A tall, dark-haired, handsome and magnetic performer, Hamish Linklater worked extensively on stage, convincingly portraying a vast array of characters before making his first entries into film and television in 2000. The son of esteemed dramatic vocal trainer Kristin Linklater, the young performer was raised among the theater community, taking supporting roles in Shakespeare & Company productions beginning from age nine and making his professional starring debut playing Tom Sawyer in a 1996 production of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" at Kentucky's Actors Theatre of Louisville. He went on to amass credits in The Acting Company's 1998 productions of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Love's Fire," an anthology of plays staged in New York and London. For the remainder of 1998, Linklater could be seen on the West Coast, portraying an opportunistic gravedigger in "Hydriotaphia or The Death of Dr. Browne" for the Berkeley Repertory Group. After a stint Off-Broadway in the dysfunctional family portrait "The Chemistry of Change" (1999), Linklater returned to California, where he had featured roles in the Shakespeare classics "Measure for Measure" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," both directed by Peter Hall at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theater. The 1999-2000 season saw the actor take on the role of Laertes in the Bard's "Hamlet" in a New York Shakespeare Festival production starring Liev Schreiber. Linklater stood out in this production, putting a decidedly sexually charged spin on his portrayal of the doomed avenger.