Visiting Hours

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Unsung Heroines of Horror: Linda Purl

Published February 22, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

One perk of being a freelance entertainment writer is being able to spend a moment or two with performers who have meant something to you over the years. Illustrating this concept, I grew up watching actress Linda Purl on various movies of the week and television shows. As with many of the artists that I followed in my small-town youth, she personified hope. She was living proof that creative worlds existed far outside the seemingly narrow confines of my very sheltered, seemingly unworldly circumstances. Nicely, during my stint as the Midwest online theater editor for Sheridan Road Magazine, I was able to briefly interview Purl.

Of course, one of the negatives of journalism is that, over the years, certain online pieces are archived or erased completely from existence. This was the case with my mini-chat with Purl. But with another birthday approaching and the isolation of COVID still maintaining a strangle hold on most socialization efforts, my nostalgia has, unsurprisingly, been in full bloom. Thus, I have decided to revive that long ago conversation here.

This feels especially appropriate as Purl has given strong performances in two of my favored terror efforts. The clipped strength she provides as Nurse Sheila Monroe in the 1982 slasher effort Visiting Hours nicely balances out the misogynistically violent actions of Michael Ironside’s villain with a powerful feministic glow. Interestingly, she, herself, provided a sense of delicious glee, ten years later, in a role that completely reversed the more honorable characteristics of Monroe. As Norma in Body Language, she archly presents that character’s over-the-top psychotic energy, seducing and bludgeoning her victims with succinct forthrightness.

As a lover of the arts, I probably admire this fine performer’s dedication to traditional thespianism the most, though. Therefore, I am glad to present this exploration of her show business roots from the fall of 2012, here, in its (short but sweet) entirety.

From Sheridan Road Magazine – 10/2012.

“Meanwhile, the news of the Goodman Theatre’s ( upcoming production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, starring Diane Lane, is proving to be one of Chicago’s hottest tickets of the fall theatre season. Williams, best known for uncovering the emotional ravages of the heart, dealt with class issues in his prime works, as well. Sheridan Road was lucky enough to catch up with deservedly popular actress Linda Purl at the Hollywood Show ( in Rosemont, this past weekend. The amazingly eclectic Purl, currently enjoying success with her versatile roles on The Office and True Blood, revealed she is a theater artist, at heart, in our brief conversation. The generous singer-actress also, mentions a very personal connection with Williams, one of history’s greatest playwrights.

Sheridan Road: It’s very apparent from your detailed, layered work on camera that the theater is very close to your heart.

Linda Purl: True. I grew up in Japan and my parents and I attended a lot of theatre. We would perform summer stock in the living room together – that was our family glue.

SR: That’s an amazing memory. Is there a particular play that you’ve done that stands out as a favorite?

LP: I have two. (Thinking a moment. Then, happily -) No. Three! There’s a beautiful play called the Baby Dance. We performed it in LA at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut. We, eventually, got it to Off-Broadway.  Then there’s The Road to Mecca – with Julie Harris! – Which speaks for itself. Then – playing Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.

SR: Tennessee Williams’ master work!

LP: I knew him. Tennessee Williams had lived with us, briefly, when I was a child. – It’s a perfect play, as close to doing opera as you can get with a drama.

SR: Were the emotional places that Blanche descends into challenging for you as an actress?

LP: The play supports you fully on your journey. But, it’s daunting – you have to dig down deep.

SR: How long did you perform the role?

LP: Three months…I wasn’t ready for it to close.

SR: That’s understandable. Anyone who was lucky enough to witness your perfect, tender take on the ballad “This Time Tomorrow” from Tom Sawyer on Broadway knows you are a cabaret artist of note. I understand that you have a new show opening this fall.

LP: Yes, Midnight Caravans…Travels Through the Great New York Nightclubs will open at Feinstein’s in New York City on September 30th. We have Tedd Firth, a brilliant young musical director, and Desi Arnaz, Jr, is flying into do percussion. He is just so talented, so gifted and I am so grateful that he willing to be a part of this project with me. The first night, a portion of the proceeds will go the Actors Fund, a charity that is very close to my heart, as well.

