Linda Blair’s role as Regan in The Exorcist was her first major acting gig—but her experience on set was also a horror story.
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A Chilling Set
During the harrowing exorcism scenes, Blair wore a thin nightgown, which wasn’t enough to shield her from the shockingly cold temperatures on set. To make her breath visible, the production team used air conditioners, causing the temperature to often dip below zero. While the crew dressed appropriately, Blair had no choice but to endure the bitter cold. But it only gets worse.
A Lasting Injury
During the scenes where Blair thrashes her body around due to possession, she wore a harness attached to a mechanical bed. But on one chilling occasion, her lacings came loose, which injured her in a terrible way: "I'm crying, I'm screaming, they think I'm acting up a storm. It fractured my lower spine. No, they didn't send me to the doctor, it is the footage that's in the movie.”
Lastly, Blair’s makeup routine took anywhere from two to five hours to complete, which was already a difficult process, but to make matters worse, the glue used to secure her prosthetics painfully burned her face.
Sadly, Linda Blair’s spinal injury continued to haunt her into her adult years, and she even developed scoliosis. But no matter how much of an ordeal The Exorcist was for her, Blair still believes that the film was one of the most formative chapters of her life.