While still a child, Linda Hunt decided to become an actress, and began taking drama lessons at age 13. As she was quite small (4'9") and not a great beauty, she also studied directing, in case she never landed any acting roles. Hunt majored in directing at the prestigious Goodman Theater School in Chicago, and went on to spend several years in New York, working as a stage manager, director, and occasionally as an actress; during some of that time she worked in alternative theater with companies such as La Mama and the Open Theater. Following years of getting bit parts and directing for a children's theater, Hunt finally started landing good roles and ultimately won two Obie awards and a Tony nomination. She debuted onscreen in Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), but it was her second film, The Year of Living Dangerously (1983), that made her internationally known; for her portrayal of a male Indonesian dwarf, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She went on to have a fairly busy and successful film career as a character and supporting actress, often winning raves for her performances.