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Terminator: 16 Awesome Facts You Need to Know About Sarah Connor

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

Learn 16 things you probably didn't know about Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor. for fans of the Terminator movies, it's been quite a week. First, we find out that Linda Hamilton is returning for a new Terminator movie and now we know the scheduled release date: July 26, 2019.

While several actresses have played Sarah Connor, none have matched the power and range of the original actress Linda Hamilton. Here are some fascinating bits of trivia you probably didn't know about Linda Hamilton's character.

1. Linda Hamilton Suffered Permanent Hearing Loss from Filming Terminator 2

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - John Connor (Edward Furlong), Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

As you can imagine, there were a lot of loud noises on the set of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. So Linda Hamilton and others wore earplugs to protect their hearing. But she took them out on a break and forgot to put them in before shooting a scene in an elevator.

"The doors closed, we had shotguns and started blasting, and suddenly I was in agony," Hamilton told Blockbuster. "I fell to my knees in pain. I thought I'd been shot. That was how bad it was. I knew we weren't using real ammunition, that they were squibs, little explosives that double for bullets, but I was sure that something has misfired and I'd been hit by shrapnel or something. The noise was so intense, so extreme, I'll never forget it. So I fell to the ground, but thought 's**t, nobody's noticing, nobody's stopping,' so I got back up again, picked up my gun and kept on going. That was the professional thing to do. But it hurt like h**l."

To this day she has she still has serious hearing loss in one ear.

2. Sarah Connor Is a Fan of The Jetsons

Terminator (1984) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

In one scene Sarah is shown wearing a bootleg t-shirt with The Jetsons. The Jetsons was an animated TV show from the 1960s set in the distant future. The whole movie is about returning from the distant future.

The shirt may have been a subtle nod to the concept. Plus, robots are a common theme in the show. Either way, it's hilarious.

3. The Fog Was Bug Spray

There's an unplanned special effect in the film. In 1982 there was a panic that Mexican Fruit Flies would infest California and cause severe damage to the agricultural industry. To fight it the city began spraying big fat clouds of the insecticide Malathion in the Los Angeles area.

Along comes the film crew of Terminator. They're filming the scene where Sarah and Reese leave the bridge they spent the night under. The crew see the clouds of bug spray and talk about waiting till the clouds dissipate. But they see an opportunity.

The stuff has low toxicity to people and the EPA says there’s no reliable information on adverse health effects of chronic exposure to malathion. So they filmed the scene using the bug spray for atmospheric fog.

4. Sarah Stopped Judgement Day in Alternate Ending

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

James Cameron almost filmed a happy ending with Sarah 30 years in the future. She's playing with her granddaughter and reminiscing on how Judgement Day didn't happen.

 "August 29, 1997, came and went," Connor says, "Nothing much happened. Michael Jackson turned 40. There was no Judgment Day. People went to work as they always do. Laughed, complained, watched TV, made love. I wanted to run to through the street yelling to grab them all and say, 'Every day from this day on is a gift. Use it well.' Instead, I got drunk.

"That was 30 years ago. But the dark future which never came still exists for me. And it always will, like the traces of a dream. John fights the war differently than it was foretold. Here, on the battlefield of the Senate, his weapons were common sense and hope. The luxury of hope was given me by the Terminator. Because if a machine can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too."

The original ending ends the movie with finality and would have completely eliminated any possibility of a sequel. This was what Cameron wanted. "I had always thought that it was important to show that their efforts, the sacrifices made by Terminator and by Miles Dyson, were not in vain and that history was changed," James Cameron said in the T2 Illustrated Screenplay.

Cameron loved the scene, but producer Mario Kassar convinced him to film a new, darker and more ambiguous ending. The two argued over which to use, but test audiences didn't like the abrupt change in tone from dark to light.

In the end, Cameron agreed and Terminator 2 ends with Sarah Connor musing that "if a machine ... can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.". The new ending was cut into the film literally days before being sent to theaters.

5. They Were Running From Police During Filming

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The studio didn’t expect much from the movie so the budget for Terminator was very small. James Cameron had worked with Roger Corman who was known for his cost-cutting techniques. He had learned a lot.

Cameron didn’t have money for lights and filming permits. So, he filmed at night to avoid attention on location. Many scenes were filmed in Los Angeles California on streets for the mercury-vapor lights.

True to their guerrilla filmmaking roots they almost got arrested while filming. They were filming the final scene of Sarah Connor at a gas station. It was actually Little Rock, California, USA.

They were filming with a skeleton crew of Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and a couple of other people in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden a car appears on the horizon. The policeman who pulls up and says "I need to see your permit for filming here." they didn’t have one.

