By Kate Quesada

Fans of the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black (OITNB) will be excited to learn that one of the stars of the show grew up right in our backyard. Actress Beth Dover, who plays Linda Ferguson on the show, spent her teenage years in Valrico and graduated from Bloomingdale High School in 1996.

Dover moved to the area after her step-father retired from the Air Force in the early 1990s. Born in Chicago, she had previously moved every two years, even spending time living in South Korea. At 13, she attended Burns Middle School, then Bloomingdale High School and went on to graduate from the University of Florida with a theater degree.

“I have fond memories of my high school experience,” said Dover who still has family and friends in the area. “It was a great place to be a young actor.”

During her time in Florida, Dover, who was voted Best Smile in her high school class was able to act in Nickelodeon shows including Kenan and Kel and Welcome Freshmen in Orlando and was active in the Village Players community theatre in Valrico.

After college, she moved to New York City and then Los Angeles, where she currently lives with her husband, actor Joe Lo Truglion, and son. Dover filmed a number of shows including Burning Love on E!, New Girl and Fresh Off the Boat.

Dover began her roll in OITNB, which has won Golden Globes, Emmys and SAG awards, in the show’s third season. Her character, who works in administration for the company that owns Litchfield Prison and is the girlfriend to Joe Caputo, one of the show’s main characters, has grown over the last two seasons. The fifth season of the show was released in June.

“I honestly thought I was going to be in one episode,” said Dover. “I never in a million years thought I would be coming back.”

In addition to OITNB, Dover can also be seen currently on Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer and Comedy Central’s Another Period.

All five seasons of OITNB can be seen on Netflix.

Dover’s advice to aspiring actors is simple, “Stay in class,” she said. “Surround yourself with actors who inspire you. Create work with those people. Do something every day to take you one step closer to your goal, but create a balance in your life because this business is hard and there are no guarantees of success so you’ll want to be happy in your personal life as well.”

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.