Born in St Louis, Missouri, on January 22nd, 1959, Linda Blair started her lengthy, if hardly credible, acting career as a model and actress on television commercials in New York. Working from the age of five for such well known stores as Sears, J C Penny and Macy's, she also became the Cinderella and Heidi girl, two child role model figures that were transformed into posters and dolls for young girls to look at and play with. Two low budget movies in the early 1970s (The Way We Live Now and The Sporting Club) paved the way for the movie Blair is best remembered for: The Exorcist, where, in 1973, she chillingly portrayed the possessed Regan. An exercise in crude if visceral film-making, the movie catapulted the 14-year-old girl into the limelight, nabbing her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Alas, subsequently, Blair made the sort of career mistakes that have now claimed her as one of Hollywood's most famous also-rans.
Her transition from child to adult roles was beset with problems of a personal nature - drug abuse, alcohol-related scares and a run-in with the police in 1977 for possession of cocaine. What could have been a promising career stuttered into a continuous row of exploitation movies, wherein she received top billing for mere cameo appearances and edited pre-shot footage. The nadir of an already shaky career came in 1990, when she appeared in the spoof Exorcist movie, Repossessed, alongside Leslie Neilsen.
In tandem with the interminable and mindlessly sensationalist movies, however, is a person heavily involved in animal welfare and a horsewoman of note. (She began riding at about six years old and started showing in the larger horse shows at age 10. In the early 1990s, she completed a successful tour with her now retired horse, Northern Bound, in an amateur owner-jumper division.)
Currently working on movie projects for her company FalconWolf Productions, Blair divides her time between exposing crimes against animals and campaigning for the homeless and teen AIDS awareness. She diligently donates autographed items to celebrity auctions to raise money for various causes.
Despite all this humanitarian work, however, it's likely that Linda Blair will be forever viewed as the demonically possessed young girl whose head twists 360 degrees, who spews green vomit into the face of a priest, who does naughty, wincing things with a crucifix and who mouths the kind of obscenities that would make a frigate full of sailors blush. And to think she once dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.