator sequels, Clarke told that she would not, making Terminator Genisys her only outing as Sarah Connor. She said:
    No. Can I say that? It’s okay. No. Uh-uh. But I have some very different roles coming up.

    Inheriting role from Linda Hamilton, Emilia Clarke’s Sarah Connor was a big departure from when we met her in the original Terminator movie. Instead of having her first encounter with the robotic killers in 1984, she watched as her parents were killed by a T-1000 as a child, leading her to be raised by a reprogrammed T-800, a.k.a. the Arnold Schwarzenegger model. By the time Kyle Reese arrived in this alternate 1984 to keep her safe, he discovered she was a badass warrior who could handle her own. With Kyle and her T-800 “Guardian,” they fought off Terminator assassins in 1984 and 2017, including her future son, John, who was converted into a T-3000. Sarah made it out of Terminator Genisys alive, but we won’t get to see what the future holds in store for Clarke’s version.

    Even though Emilia Clarke won’t be appearing in more Terminator movies, she still has enough projects keeping her busy for the near future. She is best known for playing Daenerys “Khaleesi” Targaryen on the HBO series Game of Thrones, and she’ll be seen this June as Louisa Clark in Me Before You, an adaptation of the 2012 Jojo Moyes romantic novel. With her costars involved with other big projects, whether it’s Jai Courtney in Suicide Squad or J.K. Simmons in Justice League: Part One, the Terminator ship seems to be slowly sinking.

    Although it grossed over $440 million worldwide, Terminator Genisys failed to earn enough at the box office last summer, and on top of that, it was met with mostly negative reviews from both fans and critics. In January, Paramount finally pulled Terminator 6 from its May 19, 2017 release date and replaced it with Baywatch. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested last month that another Terminator movie could still happen, but Emilia Clarke’s departure indicates that’s even less of a possibility now. Obviously if the series still manages to continue, Sarah Connor will either need to be recast or they’ll have to kill her offscreen again.

    We’ll keep you updated on any other developments regarding the Terminator franchise, but needless to say, Emilia Clarke’s departure doesn’t bode well. Maybe it’s time Paramount close up shop on this property for good, and for added measure, it shouldn’t be rebooted again in 5-10 years time!


    • 10 Sequels That Were Cancelled Due To Box Office Flops

      Terminator Genisys 2

      Emilia Clarke recently announced that she has decided to jump ship from the Terminator: Genisys sequel… but that’s assuming that there was a ship to jump from in the first place. After all, the semi-failure of the first installment in this remake/reboot/sequel didn’t make anywhere near as much as the studio hoped it would – $440 million isn’t terrible, but it’s not Terminator money, is it?

      The poor reviews didn’t help matters, not to mention the fact that the film was unable to work out what it was and tried to be several things at once – the results were confusing, and Clarke – ship-jumper that she is – made for an unbelievable Sarah Connor when compared to Linda Hamilton’s badass incarnation.

      In response to the overtly lackluster response to Genisys, Paramount wiped the 2017 sequel from its release slate, throwing the future of the franchise into contention. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still insisting that another film will happen, but as of right now nothing seems set in stone.

      On the bright side, Genisys – more than any other recent blockbuster, perhaps – gave Hollywood a reason to be scared. It essentially proved that movie-goers are less respondent to arbitrary sequels than they initially thought, even those from popular and established franchises. Time to terminate this one for good.


  23. Holy shit her face? What the hell happened to her? Yes i know she’s older but i’ve seen better faces on a clock. 😦


      • The photo is gone, and that’s okay; everybody gets older (as I have today), and with some their looks change. In my mind, Linda Hamilton will always be attractive. Also, manic depression/bipolar is a rough deal which can test the limits of any individual (even that “Limitless” guy), but especially someone who worked in a public industry.


        • I’m guessing what happened with Linda Hamilton was a combination if aging, smoking, and her mental illness (I mean, if you aren’t in that sound of a mind to begin with, why should it be surprising that you aren’t caring enough for your physical health) playing a major deciding factor.


        • Well said; I can understand why Linda Hamilton played that role in 1995’s “Separate Lives”; that definitely must’ve felt like a personal experience. I’ve seen it (it’s been airing on the Escape channel) and I FEEL that it’s personal.



    THEN: I just finished watching the trailer for the upcoming TERMINATOR: GENISYS. While I’ll resist my temptation to judge too quickly, I will say one thing for sure… Emilia Clarke is no Linda Hamilton! And here we are with another edition of Where in the Horror, and what a perfect time to talk about one of the most badass leading ladies of all time. Yet she wasn’t always the protective Sarah Connor who could kick your ass and not break a sweat. In fact, the talented actress has a very prolific and impressive career which began in the late Seventies. If you are lucky enough, you might have caught her in TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME (1982) which happened to be directed by the one and only Nick Castle. It’s a fun little Eighties gem that is worth hunting down.

