Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Zelda Rubinstein, R.I.P.
Rubinstein, who also appeared as the mother figure in a high-profile mid-1980s public awareness campaign in Los Angeles aimed at stopping the spread of AIDS, died Wednesday of natural causes at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, said Eric Stevens, her agent.
Rubinstein was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about two months ago after suffering a mild heart attack, Stevens said. "She had ongoing health issues and unfortunately they finally overtook her," he said.
A medical lab technician before launching her acting career in her 40s, the 4-foot-3 Rubinstein made her film debut as one of the little people in the 1981 Chevy Chase comedy "Under the Rainbow."
Among her other credits are the movies "Frances," ”Sixteen Candles," ”Teen Witch," ”Anguish" and "Southland Tales" and the TV series "Picket Fences" on which she was a regular.
But Rubinstein made her biggest impact as Tangina in director Tobe Hooper’s "Poltergeist," co-written by Steven Spielberg, who also served as a producer.
"Do y’all mind hanging back? You’re jamming my frequencies," Rubinstein’s Tangina says as she tours the house after the young daughter has been sucked into a blinding white light in her bedroom closet and disappeared.
The role was written specifically for a little person.
"I thought it would be neat to show that someone’s size had nothing to do with her psychic powers," Spielberg told the Los Angeles Times in 1982. "Good things can come in small packages, and that’s certainly true of Zelda."
Read the full story at BostonHerald.com.