10 Questions With Actor Laura Linney

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 24, 2016
From the WebMD Archives

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows comes out this summer. This seems like a big leap from some of your past roles. What appealed to you about the film?

I would like my son [Bennett, age 2] to be able to see something that I'm in before the age of 30 that he won't be traumatized by.

In the upcoming movie Sully, you play Lorrie Sullenberger, wife of pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who became a national hero when he landed a US Airways jet in the Hudson River. Why do you think his story is so compelling?

It was the combination of the right man in the right place during a terrible time. I really believe if it had been any other pilot, I don't know if that entire group of people would be alive today. He's one of the few people who had the psychology and was prepared to handle that type of situation.

What was your take on Lorrie?

The stress that she was under, I can't imagine. She wasn't able to see him for a few days after that accident happened. So she was watching on television like everybody else. I can't imagine the levels of shock, and then the relief.

You're involved with Stand Up to Cancer. Why did you decide to support this charity?

My mother was a nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering [a New York City cancer center] when I was a small child. So I was very aware of the power of cancer and the trauma of cancer and the chaos of cancer from a very early age. Stand Up to Cancer quite wonderfully reaches out to everybody to lend a hand in voicing the need for research and awareness. And then my own father died of cancer while I was filming the television show [Showtime series The Big C].

What have you learned from your experiences with people who've had cancer?

Cancer has been a good teacher for me because it does elucidate life in a very different way. Particularly in my business, where people see aging as such a negative thing, and they do everything they can to run away from it. The logic of that is wrong on such a sacred level.

You became a mom at age 49. What are the advantages of waiting to have a child?

I'm so deeply grateful to have been given this experience because I really didn't think it would happen for me. And I had sort of mourned that every decade that it didn't happen. Now there's a tremendous sense of wonder and a tremendous sense of freedom. I don't take a second of it for granted.

Do you have a personal health philosophy?

I would love to tell you that I am healthy and diet conscious. I'm just not. It has always been a real battle for me. I'm constantly just trying to be aware.

What is your best health habit?

I think meditation is my best health habit.

What is your worst health habit?

Candy. Sugar is really hard for me. It's a terrible default to reach for the sugar. I have a real Swedish Fish problem.

What quality would you most want in a doctor or health care provider?

Someone who can really listen and who can talk to you in a way that you can hear.

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