About Linda Evenstad, Evanstad
Actress Linda Evans rose to fame playing Audra Barkley in the 1960s Western TV series, The Big Valley (1965–1969). Her most prominent role was that of Krystle Carrington in the 1980s ABC prime time television soap opera Dynasty, a role she played from 1981 to 1989.
She was born Linda Evenstad on November 18, 1942 in Hartford, Connecticut, the second of three daughters to a couple who were professional dancers. "Evenstad" was the name of the small farm in Nes, Hedmark in Norway from where her paternal great-grandmother emigrated to the US in 1884 with her young son (Evans' grandfather) and a couple of relatives.
While attending Hollywood High School, Linda Evenstad accompanied a nervous classmate to an audition for a Canada Dry TV commercial. Impressed by the brunette, wholesomely pretty Evans, the ad-agency director invited her to read as well. After this and two subsequent commercial spots, Evans began making the TV guest-star rounds on such series as Bachelor Father, Ozzie and Harriet, The Untouchables and The 11th Hour. Her fortunes improved when she cut the "stad" off her last name and dyed her hair blonde. As Linda Evans, she made her first important film appearance as kidnapped pop singer Sugar Kane in the 1963 confection Beach Blanket Bingo; that same year, she was signed to an MGM contract, though she spent much of it on loan-out to other studios. From 1965 to 1969, Evans was co-starred on the TV western The Big Valley as the ever-imperiled Audra Barkley. Thereafter, her life and career was under the strict guidance of her then-husband, actor/director John Derek. Once free of Derek's influence, Evans was compelled to virtually start all over again in such lower-berth film efforts as Mitchell (1975). When she was hired to play the long-suffering Krystle Carrington on the long-running (1981-89) nighttime serial Dynasty, Evans' comeback was full and complete.
Evans reprised her role as Krystle Carrington for Dynasty: The Reunion, a television series that aired in 1991. After working in a variety of made-for-television movies throughout the 1990s, Evans decided to retire from screen acting towards the end of the decade. However, the actress wouldn't disappear from television entirely, and neither would her legendary Dynasty persona (in 2005, actress Melora Hardin portrayed Evans herself for Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure, a fictionalized television movie based on the production of Dynasty). The following year, Evans reunited with her Dynasty alumni for a non-fiction reunion special titled Dynasty: Catfights and Caviar. The actress appeared in - and won -- the British television reality series Hell's Kitchen.
Evans has been married twice, first to actor and film producer John Derek from 1968 to 1974. Derek left Evans for Bo Derek who was 30 years his junior. Evans' second marriage was to Stan Herman, a property executive, from 1976 to 1981. In 1989, Evans began a relationship with new age musician Yanni, which lasted until 1998.
After being diagnosed with idiopathic edema, Evans began investigating alternative healing, delving into Eastern philosophy and naturopathy. In 1985 she became involved with controversial metaphysical teacher J. Z. Knight and her Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, and eventually moved to Rainier, Washington to be closer to Knight and her school.
She enjoys the reputation of being one of Hollywood's nicest and most gracious actresses. A persuasive spokesperson, she has endorsed several commercial products and worked tirelessly on behalf of the pro-environment movement.