Criminal Minds Wiki

Linda M. Purl is an American actress and singer best known for her role as Charlene Matlock in the first season of Matlock.


Purl was born on September 2, 1955, in Greenwich, Connecticut, into a theatrical family, her mother being a Broadway actress, her father an actor, and her grandmother the founder of the Actors' Equity Association. When she was five years old, she moved to Japan, where she spent most of her childhood, becoming the only foreigner to train at the Toho Geino Academy. While at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, Purl performed in several plays, gaining the roles of Louis in The King and I, Bet in Oliver!, and Helen in The Miracle Worker. As a result of her performances, she was discovered by the Japanese film, theatrical, and distribution company Toho, subsequently appearing in several Japanese films. When she was fifteen, Purl returned to the U.S. and attended high school at Wykeham Rise School, an all-girls' private boarding school specializing in creative and performing arts, located in Washington, Connecticut. While still at Wykeham Rise, Purl acquired a role on the soap-opera The Guiding Light. After attending Finch College, Purl traveled to England to study before returning to the U.S., where she began studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

Purl later started an acting career. Her first major movie role was in the 1975 comedy film Crazy Mama. Subsequent movie appearances have included The High Country, Visiting Hours, Viper, and Mighty Joe Young. She was also featured in multiple made-for-TV movies, including Little Ladies of the Night and The Young Pioneers. In addition, she voiced Delilah in a 1985 direct-to-video episode of The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. Purl has also portrayed several roles on a number of TV series, starting with the daytime drama The Secret Storm. In 1978, she appeared as newlywed Molly Beaton in the ABC-produced western-drama series, The Young Pioneers, which is set in the Dakota Territory of the 1870s and based on the novels written by Rose Wilder Lane. She also appeared in the 1979 made-for-TV movie Like Normal People. On Happy Days, she played two different roles: Richie's occasional girlfriend Gloria in the second season, and Fonzie's steady girlfriend Ashley eight seasons later. She also portrayed secret agent Kate Del'Amico in the short-lived TV series Under Cover, and Brett Robin in the series Robin's Hoods, also short-lived.

Purl also has many guest-star credits. She appeared in a 1974 episode of Hawaii Five-O, starring as teenage babysitter Ruthie, who is held captive by a deranged veteran. She then went on to play two different roles on The Waltons; the sophisticate Alica in a third-season episode, and Mary Ellen's sister-in-law (and Jason's love interest) Vanessa in a fifth-season episode (in which she also sang a couple of songs). In the first season of the legal-drama Matlock, Purl portrayed Charlene, Matlock's daughter and a lawyer. More recently, Purl appeared in the role of Pam Beesly's mother on the NBC-produced The Office, starting with its sixth season. In May 2010, Purl made guest appearances on Desperate Housewives and Criminal Minds. During the following year, she made several guest appearances on the Showtime-produced series Homeland, playing Elizabeth Gaines, and also played Barbara Pelt, mother of Debbie Pelt, in two episodes of the HBO-produced series True Blood in 2012.

In her personal life, Purl has been a regular performer (and part of the original cast) of the international touring play Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners. In 2008, Purl appeared at the Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, Ohio, starring in the theatrical production of The Glass Menagerie, playing Amanda. Purl does charity work, specifically for AIDS Project Los Angeles, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Haven House, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also launched a jazz music career after leaving Matlock, and has since released several albums of music, most recently Out of This World – LIVE. Purl had been married four times, all of which ended in failure, although she mothered a son from her third marriage.

On Criminal Minds[]

Purl portrayed Colleen Everson, a survivor of serial killer Billy Flynn, in "Our Darkest Hour".


