The Private Life of Linda Beatty
our august playmate prizes her privacy -- but there are some things she's willing to share with the world
Newcomers to Los Angeles soon learn that, in the City of Angels, everybody is somebody, or claims to be. One afternoon, Linda Beatty stopped for a sandwich in a deli on Pico Boulevard. A balding man in beat-up blue jeans started clearing her table, sweeping the crumbs into his hand, then putting them into his mouth. "Whaddaya want? Whaddaya want?" Linda asked to see a menu. "Menu, schmenu." Obviously, the guy was out for a big tip. Finally a waitress came to Linda's rescue. "Don't let him bother you. That's Mel Brooks." "Sure," replied Linda, "and I'm Cinderella." But it was Mel Brooks. Someone has to be Mel Brooks, right? Either that or the group of writers who arrived and began to hold a conference at Linda's table were pretending to be writers working for an ersatz Mel Brooks. "He tried to hustle me for a date, not for himself but for one of his writers. Apparently they needed all the help they could get." It was not the first time that Linda had failed to recognize a favorite celebrity. On a cross-country flight, a white-haired man in the seat next to her introduced himself as Bucky. "I thought he was a lettuce farmer, but it turned out that he was Buckminster Fuller. I had read all of his books, but I had never seen his picture. We spent the whole flight talking about domes and energy." We've all had the same problem; we see a movie but don't know what the director looks like. "Fuller looks like his ideas -- basic, alive. He's very convincing." Linda has never stopped reading. She graduated from a small-town high school in western Kentucky when she was 16 and went on to attend the University of Kentucky and New College in Sarasota, Florida, on art scholarships. When she learned she could make a living and support her artistic endeavors as a high-fashion model, she dropped out of college. Now that she lives in L.A., people sometimes mistake her for a celebrity. "When my agent sent some of my photographs to the casting director of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, and a few days later I received a message congratulating me for landing one of the few female roles, I called up and said, 'I'm sorry, but you must have the wrong person.' But they really wanted me." Linda plays, of all things, a Playmate who entertains the troops at a U.S.O. show emceed by Wolfman Jack. Art follows life. If you ever bump into Linda and she tells you she's a Playmate, believe her.
Photography by Phillip Dixon, Ken Marcus