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She Was One Of The Most Naturally-Talented Actresses Ever – But Linda Blair Was Never The Same After The Exorcist

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She Was One Of The Most Naturally-Talented Actresses Ever – But Linda Blair Was Never The Same After The Exorcist

When she was just 13 years old, Linda Blair gave a convincing portrayal of the demon-possessed Regan MacNeil in the terrifying movie The Exorcist, which made audiences shudder.

Filled with scandals, Blair withdrew from the public eye after receiving so many accolades for her performance that it left her speechless.

The Exorcist’s terrifying plot, which was accentuated by spine-tingling demonic imagery, shocked the church in addition to its religious topic.

The cast and crew members were beset by accidents and fatalities even after receiving a Jesuit priest’s blessing.

The Exorcist, a 1949 real-life exorcism served as the inspiration for William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel of the same name, is a film directed by William Friedkin.

The Exorcist is a 1973 horror film that centers on 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, whose violent and highly unpredictable conduct raises questions.

When medical treatment is unsuccessful, Regan’s mother, played by Ellen Burnstyn, turns to Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest, who affirms that Regan is under the influence of a demonic spirit.

Karras begs for the Catholic Church to carry out an exorcism in order to release Regan from the demons’ captivity.

The Exorcist, a supernatural horror movie that earned four Golden Globes, an Oscar for Best Sound and Best Screenplay, and other accolades, was a box office success despite its contentious themes.

It is currently the second-highest-grossing R-rated horror movie ever.

Blair played a terrifying character in her first significant motion picture role, which catapulted her into prominence.

Blair began her career as a child model, appearing in print and television advertisements as early as age five. Her credits included Carefree Gum, Welch’s Grape Jelly, and Ivory Soap.

Blair thought about giving up acting as a young adolescent in order to work with animals.

However, the allure of landing the lead in The Exorcist proved to be too strong to ignore.

Friedkin saw the newbie as the ideal fit right away during her audition and chose her to play Regan above thousands of other candidates.

Blair was never given the runaround and was had to carry out physically taxing, painful, and frequently dangerous tasks even though it was her first significant part.

People had to play difficult roles in films from the 1970s, when special effects weren’t driven by technology, making them susceptible to illness and injury.

At the end of the movie, a stunt guy actually threw himself down the 97 steps that are shown in the exorcism sequence, where a possessed Father Karras falls down the iconic steep steps to his death.

Blair didn’t have to tumble down any stairs; instead, the straps holding her to the bed, where she was thrashed around, sank into her back.

Her bedroom was designed to genuinely tremble, and it was kept at -30 degrees below zero so the cameras could capture the cloud of ice formed when an actor breathed.

Blair was the only member of the team dressed decently, while the others were merely in nightgowns.

Everyone on the set sensed the hardships.

There was a long list of production-related disasters and deaths on The Exorcist set, which gave the impression of being cursed.

The man who made Blair’s head spin, Marcel Vercoutere, the pioneer of special effects, said, “There was definitely a feeling it (something bad) could happen,” in the book “The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist. “I felt I was playing around with something I shouldn’t be playing around with.”

One of the most strange events was when a bird struck a lightbox, setting off a huge fire that destroyed the entire set where Regan’s exorcism was supposed to occur.

Six weeks were lost to production while the set was being reconstructed.

Friedkin ordered Thomas Bermingham, a Jesuit priest who assisted Blatty with his book and served as technical advisor, to exorcise the set the day before it caught fire.

Declaring that insufficient proof existed for a true exorcism, he bestowed blessings onto the whole cast and crew.

Tragedy kept befalling production nonetheless. Jack MacGowran, who portrayed Burke Dennings, Regan’s first victim in the movie, passed away from influenza.

The actress who portrayed Father Karras’ mother, Vasiliki Maliaros, passed away prior to the film’s premiere.

The fact that both of their characters in The Exorcist pass away is really unsettling.

Blair, one of the actresses, lost family members when her grandfather passed away during filming.

Nine individuals connected to the production passed away while the movie was being made.

Blair was unfazed by the unexplained happenings surrounding the film’s production because he was too young to really comprehend the concept’s intricacy and sensitivity.

She explained “The Exorcist was a work of fiction. I didn’t realize then that it dealt with anything in reality.”

Blair believed the concept was fictitious, but some spectators found the religious overtones to be extremely real, and Blair started to receive criticism from those who said the movie was to blame for their own religious crises.

She even got death threats and accusations that she was praising Satan by playing Reagan.

The 14-year-old found it intimidating to speak in front of the media since she was often asked questions by curious reporters during press conferences, seeking her thoughts on the movie’s idea.

Blair stated to Dread Central, “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.”

Blair was haunted by her part as Regan, which she played again in the 1977 film Exorcist II: The Heretic. Blair struggled to find roles that didn’t depict her as a poor, defenseless girl.

She played a young girl fleeing her terrible family in the 1974 TV drama Born Innocent. A year later, she starred as the main character in Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.

She made the mistake of being nude in the October 1982 issue of Oui magazine in an attempt to change industry preconceptions, which backfired and caused her career to spiral into positions involving exploitation.

Reverting to her initial interest prior to The Exorcist, she established the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of maltreated and overlooked animals.

Even with her activism and support for animals, the part she played fifty years ago continues to have a negative impact on her life.

“What’s very discouraging at times is the inability (of the media) to look at what I’m trying to do,” Blair said to The Sydney Morning Herald. “…I’m sad, but I’m not mad at them,” she conlcuded.

We can all agree that one of the scariest films ever made is The Exorcist. It holds up even though it was filmed in the 1970s!

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