At age 14, Linda Blair vomited pea soup on a cinematic priest. Remarkably, the now 62-year-old actor says she loves to eat pea soup, but she won’t touch the stuff if there’s meat in it. The star of the 1973 thriller, The Exorcist, became a vegetarian decades ago. Is Linda Blair a complete vegan now? Here’s what we know:
Why Blair gave up eating meat and fish
In a 2018 interview with Studio 10, The Exorcist star told Angela Bishop about how she hated pea soup while making the movie, but loves it now, as long as it’s vegan.
According to Blair, she decided to stop eating animal flesh after reading an article about pesticides, acid rain, and farm animal mistreatment in 1988. Blair explained that factory farms are atrocious places that adversely affect rivers, the air, and the environment in general, says Real Linda Blair.
When Blair was 19, stress and careless food choices threatened her life. She visited a doctor who told her that if she didn’t change her habits and live a less stressful life, her days were numbered. That’s when she started meditating and went full-tilt vegan, explains Gods Direct Contact.
Today, Blair lives on a 2-acre animal rescue farm in California where she runs the non-profit WorldHeart Foundation that is dedicated to saving neglected, abandoned, and abused animals from overcrowded Los Angeles area shelters. The former Hollywood actor’ love of animals currently takes center stage in her life, according to her IMDb bio.
Co-stars and green vegetable soup
Along with then-teenage Blair as Regan MacNeil, The Exorcist starred Ellen Burstyn as her mom, Chris MacNeil, Max Von Sydow as Father Lancaster Merrin, Lee J. Cobb as police lieutenant William Kinderman, and Jason Miller as barfed-upon Father Damien Karras. The voice of the demon inhabiting Regan was performed by veteran actor Mercedes McCambridge.
Moviegoers who bought tickets to see The Exorcist with hopes of being frightened half to death certainly got what they paid for. So did movie fans who hoped to be grossed out. It is well-known trivia that the substance used when Regan vomits on Father Karras was pea soup.
What you might not know is that it was specifically Andersen’s split pea soup to which a bit of oatmeal was added. According to Mental Floss, Campbell’s soup failed the audition because it didn’t provide the perfect effect.
According to Do You Remember, the priest’s reaction in the notorious pea soup scene was genuine, as the actor who played the pastor had been told the ersatz vomit would land on his chest. When the ghastly stuff hit him full in the face, Miller’s unscripted reaction was real. Fortunately for everyone involved, the scene required only one take.
After ‘The Exorcist’
Prior to filming The Exorcist, Blair appeared in hundreds of print catalogs and dozens of television commercials. Once the movie that made her famous wrapped, Blair accepted parts in several film projects, including the made-for-TV tearjerker, Born Innocent, and a box office flop called Sarah T: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.
She also appeared in the Exorcist sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic. After a cocaine bust made headlines when she was 18, Blair fell off the A-list and was more or less blacklisted in Hollywood, says IMDb.
These days, Blair puts her voice, fame, and money to good use. The Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation works diligently to prevent pet overpopulation as well as unnecessary euthanasia of pit bulls and other victims of breed-specific legislation.
Blair advocates for spaying, neutering, and micro-chipping pets. She and her foundation also educate pet owners about vaccination against parvovirus and other preventable animal diseases. Blair told Dread Central:
“I want to stop the shelters from having to euthanize because they have no other choice; I want to help communities find better ways to serve people and even help people who are losing their homes and their pets.”
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