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Linda Purl
Linda Purl in 2010
Born (1955-09-02) September 2, 1955 (age 66)
EducationFinch College
Alma materLee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
OccupationActress and singer
Years active1966–present
(m. 1979; div. 1980)

(m. 1988, divorced)

(m. 1993, divorced)

James Vinson Adams
(m. 2006, divorced)

Linda Purl (born September 2, 1955)[1] is an American actress and singer, known for her roles as Ashley (Fonzie's girlfriend) on Happy Days (she originally played Gloria as Richie’s date in season 2 episode 6), Sheila Munroe in the 1982 horror film Visiting Hours, Pam Beesly's mother Helene in The Office, and Ben Matlock's daughter Charlene Matlock for the first season of the television series Matlock.

Early life

Purl was born in Greenwich, Connecticut,[1] to chemical-industry executive Raymond Charles Arthur Purl and Marshelline "Marshie" Purl.[1][2] She has a sister, Mara.[1][2] The girls' grandmother, Beatrice Saville, was a founder of the Actors' Equity Association.[3] At age five,[3] Purl moved with her family to Japan, where her father worked for Nippon Unicar.[2] She spent her childhood there, and trained in acting at the Toho Geino Academy.[4] While at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, Purl performed in several plays, gaining the role of Louis in The King and I, Bet in Oliver!, and Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. Furthermore, she was discovered by Toho and appeared in several films.[3]

At age 15, Purl returned to the United States.[3] She attended high school at Wykeham Rise School, a private boarding school for girls, specializing in creative and performing arts, in Washington, Connecticut. While still in high school, she had a role on the soap opera The Secret Storm. After attending Finch College,[citation needed] Purl went to England to study under Marguerite Beale[citation needed] before returning to the United States to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and later with Robert Lewis.[citation needed]

Acting career


After playing a small role in Jory (1973), Purl's first major movie role was in Jonathan Demme's 1975 comedy, Crazy Mama. Subsequent movie appearances have included W.C. Fields and Me (1976), Young Pioneers' Christmas (1976), Leo and Loree (1980), Visiting Hours (1982), The High Country (1984), Viper (1988), Natural Causes (1994), Mighty Joe Young (1998), The Perfect Tenant (2000), and Fear of the Dark (2003).


Linda Purl has played several roles in television series, starting with The Secret Storm – a daytime "soap opera" drama (1973–1974). In 1978, she appeared as newlywed Molly Beaton in the ABC western drama series The Young Pioneers, set in the Dakota Territory of the 1870s and based on the novels of Rose Wilder Lane. She also acted alongside Shaun Cassidy in the 1979 TV movie Like Normal People. Also in 1979, she starred in "Women at West Point."[5] On Happy Days she played two different roles: Richie's occasional girlfriend Gloria in season two of the show (1974) and Fonzie's steady girlfriend Ashley eight seasons later (1982–1983). She also played secret agent Kate Del'Amico in the short-lived series Under Cover and played Brett Robin in the 1994–1995 series Robin's Hoods.

She has also featured in many movies made for television, including Testimony of Two Men, The Night the City Screamed, Little Ladies of the Night, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs. She voiced Delilah in a 1985 direct-to-video episode of The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.

Purl appeared in an all-star cast in the well-regarded historical-biographical TV mini-series Eleanor and Franklin in 1976, broadcast on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network. Here she portrayed Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.

As a guest star, Purl appeared in a 1974 episode of the long-running Hawaiian-locale Hawaii Five-O called "The Hostage", as teenage babysitter "Ruth" held captive by a deranged veteran. She played two different roles on The Waltons; early in its run, in 1974 when she played sophisticate Alicia in the season three episode "The Spoilers", and in the season five episode "The Heartbreaker" (1977), when she played Mary Ellen's sister-in-law (and Jason's love interest) Vanessa and sang a couple songs in the episode. In 1981, she starred in Manions of America. In 1984, she played Nydia, the blind flower girl in the miniseries "The Last Days of Pompeii". In 1985, she appeared in a Murder, She Wrote episode entitled "Murder at the Oasis". In 1988, she again made an appearance on Murder, She Wrote in the episode "Mourning Among The Wisterias" and in 1993, appeared for a third time on the series in "Dead Eye". In the first season of Matlock (1986–1987), (starring long-time comedy actor Andy Griffith, now in a usually dramatic role), Purl played Charlene, Ben Matlock's lawyer daughter. She was cast in the series First Monday (2002) as Sarah Novelli, a real estate agent and Justice Joseph Novelli's wife.

