Linda Watkins (born May 23, 1908 – October 31, 1976) was an
actress in theater, motion pictures, and television. She was born Linda Mathews
Watkins in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gardiner and Elizabeth R.
At the age of sixteen Watkins' parents sent her to study at
the Theatre Guild. After six months she began to appear with the guild's summer
repertory program in Scarborough, New York. Instead of finishing her studies at
the guild, she pursued a job at the office of Charles Hopkins. When he asked
Watkins if she preferred playing comedy or drama, she replied,
"Tragedy." He was casting for a comedy production and Watkins was
offered the lead role
She debuted in movies in Sob Sister (1931), a film in which
she plays a female reporter. Reviewer Muriel Babcock remarked that Watkins
"is cool, blond, poised, good to look upon. She plays the title role with
admirable restraint and gives every evidence of being a comer in films."
Her second movie was Good Sport (1931), a screen adaptation
of a story by William J. Hurlbut. Produced by the Fox Film Company, Watkins
depicts Marilyn Parker, a naive wife caught up in a love triangle. Her co-stars
were Alan Dinehart and John Boles. She appeared in Charlie Chan's Chance, a
lost 1932 film starring Warner Oland as the famous detective. Edmund Lowe and
Watkins co-starred in Cheaters at Play (1932). Directed for Fox by Kenneth
MacKenna, the motion picture was adapted from a story by Gene Towne. In 1938,
Watkins also screen tested for the part of Scarlet O'Hara in the forthcoming
Gone With The Wind (1939), however she was not selected.
Watkins married film boards' lawyer, Gabriel L. Hess, at the
Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, on January 28, 1932. Hess was attorney for Will
Hays and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. He got his
start in the movie business with Samuel Goldwyn and Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Watkins was a close friend of Hess' first wife, Katherine Hawley. She was one of
the first to send sympathy when Hawley was thrown from a horse and killed.
Watkins and Hess had a son, Adam Hess, who was an attorney and secretary for
the Aetna until his death in 1969; he left three daughters, Elizabeth, Faye,
and Emily, the only grandchildren of Watkins. Watkins obtained her release from
Fox prior to her marriage. A later romance with actor Tom Drake ended in 1959.
Linda Watkins died in Los Angeles in 1976.