Linda Blair on Receiving Death Threats for 'The Exorcist'

Season 5 Episode 514
CC | tv-14
The Exorcist was unleashed upon the public In 1973, the day after Christmas. Newspapers reported that moviegoers were so frightened they fainted in the aisles. It went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of 1974, earning 10 Academy Award nominations.

At the heart of the controversy was actress Linda Blair, whose portrayal of Satan-possessed Regan was so realistic some viewers blamed her for the way the movie made them feel. Linda, whose biggest role up to that point was on an obscure, short-lived daytime soap opera, wasn't prepared for the attention she started receiving--much of it negative.

Linda received death threats from people who believed her performance glorified Satan. "It was so controversial, so of course I am at the very pinnacle of all of that, so it all became my fault," Linda says. "Headlines sell papers, whether positive or negative, and in this case, it was very difficult for a 15-year-old girl."

Nevertheless, Linda says, she's happy she played a part in a movie that had a lasting impact on the culture. "When the film first came out, no one ever expected it to have the longevity that it has had throughout the years and I'm very proud of it."