WCW: Laura Linney


Though the list of her historical films and TV shows is fairly short, Laura Linney is one of this age’s greatest actresses and we figured it was high time to celebrate her contributions to the historical flick list!


Class of ’61 (1993)

Clive Owen? And the costumes look like they don’t suck? Sign me up!


Truman Show (1998)

Ok, it’s technically not a period piece in the strictest sense of the term. But it’s close enough! Laura Linney plays Meryl Burbank, wife of the eponymous Truman.


The House of Mirth (2000)

Linney plays Bertha Dorset, an amoral and adulterous woman who drives the heroine into a series of increasingly fatal moral choices.


Kinsey (2004)

Her performance as Kinsey’s wife and co-researcher, Clara “Mac” McMillen won Linney an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


John Adams (2008)

Check out our series on John Adams, if you want to know more about the costuming. Laura Linney plays Abigail Adams, wife of the second POTUS.


Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

In Hyde Park on Hudson, Linney plays Daisey Suckley, a distant cousin of FDR’s (played by Bill Murray). There’s very little evidence that Suckley was the president’s mistress in real life.


Mr. Holmes (2015)

Appearing opposite Sir Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes, Linney plays his housekeeper, Mrs. Munro.


Genius (2016)

Linney plays Louise Saunders, wife of Max Perkins, the publisher responsible for discovering F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway, among others.



What’s your favorite film starring Laura Linney? Share it with us in the comments!


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

16 Responses

  1. susan l eiffert

    I agree she’s a brilliant actress – the kind whose acting doesn’t ‘show’. I worked in a boutique cheese shop years ago that celebrities frequented. We employees didn’t acknowledge them as such, but this was the one time I had to speak up and tell her I admired her work. She shyly cocked her head and just said ‘thank you”. (I know, what the hell else is she supposed to say?)

  2. Tricia

    I just love this list!! Sinc3 I finished Amazon and Netflix, I have been looking for new pieces!!! Thank you!! Keep them coming!!

  3. Constance

    I like House of Mirth and she was very good as the bad woman…and she was bad, in that she was out to hurt and humiliate Lily to serve her own ends.

  4. Lily Lotus Rose

    She is a very talented actress, and she picks great projects. Aside from John Adams being excellent overall, I really admired her willingness to be unglamorous in that role, especially as Abigail Adams aged. Mr. Holmes is a wonderful film, and she was wonderful in it—yet again willing to be unglamorous.

  5. Saraquill

    Not a frock flick, but I remember her best in The Squid and the Whale.

  6. Trystan L. Bass

    I know it’s 1970s & that’s post-period for us, but I’d have included Tales of the City (I mean, really, you included The Truman Show which is only 1950s-ish ;-). LOVE the series & the books.

    • Kate Dominguez

      I loved House of Mirth and John Adams and she was great in both. Something about her rubs me the wrong way though, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I first saw her in Man of the Year and Love Actually, both of which were billed as comedies, but weren’t really. Or, at least, her story line in Love Actually wasn’t. There’s something about her expressions that looks… Smug, I guess? Similar expression to Laura Dern.

  7. M.E. Lawrence

    I’d actually like to see Linney do more villainous roles. She played the gangster’s (Sean Penn) wife in “Mystic River” and was fab–sort of a NorEast Lady Macbeth. Not costume, though, sadly. Meanwhile, Covid Don is gone, science has returned to the White House, I’m full of champagne, and I am happy.

  8. SarahV

    I’ve been fangurling Laura Linney ever since Tales of the City.

    She also has just about the most beautiful head hair in show business, second to only to Connie Britton.