Linda Kaye Henning is an American actress, dancer and singer, born on 16 September 1944, in Los Angeles, California USA. She’s known perhaps still best known for portraying Betty Jo’s character in the sitcom “Petticoat Junction”.
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Linda Kay Henning is the first daughter of Paul and Ruth Henning, and older sister of Carol Alice and Paul Anthony. In an effort to overcome her shyness, Linda Kay was enrolled by her mother into “The Peter Pan Players”, a theater club for children in which Linda acted in various plays inspired by fairy tales such as “Cinderella”, “Snow White” and “Pinocchio”. During her teens, she continued her acting activities, as well as studying dance.
There’s no information about Linda’s primary education, though it’s known she attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but it’s unknown in which year she graduated.
Acting Debut and Petticoat Junction
Linda Kay’s first appearance on TV was as Penelope, a minor role in the comedy series “Mr. Ed”, then appearing as a teenage dancer in the film “Bye Bye Birdie”. Despite only being cast in small roles at the time, actress Bea Benaderet suggested Paul Henning, Linda Kay’s father and producer of “Petticoat Junction”, to include her as one the three main girls of the show.
However, her father suspected he would be accused of nepotism if his daughter was cast in the show, so he didn’t participate in the casting, and after Linda obtained a role as one the Bradley sisters, he even asked her to change her middle name to Kaye so people wouldn’t know they were related.
Known as Linda Kaye Henning, her character Betty Jo became the role she’s mostly known for, but concurrently she was in other productions, such as “Green Acres” and “The Beverly Hillbillies”. She also made her debut as singer in the TV series “Toast of the Town” in 1964.
Other famous series Linda acted in were “Family Affair”, “Mork & Mindy” and “Happy Days”, also appearing as Mrs Osbourne in the movie “Mad About You”.
Her most recent role in TV was in 2007, when she portrayed Mrs Mallory’s character in “Sliders”. However, since then she hasn’t been active as actress.
Linda Kaye met actor Mike Minor on the set of “Petticoat Junction”, in which he acted as Steve Elliott. As Betty and Steve’s characters fell in love on set, the actors also fell in love in real life, becoming engaged in early 1967, to be wed on 9 September that year, the exact date their characters in the series were going to be wedded. However, in spring that year the couple surprisingly called off their engagement.
Later that year, Minor would reveal the break-up’s reason as the couple’s fight caused by his insecurities about their careers, though Mike assured he never stopped loving Linda Kaye during the time they were separated. After their TV marriage, the couple reconciled and cleared their differences, marrying in real life in 1968.
Minor, who was previously married to Monyeen Rae Martini until 1966, played roles in various series such as “My Three Sons” and “All My Children”. He was also a singer, whose debut album was “This Is Mike Minor” from 1966, and he released multiple other singles. In his time in “Petticoat Junction”, he performed several songs with the cast of the series, and sung the theme song of “The Smiths Family”.
Minor and Henning’s marriage ended in 1973, for reasons undisclosed.
Linda Kaye married actor Ashby Adams in 1994, though the pair’s love story is unknown. Adams is also an actor, known for his roles in “The Doctors”, “Santa Barbara” and “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.”.
Linda Kaye’s father Paul Henning was a successful director and writer of several TV shows, including the creator of “Petticoat Junction”, getting the idea of the show from a childhood story his wife told him: ‘My wife had been telling me about her early days in Missouri, where her grandparents had a hotel beside the railroad tracks. Traveling salesmen would come because the rates were very reasonable and there was home cooking.’
He also worked as the director of “The Ezio Pinza Show”, “The Bob Cummings Show” and “Green Acres”. He’s also credited for being the screenwriter of “Where’s Raymond?” and “The RCA Victor Show”.
He along Linda’s mother Ruth founded in Missouri “The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area”.
Linda Kaye Henning’s net worth is estimated at $1 Million, as a result of her long career as an actress.
Linda Kaye Hennings is regarded as a beautiful red haired woman, of white ethnicity. She is 5ft 3ins (1,60m) tall, but her weight is unknown, though she’s always had a slender figure.
Besides her love for dance and acting, Linda Kaye Hennings also showed strong interest in science while young.
Mike Minor’s first time in “Petticoat Junction” was actually in 1964, playing a minor character. During that unique appearance, he developed a crush on Linda Kaye, though the red-head never noticed him as they never acted together in a scene. He, however, was still married at the time to his first wife.
In her marriage to Mike Minor, Linda wore the same dress she wore during their fictional marriage on TV.
Linda Kaye Hennings is a member of California Artists Radio Theatre.
She shares her birth date with her father.
Bea Benaderet was Linda’s TV mom during “Petticoat Junction”. Unfortunately Benaderet died in 1968 of lung cancer, two years before the show’s cancellation. In an interview, Linda recalled a sad experience during the show after Benaderet’s death: ‘The toughest day was when they had a letter written from Kate to Betty Jo. They had recorded Bea reading it, and I just tried not to burst out into tears during the scene’.