Purl appeared in the role of Pam Beesly's mother on NBC's The Office TV series, starting with the season six episode "Niagara" in 2009–2010.[6] Purl appeared in several more episodes throughout the series and was a romantic interest for Steve Carell's character. In May 2010, she made a guest appearance on Desperate Housewives. In 2011, Purl made guest appearances on Showtime's Homeland, playing Elizabeth Gaines. She played Barbara Pelt, mother of Debbie Pelt, in two episodes of HBO's True Blood in 2012. In 2017, Purl appeared in one episode of Designated Survivor, playing an old college supervisor of President Kirkman who assists in appointing nominees to the Supreme Court in the episode "The Ninth Seat".


Purl has been a regular performer (and was in the original cast) of international touring play Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners. In November 2007, she appeared at the Théâtre Princesse Grace, Monte Carlo, directed by Marc Sinden, as part of Sinden's British Theatre Season, Monaco.

In 2008, Purl opened at the Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, Ohio in a production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, playing Amanda.


Purl launched a jazz music career after leaving Matlock and has released several albums of music, including Out of This World – Live.

Personal life

Purl has been married four times. Her first marriage was in 1979 to Desi Arnaz Jr., son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.[7] On January 3, 1980, Purl filed for divorce, which was finalized later that year.[8] On November 5, 1988, she married screenwriter William Broyles Jr.,[9] whom she later divorced.[10] On July 23, 1993, Purl married British screenwriter and producer Alexander Cary, Master of Falkland,[11] with whom she has a son, Lucius, born February 6, 1995.[12] They later divorced. On July 15, 2006 she married James Vinson Adams. They divorced.[13] She is currently in a relationship with Patrick Duffy.[14]



Year Film Role Notes
1970 Aru heishe no kake Rose Allen
1973 Jory Amy Barron
1975 Crazy Mama Cheryl Stokes
1980 Leo and Loree Loree
1981 The High Country Kathy
1982 Visiting Hours Sheila Munroe
1988 Viper Laura Macalla
1992 Body Language Norma Suffield
1994 Natural Causes Jessie MacCarthy
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Eleanor Porter
1998 Mighty Joe Young Dr. Ruth Young
2000 The Perfect Tenant Jessica Michaels
2003 Fear of the Dark Sandy Billings
2016 Bender Mrs. Thomas
20?? The Swing of Things Sherry Fairfax-Rothstein Filming
2020 Broken Halos Blondie


