‘Ozark’ Star Laura Linney Remembers Emotional Moments With Her Father

by Alex Falls

Laura Linney is still fresh off her acclaimed turn in Netflix’s Ozark. She might not have gotten around to watching the ending of season 4, but that’s probably because she’s busy being a talented actress on TV and on stage.

Recently, Linney spoke to Vulture to reflect on her long and rewarding career. During the conversation, Linney took a chance to remember her father. Romulus Linney IV was a career playwright and prominent North Carolina senator. His work was prolific. It included more than 30 plays in his lifetime including True Crimes, Childe Byron, and Unchanging Love.

He wrote only one Broadway production in his career. A one-act play in 1972 called The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks. It recounts the story of a military tribunal held after an American general and his wife commit a double-murder-suicide to protest the Vietnam War. He spent a lot of time writing, but he still found time to spend time with his daughter.

“I would visit him on weekends. My parents divorced when I was an infant,” Linney said. “He lived on the West Side; my mother and I lived on the East Side. She was a nurse at Sloan Kettering, so we were in a small apartment, and I would take the bus over to visit him.”

Linney Looks Back on Her Father’s Influence

Linney was always drawn to the theater and acting thanks to her father’s work as a playwright. Her split time actually reminded her of one of her most memorable roles in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, in which she plays a mother navigating a dramatic divorce.

“Well, actually, my father and Noah Baumbach’s father knew each other and were at the same writer’s colony together so it is all … Yeah,” Linney recalled. “It was a very nasty divorce. I used to tag along with my father to rehearsals. I remember sitting on the floor at HB Studios, watching Herbert Berghof direct some actors in some scene. My perspective level was low because I was on the floor.”

The experience of witnessing their parents get divorced was unquestionably challenging. Linney was at a young and impressionable age, but she remembers her father for the way he used his experience to fuel his work.

“I remember hearing him type outside the door. Torrents. My father was a brilliantly complicated guy. He had tremendous passion and ability to express it. I can remember sitting outside the door listening to the rhythm of the typing. It was electric typewriters then. So it was like r-r-r-rr-r-r-r-rraww. There’d be a silence. And I didn’t know what was more exciting — the silence or the typing. I was like, “Oh, he’s thinking. Oh God, there’s thinking, there’s something.’ Then you can feel the dam break and he would type-type-type-type-type.”