LINDA BLAIR Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Linda Denise Blair                                                               
Born: 22 January 1959 St. Louis, Missouri USA                                         
Linda Denise Blair (born January 22, 1959) is an Academy Award-nominated               
American actress most famous for her role as the possessed child in the 1973           
film The Exorcist, and its sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic.                           
Blair was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Elinore (née Leitch), a       
real estate agent, and James Frederick Blair, an executive recruiter. She             
moved with her parents to Westport, Connecticut when she was two years old. As a       
young child, Blair began her career by modeling, then acting in commercials,           
including a long-running one for Gulden's Mustard. Blair had originally planned       
to become a veterinarian, but instead accepted a role in The Exorcist because         
the money would allow her to pursue horsemanship. She was chosen over the very         
similar-looking Pamelyn Ferdin since the director wanted an unknown, and Ferdin       
had already gained notoriety after appearing in Star Trek, The Odd Couple and         
Night Gallery.                                                                         
Based on William Peter Blatty's best-selling novel, The Exorcist was directed by       
William Friedkin, who had recently won an Oscar for directing The French               
Connection. The cast included Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max Von Sydow and           
Kitty Winn. Blatty produced the film and wrote the screenplay.                         
Blair gave a strong, credible performance as a young girl possessed by the devil,     
and was an integral part of the film's phenomenal success soon after opening in       
December 1973. Lines at theaters extended around blocks, with people standing in       
line for hours. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best         
Picture, and Blair received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, as       
well as Golden Globe and People's Choice Award wins. Blair received a Golden           
Globe nomination for the now defunct "most promising female star" category.           
Despite the film's several nominations, the Best Picture Oscar went to George         
Roy Hill's film The Sting. The Exorcist was virtually shut out, although it won       
for Blatty's screenplay and for Best Sound. Blair's chances for an Oscar were         
undeniably hurt when Mercedes McCambridge revealed to the press that she had           
provided the (initially) uncredited demonic voice, though Linda's voice was           
underlaid in the track, and another woman claimed to have body-doubled for Blair       
in several scenes, though the director dismissed the contributions of the double       
as insignificant. The Best Supporting Actress Oscar instead went to 10-year old       
Tatum O'Neal for her performance in Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon.                   
At age 15, Blair dated and co-habitated with pop singer Rick Springfield,             
despite a ten year difference in their ages and the fact that she was legally         
a minor.