Linda Denise Blair (born January 22, 1959) is an American actress. Blair is best known for her role as the possessed child, Regan, in the film The Exorcist (1973), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe. She reprised her role in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Saturn Award.
Blair was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and was raised in Westport, Connecticut. She began her career as a 6-year-old child model and started acting with a regular role on the short-lived Hidden Faces (1968–69) daytime soap opera. Her first theatrical film appearance was in The Way We Live Now (1970). Blair was selected from a field of 600 applicants for her most notable role as Regan in The Exorcist (1973). The role earned her a Golden Globe and People's Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an Academy Award nomination. She reprised her role in the sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), garnering a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress of 1978. Between these two films, she appeared in Born Innocent (1974), Airport 1975 (1974), Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (1975) and Sweet Hostage (1975) opposite Martin Sheen.
Blair's career took a new turn in the 1980s, as she starred in a film in 1980 entitled Ruckus along with actor Dirk Benedict. She also starred in a number of successful low-budget horror and exploitation films, including Hell Night (1981), Chained Heat (1983) and Savage Streets (1984).
Blair later worked in numerous films, mostly comedies, including the Exorcist send-up Repossessed in 1990, and a cameo role in Scream (1996). In 1997, she appeared in a Broadway revival of Grease. She was cast as a regular in the BBC television show, L.A. 7 (2000). She hosted Fox Family's Scariest Places on Earth (2000–06).
In 2006, she guest starred on the TV Series Supernatural playing the part of Detective Diana Ballard as she aids Sam & Dean Winchester in the Episode: "The Usual Suspects" which aired November 9th, 2006.
In 2013 Blair accepted a role in the comedy webseries Whoa! and has since appeared in the 2016 feature The Green Fairy, as well as the upcoming Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.
Blair also became an animal rights activist and humanitarian, working with PETA, Feed the Children, Variety, the Children's Charity, and other organizations. Blair also devotes time to a non-profit organization she organized, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which works to rescue abused, neglected and mistreated animals. She commenced to follow a vegan diet, and was a co-author of the book Going Vegan!
Towards the end of the 1970s, Blair encountered trouble with law enforcement authorities as she was charged with drug possession and conspiracy to sell drugs. She pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine, in exchange for three years' probation. Blair was also required to make at least 12 major public appearances to tell young people about the dangers of drug abuse.
In 1997, she appeared in a documentary for Channel 4 in the UK entitled "Didn't You Used to be Satan?", which served as a biography of her life to that point and how the film The Exorcist had dominated her career and life.
She also appeared in critic Mark Kermode's 1998 BBC documentary "The Fear of God" (which Kermode directed and hosted), included as a special feature on the DVD of The Exorcist. Most of Kermode's linking scenes to camera were removed from the DVD version to shorten the running time. The version shown on BBC TV in 1998 was shown intact.
In 2008, she appeared at the 18th annual Malaga Fantasy and Horror Film Festival to accept a lifetime achievement award for her work in the horror genre.
She appeared in the 2009 documentary Confessions of a Teenage Vigilante, discussing her role as Brenda in Savage Streets (1984). The documentary was included as a bonus feature on the 2009 DVD release of the film.
In 2010 she appeared as herself on the cable series Pit Boss and Jury Duty. She appeared in the 2011 Rick Springfield documentary Affair of the Heart, and was a panelist in a 2011 episode of The Joy Behar Show.
In 2012 Blair appeared at a pre-taped 84th Academy Awards ceremony honoring makeup artist Dick Smith, who had created the iconic makeup for Blair in The Exorcist.
Awards and nominations
|1973||Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actress||The Exorcist||Nominated|
|1974||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||The Exorcist||Won|
|1974||Golden Globe Awards||New Star of the Year – Actress||The Exorcist||Nominated|
|1978||Saturn Awards||Best Actress||Exorcist II: The Heretic||Nominated|
|1982||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actress||Hell Night||Nominated|
|1984||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actress||Chained Heat||Nominated|
|1985||Golden Raspberry Awards||Scream Queen||Herself||Won|
|1986||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actress||Night Patrol||Won|
|1986||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actress||Savage Island||Won|
|1986||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actress||Savage Streets||Won|
|1970||The Way We Live Now||Sara Aldridge|
|1971||The Sporting Club||Barby|
|1973||The Exorcist||Regan MacNeil||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture |
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
|1974||Born Innocent||Chris Parker||Television movie|
|1974||Airport 1975||Janice Abbott|
|1975||Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic||Sarah Travis||Television movie|
|1975||Sweet Hostage||Doris Mae Withers||Television movie|
|1976||Victory at Entebbe||Chana Vilnofsky||Television movie|
|1977||Exorcist II: The Heretic||Regan MacNeil||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1978||Stranger in Our House||Rachel Bryant||Television movie|
|1979||Wild Horse Hank||Hank Bradford|
|1979||Roller Boogie||Terry Barkley|
|1981||Hell Night||Marti Gaines||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|1983||Chained Heat||Carol Henderson||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|1984||Night Patrol||Officer Sue Perman||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|1984||Savage Streets||Brenda||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Regan MacNeil||Archive footage|
|1985||Red Heat||Christine Carlson|
|1985||Savage Island||Daly||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|1988||Moving Target||Sally Tyler|
|1989||Up Your Alley||Vickie Adderly|
|1989||The Chilling||Mary Hampton|
|1989||Aunt Millie's Will||Unknown||Short film|
|1989||W.B., Blue and the Bean||Annette Ridgeway|
|1990||Zapped Again!||Miss Mitchell|
|1991||Bedroom Eyes II||Sophie Stevens|
|1992||Fatal Bond||Leonie Stevens|
|1992||Dead Sleep||Maggie Healey|
|1992||Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer?: The Bambi Bembenek Story||Jane Mder||Television movie|
|1992||Perry Mason: The Case of the Heartbroken Bride||Hannah Hawkes||Television movie|
|1993||Bad Blood||Evie Barners|
|1996||Prey of the Jaguar||Cody Johnson|
|2003||Monster Makers||Shelly Stoker||Television movie|
|2005||Diva Dog: Pit Bull on Wheels||Unknown||Short film|
|2006||All Is Normal||Barbara|
|2006||The Powder Puff Principle||School Board President||Short film|
|2012||An Affair of the Heart||Herself|
|1968–1969||Hidden Faces||Allyn Jaffe||Unknown episodes|
|1982||The Love Boat||Muffy||Episode: "Isaac Gets Physical"|
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Jane Pascal||Episode: "Murder Takes the Bus"|
|1989||Monsters||La Strega||Episode: "La Strega"|
|1990||MacGyver||Jenny Larson||Episode: "Jenny's Chance"|
|1992||Married... with Children||Ida Mae||Episode: "The Magnificent Seven"|
|1996||Renegade||Teddy Rae Thompson||Episode: "Self Defense"|
|1997||The RuPaul Show||Herself||Episode: "13 December 1997"|
|1999||Godzilla: The Series||Alexandra Springer||Episode: "S.C.A.L.E."|
|2000||L.A. 7||Joni Witherspoon||9 episodes|
|2000–2003||Hollywood Squares||Herself||10 episodes|
|2001–2006||Scariest Places on Earth||Host||15 episodes|
|2006||Supernatural||Detective Diana Ballard||Episode: "The Usual Suspects"|
|2010–2012||Pit Boss||Herself||12 episodes|
|2012||Celebrity Ghost Stories||Herself||Episode: "Victoria Rowell/Dot Jones/Carlos Mencia/Linda Blair"|
|2014||RuPaul's Drag Race||Herself||Episode: "Scream Queens"|