Born on this day in 1954: actress Linda Blair
Though not her first role, Blair is best known for her role as Regan, the child possessed by a demon in The Exorcist. Blair won the role out of 600 other actresses who read for the role. Director William Friedkin has said that she was “smart but not precocious. Cute but not beautiful. A normal, happy twelve-year-old girl.” Despite being a “normal, happy” girl, rumors persisted after the movie came out that the role had caused Blair to have a mental breakdown. The studio sent her on a national press tour to show she was still “normal” and “happy.”
Blair won a Golden Globe and People’s Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as being nominated for an Academy Award for the role. She reprised her role of Regan in The Exorcist II: The Heretic, a critical and commercial flop.
Some of Blair’s other genre work includes Hell Night, Grotesque, Witchery, The Chilling, Repossessed, and Sorceress. On the small screen, Blair starred in a Wes Craven made-for-TV movie Summer of Fear, as well as guest starred on TV shows like Monsters and Supernatural.