"Rumors don't bother me. I learned long ago to disregard them." - Linda Darnell
Linda Darnell was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell on October 16, 1923, in Dallas, Texas. When she was a child Linda worked as a model and appeared in local stage productions. Linda's mother became obsessed with making her a star. A Hollywood talent scout got Linda a screen test in 1937 but when the studio discovered that Linda was only thirteen they sent her home. Two years later she was offered a contract with 20th Century Fox. Linda's first starring role was in the 1940 drama Star Dust. The movie was loosely based on her own life. Over the next decade she appeared in many successful films including Blood And Sand and The Mark Of Zorro.
Linda married J. Peverell Marley, a cameraman, in 1944. That same year Look magazine named her one of the four most beautiful women in the world. In 1947 Linda was cast in the lead role in the highly anticipated film Forever Amber. The movie got a lot of publicity but it failed to live up to expectations. Linda and J. Peverell adopted a daughter, Lola, in 1948. During the making of the 1949 film A Letter To Three Wives Linda began a tumultuous affair with director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Linda divorced J. Peverell in 1952. Her second marriage, to brewery heir Phillip Liebmann, lasted only a year. In 1957 she married Merle Robertson, an airline pilot, and decided to take a break from making movies.
Linda made occasional appearances on television shows like What's My Line. She and Merle divorced in 1962. By this time Linda had a serious drinking problem and was close to bankruptcy. She wanted to make a comeback and landed a role in the 1965 western Black Spurs. In April 1965 Linda went to Illinois to visit a friend. On April 9 she watched Star Dust on television and went to sleep. During the night the house caught on fire and Linda was burned over eighty percent of her body. She died the next day from her injuries. Linda was just forty-one years old. She was cremated and her ashes were buried at Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.