SR: A perfect example of how art can entertain and benefit society, as well. You have such a vast body of work – from mini-series to comedies to drama – and every person probably has their personal favorite. Is there a television or film project that is close your heart?

LP; I loved doing Like Normal People.

SR: The television film with Shaun Cassidy! You’re amazing in that. It’s, also, a project about the social injustice of the handicapped that everyone should check it out, if they haven’t!”

Fortunately, while it is too late to attend that version of Midnight Caravans, Purl does offer up a recorded tribute to that show at Linda Purl – An American Actress & Singer. You can sign up there to receive notifications of all her future projects, as well.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Music To Make Horror Movies By: Linda Purl

Published April 30, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

linda purl vh

The dreamy Linda Purl survived a vicious attack from Michael Ironside’s misogynistic killer in the semi-classic slasher Visiting Hours.

Known for the more refined atmosphere of the stage and weepy television flicks, the eclectic Purl also is a cabaret singer of note. Here, her subtle yet commanding take on Kurt Weill’s My Ship proves to be a real winner.

Until next we meet at that dock of sweet aspirations….

SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan


Linda Purl: The Terrifying Genre Credits of a Television Legend!

Published November 12, 2012 by biggayhorrorfan

How many acting schools was Big Gay Horror Fan rejected from due to his insistence on doing that “I never had an Angora sweater” monologue, originally introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis in the heart shaking (housewives as prostitutes) television film Money on the Side? Too many to count! One good thing did come out of that obsession, though. My lifelong love for journey man actress, Linda Purl, who co-starred in that film, was born in those very awkward moments.

Beloved for her work on the stage and such television shows as Happy Days, Matlock and The Office, beautifully eclectic actress Purl has shown her versatility in multiple genre projects, as well. From her compassionate yet tack sharp performance in 1982’s Visiting Hours to her recent appearances on the past season of True Blood (which increased hits on her buoyant website immensely), Purl always gives her all. Below, are some terror filled examples of her work.

Body Language (1992). In this USA television film take-off of Single White Female, Purl excels on multiple levels. Her Norma reels between stationed normalcy, animal sexiness and feral violence. That she and Heather Locklear (playing the good Bridget Fonda incarnation) look so much alike, adds effectiveness to the traditional plot devices, but most importantly, it is Purl’s acting that commands here. She is believable whether charmingly seducing or viciously smashing co-stars over the head in the film’s bloody denouement.

Murder She Wrote. “Dead Eye” (1993). This episode of the popular mystery series is notable due to its focus on the real tragedy of the John F. Kennedy assassination and for being the introductory episode of Wayne Roger’s charming/bumbling Charlie, who became a semi-regular on the show. Purl shows true emotional heart as she describes her character’s difficult childhood and she is able to use her taut technical skills as an actress in the final moments of this product, as well. As usual, motivations turn on a dime when series maven, Jessica (Angela Lansbury), reveals the real culprit and Purl makes her every sudden action believable within the formulaic confines of the show.

The Perfect Tenant. (2000). Here, Purl is the terrorized as Grease 2‘s Maxwell Caulfield tries to settle an old family score. This standard stalk n slash has some enjoyable moments (Caulfield’s calm malevolence as her murders Purl’s slacking, initial tenant and her boyfriend; Tracy Nelson’s frenzied turn as Caulfield’s girlfriend) yet the finest moments here occur between Purl and veteran actor Earl Holliman, whom portrays her father. The two seem to really respect and enjoy each other and their scenes are filled with warmth and life. (This, incidentally, is Holliman’s last listed credit on IMDB.)

(Purl’s firm, layered work on the above mentioned Visiting Hours is explored in this Horror Society article, as well:

Meanwhile, Purl’s love for performing is just as magnificently evident in her singing career. She brings soft, smoky understanding to life’s everyday travails on numbers such as “This Girl’s In Love With You,” “I Can Let Go Now,” and “I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over” on her debut CD, Alone Together.

Be sure to keep up with all of Linda Purl’s activities (bloody, musical and otherwise) at!

But, before you do, be sure to enjoy this fun The Perfect Tenant trailer:

Meanwhile, Big Gay Horror Fan is always accepting new scare induced boarders at!/BigGayHorrorFan, as well.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!