Where in the Horror are they Now? Linda Blair!

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

linda blair the exorcist william friedkin ellen burstyn academy award winning classic william peter blatty where in the horror are they now


THEN: When you take a child actor and turn them into a cinematic villain of sorts, it can be an interesting mix. There is THE CONJURING films, THE OMEN, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, all featuring creepy kids ready to do some damage. However, arguably the most powerful and frightening performances from a young talent is Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. This 1973 classic film directed by William Friedkin is not only one of the best horror films, it may be one of the best motion pictures ever made. This terrifying tale of a young girl possessed by a demonic entity still haunts filmgoers, and while pretty much everything is perfect in this flick, it also helps to have a precocious child in the role. And yes, Ms. Blair is astounding in the film. It is especially frightening watching this sweet kid suddenly doing nasty things with crucifixes and spouting out supremely crude dialogue.

linda blair where in the horror are they now the exorcist william friedkin william peter blatty classic academy award

Linda Blair found work at a very young age. Her first credit came with a television series called Hidden Faces in 1968. Yet not a single soul could have prepared for her turn as Regan in THE EXORCIST. The sweet child easily turned into a demonic hell spawn. Her work in the groundbreaking feature not only made her an audience favorite, but it also earned her an Academy Award nomination. While the spinning of the head and the vomiting pea soup was always great for getting an audience to react, there is one moment here that really got to me. When young Regan wets herself during a swanky party, there is something so distressing about that. And yes, Blair sold every damn scene she was in.

Funny thing about Hollywood, if you are successful at one role, studios love to see you repeating that successful formula. So clearly the actress wasn’t called upon to play your typical cutie pie. She followed up THE EXORCIST with the 1974 TV-Movie entitled Born Innocent about a teenage runaway. In 1975, she had a few too many, in yet another TV-Movie called Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. Hell, she even appeared in one of those awesome disaster flicks. Blair played young Janice Abbot in AIRPORT 1975. Call me crazy, but I loved all the fun Airport flicks that ultimately inspired the classic comedy AIRPLANE. Yet after dealing with a plane that couldn’t land, Blair did finally return to the role that made her famous.

hell night peter barton vincent van patten tom desimone dead teenager movie slasher where in the horror are they now linda blair

THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (1977). Do I even need to say anything about this bizarro sequel? It’s a real shame, and frankly, the fault of this painful continuation isn’t Linda Blair – who reprises her role from the first film. This is one of those wacky movies that is so awful that it’s sort of entertaining. Strangely enough, her next scary flick I probably liked a lot more, and you may not have seen it. The late Wes Craven directed Linda in a cool little TV-Movie called Stranger in Our House. I happened to catch this late night on cable, and frankly, I dug the hell out of it. Sure it is painfully Seventies, but I really dug the actress playing a little hocus pocus with witchcraft. Look for this if you can, it's worth a watch for Craven and Blair fans.

I’m sure you all would love to hear all about the disco-licious 1979 flick ROLLER BOOGIE, but I’ll leave that one to you to linger on. How about a little HELL NIGHT to get you going? As a slasher fan, I happen to love this one. The 1981 feature also offered up Peter Barton and Vincent Van Patton, and it was awesome. Call me crazy but I adored seeing Linda Blair doing a down and dirty dead teenager movie – even if she looked nothing like a teenager at the time. After a return to horror, the actress found herself involved with a ton of cult classics. First it was CHAINED HEAT in 1983, then in 1984 she starred in the comedy NIGHT PATROL. And then she got savage! She played Brenda in SAVAGE STREETS (1984) and then it was Daly in SAVAGE ISLAND (1985).

Throughout the late Eighties and early Nineties, Ms. Blair appeared in a number of genre efforts. There was SFX RETALIATOR along with Chris Mitchum and NIGHTFORCE with James Van Patten and Richard Lynch, both in 1987. 1988 brought us WITCHERY, GROTESQUE and SILENT ASSASSINS. There was THE CHILLING (1989), BEDROOM EYES II (1989), BAD BLOOD (1989), DEAD SLEEP (1990) and a ton more exploitation movie fun. Then came the comedy that brought her back to demonic possession. REPOSSESSED was a goofy send up to THE EXORCIST that also featuring one of the kings of cinematic comedy at the time, Leslie Nielson. Aside from all the low budget love, she also makes a cameo in the Wes Craven classic SCREAM (1996) as an obnoxious reporter.

NOW: While Linda hasn’t worked in film all that heavily this past decade, aside from a few projects, she did make an appearance in a fantasy docudrama called THE GREEN FAIRY in 2016. I’m more than curious to check this out considering it also features freaking Richard Grieco and Roddy Piper. Next up, according to IMDb, she will be appearing in something called SURGE OF POWER: REVENGE OF THE SEQUEL. Like THE GREEN FAIRY, you’ll find a few other familiar faces here including Eric Roberts, Marina Sertis, Lou Ferrigno, Dawn Wells and Nicholas Brendon. Hey, it even has Jay Underwood and Gil Gerard.

Aside from her film career, Linda Blair is also an activist for a number of worthy causes. She is a voice for animal rights and worked with PETA. According to Wikipedia, she was involved with Feed the Children, Variety, the Children’s Charity and many others. She organized the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which works to rescue animals who have been abused or neglected. Plus she is also the co-author of a book called Going Vegan!. You have to respect her commitment to helping others.

Linda Blair’s film work has gone from an Academy Award nominated performance, to several cult hits, to making appearances on TV shows. With all the revival horror, it would be great to see her return to the big screen in yet another classic scary tale. Will that happen? Who knows! That said, she has put her efforts into other worthy causes, so it seems her interest may simply be in helping those in need. If you’d like to follow Linda Blair, you can catch her on Twitter and Facebook, and for all you convention lovers, that may be the best place to meet the legendary actress/activist face to face. Personally, I’ll always adore the one who brought the young Regan to life. So cheers to you Ms. Blair!

Source: AITH

About the Author

3121 Articles Published

JimmyO is one of JoBlo.com’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.