Published at: Jan. 27, 2010, 7:24 p.m. CST by quint
Hey, guys. Quint here with some bad news. Legendary character actress Zelda Rubinstein passed away. You’ll know her from her work in movies like TEEN WITCH, ANGUISH, SIXTEEN CANDLES and, most likely, from her tour de force in POLTERGEIST.
This hits me pretty close to home. Not only did I grow up with Zelda’s movies, but over the last three years I’ve gotten to know her and her partner, David, personally.
It all started when I interviewed her for Poltergeist’s DVD back in 2007. It was a phoner and instantly her voice sent me back to my childhood. I found her to be very sweet and very frank. Read the interview, with audio clips to see her talk about Tobe Hooper’s issues and just how much input Spielberg had on the movie.
She was sweet and nice and all that, but what really caught me off guard was her flirtatious nature.
Count me doubly shocked when she called me out of the blue a week later in the first of what would be a nearly weekly occurrence.
We’d talk about everything, her life, her pilot boyfriend (who is very cool), her sexual history (no joke), her political opinions and just general bullshitting.
After hours of phone calls I ended up visiting her at her home in Silverlake and I found her to be exactly the person I expected from the phone calls. Sweet, caring, opinionated, frank and occasionally vulgar… that’s Zelda in a nutshell.
Three weeks ago people were already running their obituary, so I called and talked to David who said it was bad, but not as bad as they were saying. I left word with him to give her my best, but I don’t know if she ever recovered enough to hear it.
The last time I talked with her I was planning this trip I’m on now, which begins at Sundance, then continues on to LA and we were planning on seeing each other on that trip. She was still full of verve and vigor, saying she was recovering from some surgeries and would be back to 100% soon.
Zelda was fond of saying she was the last of her kind, that they had been able to cure her particular form of dwarfism and there would never be another like her. She’s right. There won’t be another Zelda Rubinstein and I feel blessed to have had the last few years to get to know her as a complicated, hilarious and good-natured person.
I’ll miss you, Little Z.