  • Major Crimes (2014) as Doris
  • The Office (2009-2013) as Helene Beesly (8 episodes)
  • Stalked at 17 (2012) as Lauren
  • True Blood (2012) as Barbara Pelt (2 episodes)
  • Homeland (2011) as Elizabeth Gaines (3 episodes)
  • Lie to Me (2010) as Meredith Spencer
  • Criminal Minds - "Our Darkest Hour" (2010) TV episode - Colleen Everson
  • Desperate Housewives (2010) as Lillian Allen
  • The Seer (2009) as Dr. Rachel Holly (short)
  • Bones (2009) as Mrs. Diana Annenburg
  • Maid of Honor (2006) as Laci Collins
  • Cold Case (2005) as Diane Moore, 2005
  • Criminal Intent (2005) as Kirsten Sorensen
  • Stranger at the Door (2004) as Kathleen Norris
  • Fear of the Dark (2003) as Sandy Bilings
  • Crossing Jordan (2003) as Joan
  • Frozen Impact (2003) as Dr. Christy Blanchard
  • First Monday (2002) as Sarah Novelli (12 episodes)
  • The Griffin and the Minor Canon (2002) as Narrator (voice)
  • The Perfect Tenant (2000) as Jessica Michaels
  • Sunday (1999) as Emily (short)
  • Holy Joe (1999) as Joan Wolrod
  • Mighty Joe Young (1998) as Dr. Ruth Young
  • Touched by an Angel (1998) as Sally
  • Walker, Texas Ranger (1998) as Barbara Conway
  • Port Charles (1997) as Claire Wright
  • The Absolute Truth (1997) as Jean Douglas
  • Crisis Center (1997) as Lynn Maxfield
  • The Story First: Behind the Unabomber (1996) as Detective
  • Born Free: A New Adventure (1996) as Eleanor Porter
  • Robin's Hoods (1994-1995) as Brett Robin (22 episodes)
  • Incident at Deception Ridge (1994) as Helen Davis
  • Burke's Law (1994) as Kelly Harris
  • Accidental Meeting (1994) as Maryanne Bellmann
  • Natural Causes (1994) as Jessie MacCarthy
  • The Hidden Room (1993) as Kate Richards
  • Murder, She Wrote (1985-1993) as Laura Callan/Crystal Wendle/Terry Shannon (3 episodes)
  • Body Language (1992) as Norma
  • Jack's Place (1992) as Nicolette
  • Secrets (1992) as Jane Adams
  • Under Cover (1991) as Kate Del'Amico
  • Under Cover (1991) as Kate Del'Amico/Herself (2 episodes)
  • Web of Deceit (1990) as Lauren Hale
  • Timeless Tales from Hallmark (1990) as Rapunzel (voice)
  • Trying Times (1989) as Laura
  • Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs (1988) as Beverly
  • Viper (1988) as Laura Macalla
  • Addicted to His Love (1988) as Cassie Robbins
  • CBS Summer Playhouse (1987) as Judith
  • In Self Defense (1987) as Susan Andrews
  • Matlock (1986-1987) as Charlene Matlock (19 episodes)
  • Dark Mansions (1986) as Shellane Victor
  • Pleasures (1986) as Eve Harper
  • Outrage! (1986) as Arlene Robbins
  • Samson and Delilah (1986) as Delilah (video short, voice)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985) as Lisa Tate
  • Midas Valley (1985) as Sarah Corey
  • The Love Boat (1985) as Anne Lester (2 episodes)
  • The Last Days of Pompeii (1984) as Nydia (TV miniseries, 3 episodes)
  • Happy Days (1974-1983) as Ashley Pfister/Gloria (20 episodes)
  • Money on the Side (1982) as Annie Gilson
  • Visiting Hours (1982) as Sheila Munroe
  • The Manions of America (1981) as Deirdre O'Manion (TV miniseries, 3 episodes)
  • The Adventures of Nellie Bly (1981) as Nellie Bly
  • The High Country (1981) as Kathy
  • The Night the City Screamed (1980) as Brenda Farrell
  • Leo and Loree (1980) as Loree
  • The Flame Is Love (1979) as Emmaline Nevada "Vada" Holtz
  • Like Normal People (1979) as Virginia Rae Hensler
  • Women at West Point (1979) as Jennifer Scott
  • A Last Cry for Help (1979) as Sharon Muir
  • The Young Pioneers (1978) as Molly Beaton
  • Black Market Baby (1977) as Anne Macarino
  • Testimony of Two Men (1977) as Mavis Eaton (TV miniseries)
  • The Waltons (1974-1977) as Vanessa/Alicia Hanover (2 episodes)
  • Little Ladies of the Night (1977) as Hailey Atkins
  • Serpico (1977) as Magda
  • Young Pioneers' Christmas (1976) as Molly Beaton
  • Having Babies (1976) as Laura Gorman
  • W.C. Fields and Me (1976) as Ingenue
  • Young Pioneers (1976) as Molly Beaton
  • Eleanor and Franklin (1976) as Alice Roosevelt, age 14-20
  • The Oregon Trail (1976) as Deborah Randal
  • State Fair (1976) as Bonnie Jean
  • Medical Story (1975) as Kim
  • Medical Center (1975) as Leslie
  • Beacon Hill (1975) as Betsy Bullock
  • Crazy Mama (1975) as Cheryl
  • Hawaii Five-O (1975) as Ruth
  • Sons and Daughters (1974) as Julie
  • Lucas Tanner (1974) as Diane
  • Jory (1973) as Amy Barron
  • Aru heishi no kake (1970) as Rose Allen
  • The Secret Storm (1954) as Doreen Post


  • 2 songs (1977) - The Waltons - 1 episode
    • I'll Fly Away
    • Vanessa's Song

External Links[]

For an up-to-date filmography, see here.