    While TAG may have had a little genre cred thanks to Castle directing, it wasn’t until 1984 when action and horror fans got a taste of what she can really do. To start things off, I have to give props to the Stephen King adaptation CHILDREN OF THE CORN directed by Fritz Kiersch. Sure it is not one of the better King novel to screen flicks, but the charisma and down-to-earth beauty of its leading lady really stood out. She was one cinematic scream queen with the ability to add a sense of honesty and heart to her terrorized character. However her next endeavor was the beginning of a modern day icon.

    In THE TERMINATOR, the actress played the damsel in distress almost too well. I’ve heard some say that she is a bit weak in the role, but hell, if Arnold Schwarzenegger was hunting you down you may be a little bit of a wimp too. This classic James Cameron flick is the perfect blend of horror, science fiction and action, complete with a great leading lady, a menacing villain and a fantastically tension filled script. Cameron really knew what the hell he was doing here. It also helped that the lovely Ms. Hamilton shared a remarkable on-screen chemistry with Michael Biehn, which helped up the ante when things got really brutal.

    After that one-two punch of genre goodness, the actress continued to work steadily. She appeared opposite Tommy Lee Jones in BLACK MOON RISING in 1986. That same year she starred opposite a big bad ape in KING KONG LIVES. Okay, it wasn’t necessarily a good movie, but she was worth watching. However, television audiences soon discovered her in a romantically compelling – if a little bizarre – relationship with Ron Perlman in the series “Beauty and the Beast.” While short-lived, the series gained a cult following and any show that stars Hamilton and Perlman has to be worth checking out.

    While Sarah Connor survived in THE TERMINATOR, it wasn’t until TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991) that she simply commanded the screen. In fact, this meaner and leaner take on the character was a landmark for women in film – especially action roles. Along with Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the ALIEN franchise, Hamilton helped pave the way for a modern action star, one where gender didn’t matter. This is one fantastic performance that still holds up to this day. And while Lena Headey was pretty great in the role on the short-lived series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” it is impossible to not think of Hamilton as a mother ready to do battle for her son, as well as the fate of the entire world.

    Since then, Linda Hamilton has worked semi-consistently including such films as SILENT FALL (1994), DANTE’S PEAK (1997) as well as SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET (2001) with Treat Williams. Unfortunately for genre fans she mostly stayed away from horror and science fiction. Thankfully she still embraced the Sarah Connor character in video games and a theme park attraction at Universal Studios, but for this fan, it is a shame that we couldn’t have continued to see her grow in the role.

    NOW: With a ton of TV-movies and appearances, as well as a few modestly budgeted feature films, it seems that Ms. Hamilton is once again gracing all sci-fi fans with her wonderful presence. She has continued to lend her voice to a number of animated series and most recently she appeared in a twelve episode arc of the long running, fan favorite series “Chuck.” As well she added a little spark to SyFy’s “Lost Girl” and “Defiance.” I’m only minimally familiar with each of the series in question because I have yet to watch a single episode of either of them. That may change however thanks to both bringing Linda Hamilton back to action oriented science fiction.

    For fans of funny, the actress also appeared in the campy TV movie from The Asylum entitled “Bermuda Tentacles.” And from what I’ve heard, she couldn’t have been more pleasant and awesome on the set. According to her IMDB page, she is set to star opposite Katee Sackhoff, Gina Carano, Sharni Vinson and Pam Grier in what is currently billed as the “Untitled Adi Shanker Project.” However this project turns out, it is one that will be a must see in my book. Hopefully with “Lost Girl” and “Defiance” – and how awesome would it be to see her in an EXPENDABELLES flick – we will continue to see Linda Hamilton kicking ass and taking names. She will always be my one true Sarah Connor.


  25. Retrospective / Review: Dante’s Peak (1997)


  26. In Defense of Linda Hamilton Arms-Because, It’s Judgment Day

    Recently a colleague was discussing running into an actress at a restaurant in New York. “She looked good,” she said, before adding, “Linda Hamilton arms.” It was unclear whether the comparison to the Terminator star was meant as a dig or a compliment, but I chose to believe it was the latter. Today, August 29, after all, is Judgment Day. To be forever associated with the woman who embodied Sarah Connor, that ’90s Hollywood feminist icon who evolves from a damsel in distress to a powerful force to be reckoned with-the actual mother of the revolution who, on this day in movie history, is responsible for saving the human race-should be an honor. I should know. I, too, have Linda Hamilton arms.


