Woman (In Horror) Crush Wednesday: Linda Blair

June 28, 2017

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

Well, my Little Monsters, we are at that point in the week where we make that downhill run towards the weekend. Now I had another actress originally slated to be highlighted today, but I made a calculated decision to focus on Linda Blair due to an event that’s happening this weekend. In two days Days of the Dead is descending on Indianapolis for three days of horror related festivities, and Linda was very recently confirmed to be in attendance as one of many media guests. With that in mind I felt it appropriate to go ahead and highlight this particular wonderful Woman of Horror, that I would have undoubtedly have written about eventually. So without further ado, I give you Miss Linda Blair.
Linda was the baby in her family, being the youngest of three children. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but would grow up in Westport, Connecticut. Linda’s career kicked off at the tender age of five, when she appeared, as a child model, in a Downy Fabric Softner advertisement. Throughout her childhood, Linda was a very steady worker, having appeared in dozens of commercials, the soap opera Hidden Faces and also the films The Way We Live Now and The Sporting Club, all by the age of 12.
In August of 1972, cameras rolled on the film that absolutely solidified Linda’s place in horror film history – The Exorcist. She won the part by beating out several hundred of other applicants. Frankly, I don’t think there is anybody who could have pulled the part off better. Linda’s fresh faced  “sugar and spice” brand of sweetness and innocence made her perfect for the role, and it’s also what makes what happens to her throughout the film so incredibly horrifying. Her portrayal was so impressive that she was nominated for both an Oscar and Golden for Best Supporting Actress, winning the latter. She was also nominated for a New Star of the Year (Actress) Golden Globe. Of course some people were not pleased with her for taking the role and someone even began sending her death threats. It’s an occurrence that would repeat itself even after the release of Exorcist II.
Her new found notoriety would help her to secure lead roles in films that would include: Born Innocent, Airport 1975, Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, Sweet Hostage and Victory at Entebbe.  Four years after The Exorcist terrified audiences by showing the harrowing experiences and demon possession inflicted upon a young girl by “Captain Howdy”, Linda would reprise her role of Regan MacNeil in Exorcist II: The Heretic.
In the late 70’s,  Linda encountered some legal troubles, which I will not go into. Why? Because that was then and this is now. Besides, if you are really interested you can find out on your own. Anyways…as is the case with the Hollywood machine, legal troubles can hamper or even kill someones career. But Linda isn’t a woman that would allow such a thing to hamper her career.  Granted, her career took a turn as a result, but she still would get roles in cult horror and exploitation  classics like Hell Night, Chained Heat and Savage Streets.

Throughout the 80’s Linda also kept her hand in the horror genre with roles in films like Grotesque, Witchery and The Chilling. In 1990, she would become the victim of demon possession all over again, but this time in a campy and humorous spoof of The Exorcist. In Repossessed, Linda played Nancy Aglet, a housewife who becomes possessed as an adult after previously being possessed as a young girl, and undergoes an exorcism on live television.
In 1996 Linda would also make an uncredited, but highly recognizable, cameo appearance in Wes Craven’s horror classic Scream, as the “Obnoxious Reporter”. Credited or not, fans of the genre can’t deny that they recognized her the moment she appeared on screen. On UK television’s Channel 4 she was featured in a documentary program called Didn’t You Used to be Satan?, which chronicled her life and the influence that The Exorcist had on her life.
Aside from her work in films, Linda’s resume also has a number of television credits. She has made appearances on shows like The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, MacGyver, Married… with Children, Supernatural, Celebrity Ghost Stories and RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was also a series regular on L.A. 7, Hollywood Squares, Scariest Places on Earth and Pit Boss.
While acting has obviously been a great passion for Linda, animals have always been her first and greatest love. From a very young age she wanted to be a veterinarian, and even began to compete as an equestrian at the age of ten. Over the years her love of animals has led to her working with PETA,  as well as organizing her own foundation. The Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, has been helping to rescue abused, neglected and mistreated animals for over a decade. She also switched to a vegan diet and, with  Sunny J. Harris, co-authored a book titled Going Vegan!, which explains about the process and reasons for making the change.

The horror genre is all the better for having Linda as an integral part, despite the fact that she had been absent from it for a while. She recently appeared in the docudrama, steeped in fantasy and horror imagery, called The Green Fairy, which details the history of that wicked green elixir known as Absinthe. Her most recent project, a crime thriller called Landfill, is currently in its post-production phases.
I am truly looking forward to meeting Linda this weekend, when I represent HorrorFuel at Days of the Dead here in Indy. If you are also attending, have fun, and who knows…you may just find me among all of the other Little Monsters. Like I always tell you folks, there is so much more to be learned about every wonderful Woman of Horror. All you need to do is have a look-see at Linda’s official IMDb page, or maybe her official Twitter page, OR you can even check out her official website
So until next time, be good all you Little Monsters…but not TOO good. And maybe I’ll see some of you at Days of the Dead.

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