Category Archives: Abigail Adams

Laura Linney 2.5.13 Thought of the Day

Just because you’re not famous, doesn’t mean you’re not good. — Laura Linney

[Image courtesy:]

[Image courtesy:]

Laura Leggett Linney was born on this day in New York City, New York, USA in 1964. She is 49 years old.

Linney is the daughter of Romulus Linney, a playwright, and Miriam Perse, a nurse. Her parents divorced when she was an infant and she grew up in a modest 1 bedroom apartment with her mother. “Linney grew up working in the theater, both behind the scenes and, in her late teens, on the stage.” [] After graduating from  Northfield Mount Hermon School, a New England prep school, she went to Northwestern University and Brown University for undergraduate work. (She received her BA in Fine Arts from Brown in 1986). She did post-graduate work with Group 19 at the Juillard School.

She took the stage in such Broadway productions as The Seagull, Six Degrees of Separation and Hedda Gabler before making the leap to film.

Linney’s screen debut was a minor role in Lorenzo’s Oil. She played Kevin Kline’s mistress in Dave, and landed the role of Mary Ann Singleton in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (a role she would reprise two more times.) She played in a trio of thrillers, Congo, Primal Fear and Absolute Power, before getting her big break as Meryl Burbank in The Truman Show.

Linney played the "perfect wife" in Truman.

Linney played the “perfect wife” in Truman.

2000’s You Can Count On Me earned Linney her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. (Her second nomination was for her work in 2004’s Kinsey opposite Liam Neeson.) Also in 2000 she did the lush, delightful The House of Mirth (based on the Edith Wharton novel, with Gillian Anderson, Eric Stoltz and Elizabeth McGovern).

Linney won an Emmy Award for her work on Wild Iris opposite Gena Rowlands. She won another Emmy, this time for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her story arc as Charlotte on the TV show Frasier.

She played Zelda Fitzgerald in American Master’s F.Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams. She worked on ensemble films  including Love Actually and The Laramie Project. She’s equally stunning as the intellectual mom struggling as her family crumbles around her in the Squid and the Whale as she is in the supernatural thriller The Mothman Prophecies  as small town police officer.

On screen, Linney has mastered quite a line in striving. Her most memorable characters have had a combination of astute wit, career focus and either a leavening daffiness or a chilly sort of overbrightness. This tends to hinge on whether they’re good apples (as in You Can Count On Me or The Savages) or bad (The Truman Show, The House of Mirth). [The Telegraph 2.1.13]

She brought Abigail Adams to life with her beautiful, strong portrayal of our second First Lady in HBO’s mini-series John Adams. Linney won  her most recent  Emmy Award for her efforts.

She can currently be seen on Showtime’s The Big C — for which she won a Golden Globe — and as the host of Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Her latest film role is as Margaret “Daisy” Suckley  in Hyde Park on Hudson opposite Bill Murray’s FDR.

Abigail Adams 11.22.12 Thought of the Day

“We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.”
— Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766

Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abigail Smith was born on this day in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1744. Today is the 268th anniversary of her birth.

Abigail  was literally born in a church. Her father, Reverend William Smith was the pastor at the North Parish Congregational Church, her mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith was first cousins to Dorothy Quincy Hancock (John Hancock’s wife). Reverend Smith believed in reason and morality and he imparted those lessons to  his daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Abigail. Her mother home schooled the girls with the aid of her extended family’s libraries. The girls studied English and French literature, philosophy, history, and the Bible. Abigail
“was a keen political observer, prolific writer…” []

Abigail’s third cousin John Adams visited the Smith’s with his friend Richard Cranch. Cranch was engaged to Mary Smith, the eldest Smith sister. Adam’s was just a country lawer, and Abigail’s mother didn’t approve of him as a suitor, but the couple prevailed.

On October 25, 1764 Abigail married John Adams, a Harvard graduate pursuing a law career.  Their marriage was one of mind and heart, producing three sons and two daughters, and lasting for more than half a century. [Ibid]

As a young married couple they lived on the farm John inherited, Braintree. Later they moved to Boston. She stayed in Massachusetts when John went to Philadelphia  to participate in the Continental Congress (1 & 2), travelled abroad as an envoy, and served in elected office.

Abigail struggled alone with wartime shortages, lack of income, and difficult living conditions.  She ran the household, farm, and educated her children.  Abigail’s letters to John were strong, witty and supportive.  The letters, which have been preserved, detail her life during revolutionary times, and describe the many dangers and challenges she faced as our young country fought to become independent.  Most of all, the letters tell of her loneliness without her “dearest friend,” her husband John. [Ibid]

She joined John in Paris in 1784 and travelled with him to England the following year. In 1800 she became the First Lady to preside over the White House as John Adams became the second President of the United States. (The Capitol had recently been moved to Washington DC).

English: "Abigail Smith Adams," oil ...

English: “Abigail Smith Adams,” oil on canvas, by the American artist Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When John Adams lost his bid for a second term he and Abigail moved back to Braintree …”and for 17 years enjoyed the companionship that public life had long denied them.” [Ibid]

Abigail Adams died on October 28, 1818. She was a woman …

often ahead of her time with many of her ideas. She opposed slavery, believed in equal education for boys and girls, and practiced what she learned as a child – the duty of the fortunate is to help those who are less fortunate. [Ibid]


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