  27. Disappointing career, notwithstanding the fact that she played an iconic role in two movies that millions are still watching today. The truth is most actresses would not want to be known solely for a sci-fi, action or horror film. The only outstanding exception that comes to mind is Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs, if that even counts. Every actress if lucky enough to become a star wants that great romantic lead in a serious dramatic film. Or at least something where your feminity/sex appeal is showcased while still having great material to work with. She never got that, despite the good fortune and potential (attractive plus humility). After the first Terminator, she was doing TV movies then a series for three years, with only 1 other remotely notable big-screen credit (Mr. Destiny) before the sequel. Then after T2 she didn’t do ANYTHING for 3 years, and when she did it was a supporting role in a movie no one saw or heard of. That’s not a good way to follow up a $500 million movie.


  28. I’m guessing that after “Terminator 2”, Linda in a way, had little else to go but downward. Maybe, “T2” typecast her in the public’s eye as a “badass” albeit slightly deranged, action chick (a la Sigourney Weaver in another James Cameron movie, “Aliens”), but this was still during a time in which there weren’t that many female lead action movies or franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was not a star by any means prior to T2. She could’ve become one after that movie because it was seen by so many people. She didn’t even attempt to capitalize on the exposure. She didn’t act again, at all, for 3 whole years. I don’t think she cared about being a star.


      • Yeah, there probably were a lot of other things circling her at the time, plus she didn’t have a ton of luck in films that weren’t The Terminator franchise anyway (I guess “Dante’s Peak” did okay in that regard).


    • Yeah, Dante’s Peak did well and yet it’s her last theatrically released film to date. Inexplicable.

      Her acting is excellent in this clip from A Girl Thing, a made-for-cable movie from 2001:

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not to state the obvious or what has already been said, but “Dante’s Peak” was for all intents and purposes, Linda Hamilton’s “last hurrah” or stab so to speak at being a movie star or marquee name. Had she naturally, been faster to capitalize off of the success of “Terminator 2”, then quite possibly, she would’ve enjoyed much more longevity on the A-list. I don’t know if Linda was simply being extremely picky out of fear of being typecast too much as Sarah Connor, or her bipolar and/or family issues got in the way.

      But at the end of the day, Linda didn’t seem to keep in mind that with audiences have a very short-term memory, especially in regards to actresses. The bottom-line is that once you leave Hollywood for an extended period, it becomes much harder to get back in and enjoy the same type of success as before.

      In a round about way, Linda Hamilton is a one-hit wonder. The first “Terminator” movie from 1984, was profitable (it was more of a “cult hit” like her subsequent “Beauty and the Beast” TV series), but it wasn’t a mega blockbuster like the second movie. And by the the time that she did “Dante’s Peak”, whatever star power (if anything, it was more of a vehicle for Pierce Brosnan to keep him busy in-between Bond movies) that she had left was pretty well in the past.


  29. Actor replacements that totally ruined the movie

    Linda Hamilton to Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor)

    Following in the footsteps of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise was never going to be easy—she gave a performance so layered and compelling that even the most talented of actresses would have struggled to do the character justice. The first to give it a shot was Lena Headey, who was cast as the titular heroine in short lived TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Fox cancelled the show after two seasons citing cost as the reason, leaving Headey’s Game of Thrones colleague Emilia Clarke to carry the torch by reprising the character on the big screen for the first time since Hamilton kicked some serious butt in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

    2015’s Terminator Genisys was heavily criticized for using that old time travel chestnut to rewrite the beginning of the Terminator story to suit the filmmakers’ purposes, though the main problem wasn’t the infuriatingly muddled timeline, it was the casting. Veteran film critic Peter Bradshaw dressed down the whole main cast in his one-star review for The Guardian, calling Emilia Clarke’s take on Connor “uninteresting.”


  30. James Cameron Says Wonder Woman Objectified Its Star, Is a ‘Step Backwards’ From Sarah Connor

    But as wise as Cameron was to go with Schwarzenegger over Simpson for the Terminator, it’s really Hamilton as Sarah Connor who makes Terminator 2 stand out, today especially. Pumped up and utterly uninterested in pleasing anyone, let alone any male gaze, if the character was a rarity back in 1991, she looks shockingly unique now. The only precedent for her, really, was Ripley in Alien, who, five years earlier, Cameron had moved from the sidelines to the centre when he took over from Ridley Scott to direct the sequel, Aliens.

    For all his machismo, Cameron almost invariably puts genuinely tough female characters at the heart of his movies, from Dr Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in The Abyss to Rose (Kate Winslet) in Titanic. So what did he make of the excitement over Wonder Woman?

