Born in Dallas, Texas and one of five children, Darnell was a model by the age of 11 and was acting in theater by the age of 13. She was chosen by a talent scout to go to Hollywood but was sent home to Dallas when they discovered she had lied about her age.
By 1939 she had returned to Hollywood and immediately began to secure good roles, appearing in such films as Blood and Sand, Hangover Square and My Darling Clementine. In 1947 she won the starring role in the highly anticipated Forever Amber. Publicity at the time suggested this would be the next Gone With The Wind, and the search for Amber was deliberately modelled on the extensive process that led to the casting of Scarlett O'Hara, but the film did not live up to its hype.
Darnell played two roles that earned her respect as an actress: as Daphne De Carter in the Preston Sturges comedy Unfaithfully Yours, opposite Rex Harrison, and as one of the three wives in A Letter to Three Wives. Darnell's hard-edged performance in the latter won her the best reviews of her career. She was widely tipped to win an Academy Award nomination for this part, but, when this did not happen, her career began to diminish and her film appearances were sporadic thereafter.
She died from burns received in a house fire in Chicago, Illinois. One of her old films was playing on television the night of the fire and Darnell fell asleep with a lit cigarette while watching it. She is buried in the Union Hill Cemetery, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1631 Vine St.
Linda Darnell Facts
|Monetta Eloyse Darnell
|October 16, 1923
|Dallas, Texas, USA
|Date of death
|April 10, 1965 (age 41)
|Blackbeard The Pirate
|Song Of Bernadette, The
|The Mark Of Zorro
|My Darling Clementine
|A Letter To Three Wives
|An Affair to Remember / Leave Her to Heaven / A Letter to Three Wives / Peyton Place