Year Film Role Notes
1973–74 The Secret Storm Doreen Post TV series
1974 Lucas Tanner Diane "Thirteen Going on Twenty"
1974 Sons and Daughters Julie Ashley "The Pregnancy"
1974 Happy Days Gloria Guest role (season 2)
1974 The Waltons Alicia Hanover "The Spoilers"
1975 Hawaii Five-O Ruth "The Hostage"
1975 Medical Center Leslie "Street Girl"
1975 Beacon Hill Betsy Bullock Main role
1975 Medical Story Kim "Us Against the World"
1976 The Oregon Trail Deborah Randal "Pilot"
1976 Young Pioneers Molly Beaton TV film
1976 State Fair Bobbie Jean Shaw TV film
1976 Julie Farr, M.D. Laura Gorman TV film
1976 Young Pioneers' Christmas Molly Beaton TV film
1976 Eleanor and Franklin Alice Roosevelt (age 14-20) "1.1", "1.2"
1977 Serpico Magda "Sanctuary"
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Hailey Atkins TV film
1977 The Waltons Vanessa "The Heartbreaker"
1977 Testimony of Two Men Mavis Eaton TV miniseries
1977 Black Market Baby Anne Macarino TV film
1978 The Young Pioneers Molly Beaton TV miniseries
1979 A Last Cry for Help Sharon Muir TV film
1979 Women at West Point Jennifer Scott TV film
1979 Like Normal People Virginia Rae Hensler TV film
1979 The Flame Is Love Emmaline Nevada 'Vada' Holtz TV film
1980 The Night the City Screamed Brenda Farrell TV film
1981 The Adventures of Nellie Bly Nellie Bly TV film
1981 The Manions of America Deirdre O'Manion TV miniseries
1982 Money on the Side Annie Gilson TV film
1982–83 Happy Days Ashley Pfister Main role (season 10)
1984 The Last Days of Pompeii Nydia TV miniseries
1985 The Love Boat Anne Lester 2 episodes
1985 Midas Valley Sarah Corey TV film
1985 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Lisa Tate "Revenge"
1985 The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible Delilah "Samson and Delilah"
1985 Murder, She Wrote Terry Shannon "Murder at the Oasis"
1986 Outrage! Arlene Robbins TV film
1986 Pleasures Eve Harper TV film
1986 Dark Mansions Shellane Victor TV film
1986–87 Matlock Charlene Matlock Main role (season 1)
1987 In Self Defense Susan Andrews TV film
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Judith "Day to Day"
1988 Addicted to His Love Cassie Robbins TV film
1988 Murder, She Wrote Crystal Wendle "Mourning Among the Wisterias"
1988 Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs Beverly TV film
1989 Trying Times Laura "The Sad Professor"
1990 Timeless Tales from Hallmark Rapunzel (voice) "Rapunzel"
1990 Web of Deceit Lauren Hale TV film
1991 Under Cover Kate Del'Amico Main role
1992 Secrets Jane Adams TV film
1992 Jack's Place Nicolette "I See Cupid, I See France"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Laura Callan "Dead Eye"
1993 The Hidden Room Kate Richards "Her Life as a Dog"
1994 Accidental Meeting Maryanne Bellmann TV film
1994 Burke's Law Kelly Harris "Who Killed the Legal Eagle?"
1994 Incident at Deception Ridge Helen Davis TV film
1994–95 Robin's Hoods Brett Robin Main role
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Eleanor Porter TV film
1997 Crisis Center Lynn Maxfield "It's a Family Affair"
1997 The Absolute Truth Jean Douglas TV film
1998 Walker, Texas Ranger Barbara Conway "Crusader"
1998 Touched by an Angel Sally "Flights of Angels"
1999 Holy Joe Joan Wolrod TV film
2000 Port Charles Claire Wright Guest role
2002 First Monday Sarah Novelli Main role
2003 Frozen Impact Dr. Christy Blanchard TV film
2003 Crossing Jordan Joan "Conspiracy"
2004 Stranger at the Door Kathleen Norris TV film
2005 Cold Case Diane Moore "Schadenfreude"
2005 Criminal Intent Kirsten Sorensen TV film
2006 Maid of Honor Laci Collins TV film
2009 Bones Mrs. Diana Annenberg "The Doctor in the Den"
2009–2011 The Office Helene Beesly Recurring role (seasons 6–7)
2010 Desperate Housewives Lillian Allen "A Little Night Music"
2010 Criminal Minds Colleen Everson "Our Darkest Hour"
2010 Lie to Me Meredith Spencer "In the Red"
2011 Homeland Elizabeth Gaines "Semper I", "Achilles Heel", "Marine One"
2012 True Blood Barbara Pelt "Whatever I Am, You Made Me", "We'll Meet Again"
2012 Stalked at 17 Lauren TV film
2014 Major Crimes Doris "Flight Risk"
2014 Reckless Barbara Fortnum "Blind Sides", "Deep Waters", "51%", "And So It Begins"
2017 Designated Survivor Julia Rombauer "The Ninth Seat"
2018 The Oath Gwenn Hammond Recurring role
2018 Code Black Madeline Mandel "Change of Heart"

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Linda Purl Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Raymond Charles Arthur Purl (1915–2015) [death notice]". The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. February 15, 2015. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Introducing Linda Purl (Doreen Post on The Secret Storm)", Daytime TV, November 1973
  4. ^ "Linda Purl". Linda Purl. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  5. ^ "Movie Tells Story of Westpoint Women". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Ausiello. "'Office' exclusive: Meet Pam's mom!". Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  7. ^ Kanfer, Stefan (2007). Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 290. ISBN 9780307424914. Desi Jr. had married an aspiring actress, Linda Purl, in 1979. ... A year later, Desi Jr. and Linda divorced.
  8. ^ Harris, Warren G. (1991). Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple. Simon & Schuster. p. 595. ISBN 978-0671747091. ...lasted a few days short of one year. Linda filed for divorce on January 3, 1980.
  9. ^ Brown, Caroline (November 8, 1988). "Hollywood Couple Purl-Broyles Married in Candlelight Ceremony". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. Colorado. p. 43. Retrieved November 5, 2020. Linda Purl was a radiant bride Saturday....
  10. ^ Cartwright, Gary (March 2002). "Bill Broyles, as Ever, at War". Texas Monthly. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. He began dating Linda Purl.... After a whirlwind romance, they married and bought a home in Pacific Palisades. But the marriage didn't last.
  11. ^ "Biographical Summaries of Notable People: Alexander Cary, Master of Falkland". Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Levins, Harry (February 17, 1995). "People". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri. p. 2. Retrieved November 5, 2020. Actress Linda Purl, 39, gave birth Feb. 6 to a son with an unending name: Lucius Jackson Arthur Plantagenet Cary. Her husband is screenwriter Alexander Cary.
  13. ^ "Biographical Summaries of Notable People: James Vinson Adams". Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  14. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 4 January 2022, at 17:30
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