    “All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”

    So then why are movies still so bad when it comes to depicting truly powerful women?

    For the first time, Cameron is lost for words. “I don’t – I don’t know. There are many women in power in Hollywood and they do get to guide and shape what films get made. I think – no, I can’t account for it. Because how many times do I have to demonstrate the same thing over again? I feel like I’m shouting in a wind tunnel!”


    Cameron doesn’t only enjoy writing strong women – he has quite a habit of marrying them. He has been married five times now, and his previous wives include director Kathryn Bigelow and two women closely involved in the Terminator movies: first, producer Gale Ann Hurd and then Hamilton.

    “Being attracted to strong independent women has the downside that they’re strong independent women – they inherently don’t need you!” he says with a laugh. “Fortunately, I’m married now to a strong independent woman who does believe she needs me.” (Hamilton has a rather different take on why their relationship ended: “The very first night [I moved in with him], I realised I made a mistake,” she said in 2009. “He was the controlling director. The person I’d seen on set came back to life – we’re in his environment, and I didn’t have much of a say-so.”)

    Did he and Hamilton start dating during the filming of T2?

    “Oh no, obviously not. We got involved right after, but, you know, [dating an actor during filming] is a rule I will never break – well, I’m happily married now and it’s going to be for the rest of my life. But that’s a rule you can’t break as a director. As a matter of fact, Suzy and I, we were very attracted to each other when we first met [on Titanic], but we – we …” he breaks off, lost for words again. “I think about 10 seconds after we were done filming, well, you know …”

    Cameron has a daughter with Hamilton and three children with Amis, and the family split their time between New Zealand and Malibu, which sounds idyllic but I can’t imagine being around Cameron is exactly a relaxing experience. “I’m not good at relaxing, that’s true,” he says. “My idea of a vacation is to take the whole family to Tahiti and spend the week doing underwater photography with underwater vehicles.”


  31. Exclusive: Linda Hamilton set to return to #Terminator franchise, James Cameron and @Schwarzenegger also involved


    • Linda Hamilton returning for Terminator 6

      Linda Hamilton is taking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase seriously. 

      The Hollywood Reporter announces that Hamilton is returning to the world of Terminator 25 years after saying goodbye. The actress, who plays Sarah Connor in the sci-fi film franchise, reunites with series creator James Cameron for the sixth Terminator installment being made by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media. 

      Cameron confirmed Hamilton’s return at a private event celebrating the beloved franchise. “As meaningful as she was to gender and action stars everywhere back then, it’s going to make a huge statement to have that seasoned warrior that she’s become return,” the filmmaker said. 

      Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller is set to direct the upcoming Terminator pic, which heads back to the franchise’s roots by having both Cameron and Hamilton involved for the first time since Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991. The pair, who were married to each other back in the 1990s, weren’t a part of the 2003, 2009, or 2015 installments. 

      The new film, set for domestic distribution with Paramount with Fox handling it internationally, is also based on a story created by Cameron. Cameron and Miller brought together a writers room to work out what’s intended to be a new trilogy that can stand separately as single movies or be viewed as an overarching story when looked at from a broader perspective. David Goyer of Blade and Christopher Nolan’s Batman series notoriety, Dark Angels co-creator Charles Eglee, and Terminator television spinoff creator Josh Friedman were all a part of that room. 

      Hamilton joins Schwarznegger, who plays the epic hero and the nefarious bad guy all wrapped up in one as the killer robot from the future. His involvement with the film was confirmed last month. With Cameron, Schwarzenegger, and now Hamilton attached, the impending Terminator film will have its original creative team once again. 

      Plot details are presumably under tight security at Cyberdyne Systems, but with Hamilton coming back to the Terminator series, Cameron hopes to make a statement on gender roles and stereotypes prevalent in modern action movies. He referenced the fact that older male actors are still anchoring movies and are “out there killing bad guys,” but there “isn’t an example of that for women.” It appears that Hamilton’s now-aged-up Sarah Connor could be an illustration of just that. 

      Additionally, Cameron and Miller are reportedly treating the movie as a “direct sequel” to Judgement Day, with a new generation of characters mixed in. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story,” Cameron said. “We still fold time. We will have characters from the future and the present. There will be mostly new characters, but we’ll have Arnold and Linda’s characters to anchor it.”


    • Terminator 6: How James Cameron Convinced Linda Hamilton to Return

      James Cameron discusses the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor for Terminator 6 and why it’s such a big deal for action films.


    • Time to re-Terminated!


  32. Yes, a new new reboot is coming with Linda Hamilton and Arnold so prepare to update this great post! 😍


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