Born and raised in Memphis, Linda Bloodworth graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969 with a degree in English. She went to work for the 'Wall Street Journal', at a Los Angeles legal newspaper then spent 2 years teaching English at Jordan High School in Watts, California.
Linda began her freelance writing career in 1974. She wrote a script for 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' but it didn't sell. However she was assigned to write for 'M*A*S*H', "I wrote with Mary Kay Place and we were down to our last food coupon. It was a Cinderella story. We were nominated for an Emmy with our script."
Linda formed her own production company in association with Columbia Pictures Television in 1977 because "I just wanted to get my own shows on the air. I didn't want to die working these long hours for someone else's show. I didn't want to bleed unless it was for my own show." As an independent producer, Linda recounted, "I had a lot of pilots. I never wanted anyone to see them because they got changed so much.
"Usually it's so frustrating, so tiring fighting network interference. That's why so many writers throw up their hands and go into features. Every night I go home with notes on all the network suggestions and work on the scripts. A messenger comes to pick up my rewrites at 1:00am. I write in longhand and the scripts are typed and returned at 7:00am. I'm sure my neighbors think I’m in some illegal business."
In 1980, Linda created, produced and wrote 2 episodes of the TV pilot, 'Filthy Rich', about 2 Southern families – one wealthy, the other poor - who had to live together in order to share an inheritance. The series, intended to be a parody of 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' sat on the shelf after a complaint from the Moral Majority. The nature of complaint: too much sex on television.
In August 1982, Sandra Earley of 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers' reported, "CBS aired the show primarily to clean its closets and recoup what investment it could. 'Filthy Rich' wasn't expected to draw a big audience during its 3-week run but it broke the ratings bank - No. 1 show in its first week; No. 2 its second and No. 4 its third (the 3rd episode was filmed in November 1981)."
Sensing a hit in the making, CBS pulled 'Mama Malone' from the 1982-83 fall schedule and immediately rushed 'Filthy Rich' into full production at the last minute. Shooting of 'Filthy Rich' commenced in September 1982 with the first episode went on air in October 1982. Jack Kaplan, a former speech writer for Jimmy Carter was hired to assist with the writing. Linda remembered at the time, "This time was wonderful. I had so few problems with the network."
Of 'Filthy Rich', Howard Rosenberg of 'Post-Times Service' remarked, "I couldn't get into 'Filthy Rich' the first time around. The mix of Southern dialects was confusing, the attempt at demented comedy heavy-handed and almost all the characters impossible to like or care about." Linda had said, "I'm very arrogant about my knowledge of the South. I don't have much patience with people who wouldn’t know a Southern stereotype if it flew up their nose."
In all, 12 episodes of 'Filthy Rich' were taped, "This is the most misunderstood show I've ever been associated with. I think because the Southern accents are thick and the first shows were very theatrical and broad, the critics tuned out. I just set out to write a comedy about Southerners – eccentric Southerners."
Back in 1975, Linda was honored by the 'Ladies Home Journal' as 'Woman of the Year' for outstanding writing in comedy. In 1983, Linda married Harry Thomason of 20th Century-Fox in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. It was noted Linda was the first American writer in television history to write 35 successive episodes of a TV series ('Designing Women').
Of 'Designing Women', Linda told the Associated Press in 1988, "We've never been one script ahead, which is kind of harrowing. It's kind of like walking a tightrope each week without a net. This is what would give the network a heart attack. They have never, ever told me anything that I cannot do. They have never disapproved of any subject I've wanted to do. I just decide what I want to write about and I write it. There has been zero censorship.
"It's 23 minutes (without commercials) of prime time television every week to address any topic I want. I've tried to be responsible and fair, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I put my personal opinions in. I do get my own propaganda in, but that's what I think makes it interesting. My big complaint about television is the characters are too homogenized. You don't know where they go to church or how they feel about issues. Our women all are very, very opinionated."
Growing up, Linda made known, "If you didn't have an opinion, you got sent to your room. I like stirring things up. Everyone in my family is an attorney. My grandfather, all my uncles, my brother, my father. Even when I was little, he (Linda's father) would come in and say, 'You know, girls aren't all that smart.' I would cry and say, 'They are, too!' He knew what he was doing. He would always make me defend my positions."
'Designing Women' which ran for 7 seasons between 1986 and 1993 was about 4 women who managed a decorating business at a townhouse in Atlanta. Linda told the press in 1986, "I said I don't care whether they work in a garage or a beauty parlor. All I wanted to do was get them together so they can talk. So I said, 'OK, they're designers.'
"There'll be a lot of Southern comment. We're billing it ('Designing Women') as the first sophisticated Southern comedy. It's more like a play than a sitcom, and I don't mean that as a putdown to sitcoms. We discuss a lot of things. It's like eavesdropping on these women. There's a line where Annie Potts asks, 'Why are Southern women always considered oversexed? They never have air conditioning. They're always perspiring and have handkerchiefs tucked down their fronts.'"