Linda Cardellini grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California, the youngest of four children. Her surname is Italian for "goldfinches". She became interested in acting at age 10, when she performed a singing role in a school Christmas play. She continued to do school productions and community theater.
Cardellini attended Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California. After graduating, she had to decide whether to go to New York to pursue theater or Los Angeles to pursue film and television. She chose Los Angeles. She landed her first role in Bone Chillers (1996). Her breakthrough role came when she was cast in the NBC series Freaks and Geeks (1999).
Cardellini attended Loyola Marymount University's College of Communication and Fine Arts, graduating in 2001 with a degree in theater.
In 1994, Cardellini was a contestant on The Price Is Right, where she won a fireplace.
- Linda Cardellini at the Internet Movie Database