They said, "Oh, officer, we’re making a UCLA student film. We didn’t know you needed permits." he bought it and said, "Okay, you’re fine, just take the camera off the road."

I’m sure one day he realized he’d been hoodwinked, but he’s a part of movie history now.

6. Linda Hamilton Filmed with a Broken Ankle

Terminator (1984) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn)

Days before filming Terminator Linda Hamilton tore ligaments and broke a bone in her foot. Rather than recast her the ankle was wrapped and the production schedule was changed. The scenes with her running were moved to as late in the filming schedule as possible. Hamilton's ankle was taped every day and she spent most of the film production in pain

Despite their best efforts, you can see Hamilton running away from the Terminator with a slight limp.

You can see it a little bit in the clip below.

7. Linda Hamilton Trained with an Israeli Commando

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

At 35, Hamilton was a brand spanking new mom. She’d just had her son almost a year before. 13 weeks before shooting started she began training for three hours a day, six days a week with
Israeli commando Uzi Gal and personal trainer Anthony Cortes. She blasted her quads but also machine guns.

Gal gave her full military-style training sessions. He trained her to load clips, change mags, check out a room upon entry, and verify kills. She said it "was very vicious stuff. And it was sheer hell." She went through the training "because Sarah would have."

If the name Uzi sounds familiar it should. Captain Uziel Gal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was a German-born Israeli gun designer, best remembered as the designer and namesake of the Uzi submachine gun. He also worked on a number of Hollywood films including Timebomb (1991), True Lies (1994) and Batman & Robin (1997).

The guy who invented one of the most popular guns in the world taught Linda Hamilton how to shoot.

8. Terminator 2 Was Almost Banned Because of Hamilton's Lock Picking

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

During Hamilton's training, she learned how to pick locks for the film. In one scene she escapes from her cell by picking a lock with a hidden paper clip. She refused to use camera tricks and actually picks the lock on her harness and door.

But the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) objected to the scene. They thought it was too realistic and might encourage people to copy it. So, they cut it for the UK release. The start of the shot showing Sarah inserting two unfolded paperclip wires into the cell's lock was cut. A total of eight seconds of footage.

9. Sarah’s Middle Name is Jeanette

Terminator (1984) - Phone book

When the Terminator is looking through the phone book for Sarah Connors she finds Hamilton’s character in the phone book with the middle initial S.

Her middle name is never given in the films but the novelization of  The Terminator gives her name as Sarah Jeanette Connor.

10. Sarah Connor Was Not a Waitress

Terminator (1984) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

While many assume that Linda Hamilton’s character was a waitress she wasn’t. The movie shows her waiting tables at Big Jeff’s, but technically, she was a busser.

A busser is a person who removes dirty dishes and resets tables in a restaurant. They can also serve as cashiers. But, on the day the Terminator was killing people she was in training as a waitress.

An early draft of the script tells how she ended up waiting tables:

Mission control to Chuck,
come in...


(without looking
You're late.

        Sarah is undaunted.


Not really.  Do you think you
can get here on time if I put
you on the floor as a waitress?


I don't know.  I kinda had
my heart set on being a
cashier the rest of my life.
The pay's the same but you'll
make more in tips.

Thanks, Chuck. I need the
money. Can I still work the
hours around my classes?
Breen turns to punch up a display on the restaurant's
small accounting computer. Sarah looks over his shoulder
as he modifies the week's schedule.


Mmm. Same schedule's okay.




Can you handle it?


It's not brain surgery,

Breen hands her an apron ceremoniously.


Here you go. You're a
Bob's Girl now. Nancy
will check you out.

That was her first, and last day, waiting tables.

11. Linda Hamilton’s Twin Sister is in the Movie

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - John Connor (Edward Furlong), T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

Most of the effects in the Terminator movies are done in-camera using practical effects. While brainstorming ways to shoot scenes with Linda Hamilton she said, “Well, you know I have a twin sister.” Linda Hamilton has an identical twin sister named Leslie.

Leslie appears in three scenes and is used when there would normally be a split-screen. When she and John Connor are operating on the T-800 it looks like they’re standing in front of a mirror. It’s really an identical set with doubles and her twin standing in on the other side.

The second one is when Sarah Connor is daydreaming of herself playing with her son Leslie stands in as the younger Sarah Connor.

Also at the end when the T-1000 takes the shape of Sarah Connor and her sister Leslie stand in for the big reveal as she comes up behind it.

Leslie Hamilton Gearren is a nurse professionally and hasn’t acted before or since.

12. The Terminator Cut Up the Other Sarah Connors

Terminator (1984)

In the original script treatment, Sarah Connor has an old figure skating injury fixed with surgical pins. When the Terminator killed the women he used this to identify the target. He cut open the legs to look for the pins. That’s how he knew he killed the wrong one each time. This was cut from the movie.

