Horror History: POLTERGEIST’s Zelda Rubinstein Was Born in 1933

Today in horror history, Poltergeist and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon actress Zelda Rubinstein was born in Pittsburgh in 1933.

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On this day in horror history, Poltergeist and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon actress Zelda Rubinstein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1933.

RELATED: Rest in Peace: Zelda Rubinstein

Most famous around these parts for her role as Tangina Barrons in Poltergeist, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, and Poltergeist III, she is also known for roles such as Mrs. Collinwood in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Dr. Katarina Kuntzler in Southland Tales. Not to mention the classic Tales from the Crypt episode “The New Arrival” with David Warner and Robert Patrick.

She was the youngest of three children. She stood 4 feet 3 inches due to a deficiency of the anterior pituitary gland, which produces growth hormone. Rubinstein became active in the fight against HIV/AIDS in 1984. She attended the first AIDS Project Los Angeles AIDS Walk, later admitting that she did “pay a price, career-wise.”

Rubinstein died on January 27, 2010, at 76. She never recovered from a mild heart attack suffered several months earlier. Per her request, no funeral was held.

Mine is (obviously?) Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist with JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, and Heather O’Rourke. It centers on strange and creepy happenings that beset an average California family when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn menacing, and they must turn to a parapsychologist and an exorcist for help.

The modern horror classic sports an 85% approval rating over on Rotten Tomatoes. The Critics Consensus reads: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and — most importantly — consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.

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