Linda Carroll Hamilton (born September 26, 1956) is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Sarah Connor in The Terminator and its sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Catherine Chandler in the television series Beauty and the Beast, for which she was nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy.
Hamilton was born in Salisbury, Maryland to a physician father who died in a car accident when she was five. Hamilton has an identical twin sister, one older sister and one younger brother. She has said that she was raised in a "very boring, white Anglo-Saxon" family, and "voraciously read books" during her spare time. Hamilton went to Wicomico Junior High (now Wicomico Middle School) and Wicomico High School in Salisbury, Maryland, with her twin sister, Leslie. She studied for two years at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, before moving on to acting studies in New York City. While attending Washington College, her acting professor told her she had no hope of earning a living as an actress. In New York she attended acting workshops given by Lee Strasberg.
Hamilton's acting debut came first with guest starring appearances on television, followed by a major role as Lisa Rogers in the prime-time soap opera Secrets of Midland Heights (1980).