Linda Evans was born Linda Evanstad on November 18, 1942 , in Hartford , Connecticut . But she didn't stay on the East Coast for long. When she was six months old, her parents, Alba and Arlene Evanstad, former professional dancers, moved the family to North Hollywood , California . Evans was an only child, and an extremely shy one at that. In fact, at Hollywood High School , the principal recommended that the reticent student take acting classes to build her self-confidence. Her first break was equally accidental: One day, Evans decided to tag along with a friend who was going on an audition. The producer noticed her and decided that she was perfect for the role.
In 1961, Evans made her first network television appearance, on the series "Bachelor Father," alongside John Forsythe. (She would join Forsythe again, 20 years later, on another huge TV series.) She also appeared in the teen hit "Beach Blanket Bingo" with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.
In 1964, the 22-year-old tried out for a role in "The Glory Guys," a large-scale cavalry flick. She didn't get the part, but the film's producers offered her the role of Barbara Stanwyck's daughter on a new TV show, "The Big Valley". The series quickly caught on, and Linda Evanstad felt pressure to change her name to something snappier and more "American-sounding". Linda Evans was born. Evans met actor John Derek on the set of her new gig, and despite their considerable age difference (he was 42, she was 26), the two were soon living together and were married in 1968.
Then, in 1973, Derek traveled to Greece to direct a film featuring 16-year-old Mary Cathleen Collins. The two developed a close friendship, and he nicknamed her "Bo". During filming, Evans flew to Greece to visit her husband, and learned that he'd fallen in love with Collins and planned to marry her. She was devastated, but made strong efforts to remain friends with Derek, and later even befriended his new wife.
The next year, Evans met real-estate magnate and eligible Hollywood bachelor Stan Herman. The two promptly fell in love and married, but this partnership, too, was rocky. Herman wasn't used to the married life, and in 1979, the two divorced. Evans turned to Eastern religion and meditation for solace — openly admitting that she needed to look inside herself to understand why her life was not turning out the way she'd expected.
Single and ready to focus more intently on her career, Evans had to face down naysayers who said that she was getting too old to play the ubiquitous Farrah Fawcett-type roles available at the time. In 1980, she was given the script for a new pilot which was to be produced by Aaron Spelling. It's working title was "Oil". Evans loved it and auditioned for the role of Krystle Jennings, a secretary who marries a ruthless oil baron named Blake Carrington, to be played by John Forsythe. She got the part, and the show, renamed "Dynasty," made her a household name around the world. Her sweet but sultry character led people to view women over 40 as sexy.
In 1982, Evans won a Golden Globe Award as well as her first of five People's Choice Awards. She was also nominated for an Emmy and was in a position to pick and choose from a multitude of roles that were coming her way. "Dynasty" — the series that virtually epitomized the glitz of the '80s — thrived for nine seasons and ended as the decade drew to a close. At the same time, Evans began a new phase in her own life: She met and fell in love with world-famous Greek musician Yanni. Together, they moved from Los Angeles , California to Tacoma , Washington . Evans' high-profile spot on "Dynasty" was behind her, but her career continued to flourish. In 1992, the 50-year-old reunited with old co-stars in two specials, "The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw," and "Dynasty: The Reunion". She also produced concerts and television specials for Yanni. And though the couple split in 1998, you won't see this still-sexy star of the nighttime soaps disappearing any time soon. A spokeswoman for a number of personal causes, Evans is now single and self-reliant.