Sometimes when it comes to getting credit where credit is due, a person is left out in the cold without said deserved recognition. Frankly, my Little Monsters, that doesn’t sit well with me. And it’s something that today’s wonderful Woman of Horror had to experience in relation to what can be considered to be arguably her most famous cinematic contribution, but we’ll get into that momentarily.
Eileen Dietz was born in Bayside, New York, and is one of three daughters in her family. She is one of a pair of identical twins, so when it comes down to which of the two is the oldest it’s most likely negligible, as they were likely born within mere minutes of one another.
Eileen got into the business VERY early as she and her twin sister Marianne appeared in a soap commercial when they were only six weeks old. Of the two, Eileen was the one who continued on with acting and at the age of 12 began to study acting at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.
Throughout her career, Eileen has acted on stage, the small screen and the big screen. Her first film role was as Ellie in Sande N. Johnsen’s 1966 bad girl flick entitled, Bad Girl Debs. A year later she starred as Penny Wohl in Jim McBride’s cult film and fake documentary, David Holzman’s Diary. It’s a film that not only make it onto critic Steven Schneider’s list of “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, but in 1991 was selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
During the late 60’s into the early 70’s, Eileen could be found lending her talents to stage productions as well. One particular noteworthy performance would be her portrayal of the “Young Girl’ in the original off Broadway production of Bruce Jay Friedman’s play, Steambath. In this production she had the opportunity to act alongside Anthony “Norman Bates” Perkins.
Many actors and actresses work diligently, giving it all they have as they try for their 15 minutes. But in 1973 Eileen earned, and I do mean EARNED, herself 15 seconds of fame…possibly less than that actually. You see, there was this little film about demon possession, called Te Exorcist…maybe you’ve seen it or at least heard of it (he he). Well, it appears that the producers were looking for someone to play the “Face of Death (that’s Pazuzu to you and me, Rusty) and Eileen was the lucky lady cast in the role. Of course if anybody went digging through the ending credits looking for the name Eileen Dietz, they were shit out of luck. You see, Eileen was not credited for her work on the film despite the fact that her original “few days” ballooned into SIX MONTHS on set. She not only portrayed the demon, who appears as a white face out of the darkness, she also stood in for Linda Blair in numerous scenes where Regan is possessed. Eileen even tried in vain to at least get a credit as something of a “stunt puker” for decorating Jason Miller’s face with a lovely splat of pea green vomit. Regardless of whther she was credited or not, her involvement in the film has cemented her iconic status as one of the wonderful Women of Horror.
Aside from the uncredited treatment on The Exorcist, Eileen has also gone uncredited for movies like Constantine, Karla, Rob Zombies Halloween II, and a made for TV movie called How to Break Up a Happy Divorce. However, Eileen has gone on to have dozens of fully credited roles on her resume. She has appeared on television on programs like Love of Life, Planet of the Apes, Barnaby Jones, Happy Days, Guiding Light, General Hospital, and even Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!...just to name a few. Eileen also has quite a few film credits, many of them in our beloved horror genre, which include Helter Skelter, Exorcism (hmmm, I wonder what that’s about), Neighborhood Watch, The Queen of Screams, The Freeway Killer, Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1, The Legend of the Mountain Witch and Scream Queen Campfire…again, just to name a few.
In just the next couple of years, Eileen is connected to about 15 total projects that have been announced, are in pre-production, are currently filming or have been completed. Suffice to say that Eileen is a rather busy lady these days. Currently she can be seen in Monsterland, Eden Falls and Lake Alice, which is currently available on Amazon Video.
I was incredibly fortunate to meet Eileen at Days of the Dead here in Indianapolis back at the end of June. Boy did she have an entertaining tale to tell about here experiences on the set of The Exorcist. So if you have the opportunity to meet her at a convention I highly recommend it. Because she is not only lovely and kind, but she’s also a bit of a humorous character as well. Of course you Little Monsters can also read here account of the happenings and goings on the set as she saw them by reading her book, Exorcising My Demons: An Actress’ Journey to the Exorcist and Beyond.
You may already know what I’m about to tell you. And NO, it doesn’t make you psychic as much as it proves I am repetitive. Anyways…if’n you Little Monsters out there want to keep tabs on what’s coming down the pike in the form of upcoming projects that Eileen is a part of, you can always take a gander at her official IMDB page. I have also located a potential Twitter page as well as a Facebook page, but since they aren’t verified I can’t confirm their authenticity.
Well, I have very little sage like advice to offer this week…except maybe for this. Until next time, remember gang, you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends…but you CAN’T pick your friends nose, because it’s socially awkward and UNACCEPTABLE.
After the tragic drowning death of their daughter, John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie)...