“I started guitar lessons in third grade,” says Linda Burden-Williams, who grew up in Marysville, Washington, and played bass guitar for 15 years in Puget Sound-area rock bands. “Shady Lady, She, Ship of Fools, City Slicker,” she enumerates. “We changed names regularly. We played music on the road, six months at a time. We traveled with eight people, two dogs and a monkey in a school bus with a VW van on top.”
The bus is where she met her husband of 36 years, Gary Williams. In the early 1980s, Burden-Williams took an acting class at the Northwest Actors Studio in Seattle.
“The first day, I felt like I was home,” she says. “It was a safe place where I could express all my emotions.” She had roles in several plays at the Actors Studio, then studied camera acting, and has since appeared in many network TV shows and independent movies. After the birth of their son, Garrick, the family moved to Veneta when Gary was offered a job in Eugene. On trips to New York or L.A. for work or education, Burden-Williams brought Garrick along and homeschooled him in a hotel room. In the mid-1990s, she began to offer acting classes at home in Veneta.
“I started with my son and his friends from school,” she says. A few years later, she moved her business, In Focus Camera Acting and Production, to a classroom in Eugene, where she teaches and coaches public speaking as well as camera acting. Her credits as a casting director include The American Gandhi, chosen as best film at last year’s Eugene International Film Festival.