Linda Blair

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 was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Elinore (née Leitch), a real estate agent, and James Frederick Blair, an executive recruiter.[1] 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.

The Exorcist
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 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.

Linda Blair

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