In the novelization, they had a twist to the concept. It turned out the pins were inserted after breaking her leg escaping from the Terminator. SkyNet knew she had the pins but didn’t know how or when she got them.

The Terminator was looking for an injury that hadn’t happened yet.

13. Linda Hamilton Was Paid A Lot Less Than Her Co-Stars

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), James Cameron, T-800 

Women in Hollywood are paid far less than men and Linda Hamilton is no exception. Terminator was a low budget film with $6.4 million. The cast was made up of relative newcomers so the salaries weren't high.

Schwarzenegger hadn't acted much and Linda Hamilton had mainly done television roles. James Cameron wasn't an established director. His first directing gig was the Roger Corman schlock horror film Piranha II: The Spawning (1982). So it's no surprise that their salary was low.

Things changed after the movie opened. Terminator made over $78 million and became a blockbuster sensation. When the cast signed on for the sequel Terminator 2 they could ask for much more. The budget for the film soared to over $102,000,000. Schwarzenegger got over $15 million including a slightly used Gulfstream III airplane for accepting the role.

But, despite the budget and the salary of her co-star, Hamilton only got $1 million. That's only slightly more than the $750,000 Schwarzenegger got for the first film.

"It was quite a bit more than the first one, but still when I look at my contribution next to Arnold's, there's a great inequity there," Hamilton says."I'd have been thrilled to play the part for free, too, but I have to look after all parts of my life and one part of that is about earning money and feeling OK about earning that kind of money. I'm worth it."

14. Little John Connor is Linda Hamilton’s Son

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - John Connor (Dalton Abbott)

The young John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is Linda Hamilton's real-life son. Sarah Connor has a dream about playing with her son on a playground played by Dalton Abbott. Dalton was born October 4, 1989, and is the son of Linda Hamilton and Bruce Abbott. His mother left the television show Beauty and the Beast (1987) because she was pregnant with him.

It’s the 28-year-old’s only acting credit.

15. Sarah Connor Almost Had a Wicked Scar

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)
For Terminator 2 James Cameron wanted to emphasize the harder edge of Sarah Connor by giving her a large scar across her face.

"The initial image I had of her was to have a big scar running down the side of her face, and we actually did makeup tests with scars, but it would have been a real nightmare to deal with a scar like that in production on a day-to-day basis," Cameron told Syd Field. "I really wanted her to look like Tom Berenger in Platoon. And Linda was up for it because the last thing she had done was playing Beauty in Beauty and the Beast for three years.

"It’s a tribute to her as an actor that she was able to pull off that severity without the help of any makeup whatsoever."

While a scar would have been awesome, Linda Hamilton carried enough emotional scars that her character didn't need it to be tough.

16. Linda Hamilton Turned Down Terminator 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)  Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), John Connor (Nick Stahl)

Linda Hamilton was offered a role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines but she didn’t think it was worth doing.

"They offered me a part," she told MTV. "I read it and I knew my character arc was so complete in the first two, and in the third one, it was a negligible character. She died halfway through and there was no time to mourn her. It was kind of disposable, so I said 'no thank you'."

Her role was reportedly little more than a sidekick to John before killing her off in a cliffhanger scene.

It's believed that this is why her character is reduced to a single line of dialogue in the movie. John Connor explains that Sarah died of leukemia in 1997. "They may have said, 'If we can’t get her, why bother,'" says Hamilton’s manager, Bobbie Edrick told Entertainment Weekly. "It’s better to write the role out than try to replace her."

Hamilton later did an uncredited cameo in Terminator Salvation (2009). John Connor listens to audio tapes from his mother to prepare him for the War Against the Machines. Hamilton re-recorded speeches to better fit the film.

From broken ankles to hearing loss Linda Hamilton was committed to her role and it shows. We can't wait for her to return in 2019.

Did you learn anything new about Sarah Connor? 

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  1. I knew her identical twin in was the second movie, just not in so many places. I'd also heard about her rigorous training before the film and she said the guy would've had her swimming the English Channel if she didn't have a son to return home to every night.

  2. I saw the alternate T2 ending on the VHS Ultimate Edition my brother used to have. It had the part about the twin too. One of those stupid fan polls: who's tougher, Linda Hamilton in T2 or Sigourney Weaver in Aliens?

    1. Good question Pat! I'd say Hamilton because she had to spend years training to be the fighter she is.

      Here's another fan poll: Who's tougher Sarah Connor or Wonder Woman? :)

  3. This is a cool list.
    The bug spray scene was a little messed up, but I guess it did work.
    Glad the alternate ending wasn't used in the film, though I did see it later.
    Of course she was paid less; she's a woman. Maybe one day things will change.


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