Linda Denise Blair (born January 22, 1959) is an Academy Award nominated American actress most famous for her role as the possessed child, Regan, in the 1973 film The Exorcist, and its sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic.
Blair gave a strong, credible performance as a young girl possessed by a demon, 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 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.
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