Linda Blair was only 13, when she acted in the legendary horror movie, The Exorcist, as she gave life to her character who was possessed, Regan MacNeil. After her incredible acting, she left her career as an actress.
The movie, The Exorcist was directed by William Friedkin. The movie was adapted by a novel with the same name, from the author William Peter Blatty.
The movie was released in 1973, which it was telling the story of Regan MacNeil, who was 12. The mother was played by Ellen Burnstyn. The mother was trying to get medical help for her daughter, and she meets with Father Damien Karras, who was acted by Jason Miller.
The priest reveals that Regan was possessed, and he tries to free Regan from the evil being who possessed Regan.
The movie is the first project Blair had took part in. She had amazed everyone with her talented acting. She was a child model before she appeared on The Exorcist. She had appeared on the TV commericals like, Ivory Soap, Welch’s Grape Jelly and Carefree Gum.
As she was dreaming about a career which where she can interact with aniamals, the offer from The Exorcist had tempted her. Friedkin was so impressed that he thought he found the actress for Regan.
She had acted in some dangerous stunts of her character, even though it was her first role in the industry. As the movies in the 70s were not supported by technology, people would work on the things, where now they are done by the technology. So the actors and actresses were open to injuries.
For example, to capture the steamy breaths of Regan, the room was held under the temperature of 30 below zero, and Blair was only wearing a nightgown at that temperature.
Marcel Vercoutere, special effects innovator had shared in the movie, “The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist,” which he was responsible for spinning Blair’s head, “There was definitely a feeling it (something bad) could happen. I felt I was playing around with something I shouldn’t be playing around with.”
In another accident, a bird flew into the lightbox, which created a fire. The shootings were stopped for six weeks. The day before the fire, the directo had asked Thomas Bermingham to exorcise the set. And Bermingham had blessed the set and the set crew.
Also, Jack MacGowran, the first victim of Regan, lost his life after the shootings were ended, due to influenza. Mother of Vasiliki Maliaros also lost her life after the movie was ended.
Blair had lost her grandfather during the shootings too. In total, nine people lost their lives during the movie.
“The Exorcist was a work of fiction. I didn’t realize then that it dealt with anything in reality.” Blair shared later.
“The amount of pressure that came down on me wasn’t anything I was prepared for. Especially all the pressure the press put on me. They thought I had all the answers about faith and Catholicism. … It was probably the most awful thing you could imagine.” she said to Dread Central.
As the role of helpless girl was stick onto her after the 1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic, she wanted to change some things, and appeared in a nude pose for an issue of Oui magazine, in 1982.
Her nude pictures raised many criticism and nothing changed in her career, in terms of the roles she played.
Later, she started the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, to save abused and neglected animals.
“What’s very discouraging at times is the inability (of the media) to look at what I’m trying to do…I’m sad, but I’m not mad at them.” she said to The Sydney Morning Herald.
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