|Born||in St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
|Birth Name||Linda Denise Blair|
|Height||5′ 2″ (1.57 m)|
From the age of five, Linda Blair had to get used to the spotlight, first as a child model and then as an actress, when out of 600 applicants she was picked for the role of Regan, the possessed child, in The Exorcist (1973). Linda quickly rose to international fame, won the Golden Globe, and seemed to be set to take the Academy Award for that role, but when it leaked how some parts of the role were not performed by her (the demonic voice was dubbed by Mercedes McCambridge, and eight seconds of a stunt dummy were used) that dream broke, and with that disappointment probably came the first blow to what looked like the beginning of an A-list career.
Over the next few years she had no trouble securing lead roles in a number of pictures, including the highly successful television films Born Innocent (1974) (the #1 TV movie of that year) and Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (1975), as well as the Exorcist sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). However, when she was peer pressured into buying cocaine at the age of 18, it led to an arrest and subsequent sentencing to three years probation. The much-publicized drug bust caused Linda to be blacklisted in Hollywood, and her career was soon reduced to B-movies and occasional TV guest appearances only.
Although her career never returned to its former glory, Linda proved to be a good sport about embracing the change, and out of the ’80s emerged lead roles in two cult classics: the women-in-prison film Chained Heat (1983) and the femme fatale vigilante action film Savage Streets (1984). She continued acting in numerous films throughout the ’80s and ’90s, including the Exorcist spoof Repossessed (1990). In 1997, she also took to the Broadway stage and starred as “Rizzo” in the revival of “Grease.” She received widespread mainstream attention again in the 2000’s with the theatrical re-release of the Exorcist, followed by a hosting job on the hit Fox Family TV series Scariest Places on Earth (2000), which ran for six years and followed Linda as she visited notorious “haunted” locations around the world.
Linda was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Elinore, a real estate agent, and James, an executive headhunter. She has a brother, Jimmy, and a sister, Debbie. Linda has been a Hollywood icon for over 40 years, but it is her first love of animals that has ultimately taken center stage in her life. She now runs the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, a non-profit 501C3 tax deductible organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused, neglected, and abandoned animals from the harsh streets of the Los Angeles area, as well as from the overcrowded and overwhelmed city and county animal shelters. She works and lives on the 2-acre rescue sanctuary full-time in California, which was featured on The Today Show in a segment titled “From Devil to Angel.” Of course, she also makes frequent appearances at horror fan conventions to celebrate the legacy of The Exorcist (1973) .
Trade Mark (1)
- Family moved to Westport, CT when Linda was 2.
- Appeared in 75 commercials and hundreds of magazine catalogues by the time she was 12.
- Received death threats after The Exorcist (1973) premiered. Warner Brothers, the studio which released the film, hired the police to live with the Blair family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months. The original culprit was never caught. Once Linda’s promotional job on the movie was done and the studio stopped paying for security, threats from fanatics and religious zealots continued, including after the release of the film’s sequel. Her family ultimately had to take matters into their own hands and hide her out with friends in Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
- Flew to Florida to attend funerals for members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, when an acquaintance convinced Linda to go with her to buy cocaine. Blair reportedly went because she was interested in buying pedigree puppies which the dealers were selling. Blair reportedly placed a hold on one of the puppies and returned home to Connecticut. She kept in touch with the dealers, supposedly to buy the puppy, but the Drug Enforcement Agency was tapping the phones. They arrested Blair, along with 30+ others, when the dealer successfully pressured her into buying cocaine along with the dog, and she was charged with conspiracy to buy the cocaine from Florida to sell in Connecticut. Police searched her purse, found amphetamines, and then charged her with possession. The possession charge was dropped, and the conspiracy charge was reduced. She was ordered to serve three years probation, pay a $5,000 fine, and make at least twelve major public appearances to tell young people about the dangers of drug abuse.
- Her father, James, was an executive headhunter. Her mother, Elinore, was a real estate agent. She has a brother, Jimmy, and a sister, Debbie.
- Dated Rick James. James’ 1983 hit, “Cold Blooded,” was supposedly about his and Blair’s brief romance.
- Owns her own clothing line called Linda Blair’s Wild West Collection.
- Did a lot of her own skating in Roller Boogie (1979) and consequently developed bursitis in her hip.
- It was always very strange for me when I was young and would meet someone who geniunely seemed to be afraid of me. They couldn’t separate me from the monster I became in a movie. You wouldn’t believe how often people ask me to make my head spin around.
- “I’m not doing this (film) as an art piece, I’m not doing it from my heart, as a statement of my beliefs or my philosophy. I’m working.” Interview with The Los Angeles Times about Chained Heat (1983), 1983.
- [on getting the role of “Reagan MacNeil” in The Exorcist (1973)] I wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be in Disney movies, I wanted to be in “Lassie,” I wanted to be in “Flipper.” I didn’t want to be a monster.
- Compassion and sharing: that’s the true journey of the human spirit.
- In 1997, when I got involved with animal rescue, the news media said that there was this particular breed of dog in America named a pit-bull, and if you came across a pit-bull, “It will attack! And you’re going to die! Your child’s going to die!” So it created a frenzy that everyone assumed was obviously truthful, because “the news is truthful.” Well guess what? No, not always. Not only did, 30 years ago, the media give misinformation about who I was, but now they’re doing it again, and it’s very much – in my opinion – I call it irresponsible journalism.
- [on making it in Hollywood[ Hollywood is a very difficult place. You may feel that you deserve to be part of it, and sometimes you just don’t get that break. It is a hard business, and the word is business, but also enjoy it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful craft, and if more people go out and do more independent films, do things that they want to do, they might just find a place for themselves in Hollywood.
- America is not at a time when we are doing well… It is a very difficult time. Money is tight, and people are doing horrible things in society to others and to animals to make a buck, and it has to stop… You know how people say nowadays, “God, you know I can’t get along with my neighbor, I can’t get along with so-and-so…” People don’t care about their brother, people won’t help their brother… It’s got to change, it has to change.