Sunday, July 5, 2009

Who Is That: Zelda Rubinstein

Name: Zelda Rubinstein
Occupation: Actress
Genre: Film/Television
Born: May 28, 1933
Died: January 27, 2010

"This house... is clean."

One of the most unique entertainers in Hollywood, Rubinstein has become an iconic staple in the sci-fi / horror genre. With her light, airy voice and 4'3" stature she has earned memorable roles in films such as the Poltergeist trilogy and had a recurring role on the hit television series "Picket Fences".

Having attended both the Universities of Pittsburgh and California, Rubinstein started her film career late in life after living in Europe for many years. Her first role was in "The Flintstone Comedy Show" in 1980, followed by a role in the comedy Under the Rainbow starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.

In 1982 she was catapulted into stardom when she was cast as the eccentric medium Tangina Barrons in the classic horror film Poltergeist, written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper. That year she was given a Saturn Award (the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films) as Best Supporting Actress for the role. According to Rubinstein, "Tobe was the nominal director, but this was a Steven Spielberg film."

Over the next two and a half decades, she would secure memorable roles in films including Poltergiest II and III, Sixteen Candles, Teen Witch, Southland Tales, Little Witches, The Wild Card, Cages, and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. She also filmed a cameo scene for the film Casper, but the scene did not make the final cut.

Another surge to her career came in 1992 when she was cast as regular character Ginny Weedon on the Emmy and Golden Globe winning series "Picket Fences". Having done a wealth of television work as well, Rubinstein has made guest appearances on shows including "Tales From the Crypt", "Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre", "Mr. Belvedere", "Martin", "The Pretender", "Hey Arnold!", "Caroline in the City", and "Darkwing Duck".

She later provided the voice behind the Skittles commercials ("Taste the rainbow") and as the narrator of the ABC series "The Scariest Places on Earth".

A longtime advocate for gay rights and AIDS awareness, Rubinstein has a relatively strong gay following. She stated that she lost work for a year as the result of her involvement in a 1984 ad campaign in which she played a mother figure in the ads, which predated Elizabeth Taylor's and Madonna's AIDS involvement by at least a year. You can Click Here to watch the short interview at

On December 29th, 2009, it was announced that Zelda Rubinstein had been officially taken off of life support after being hospitalized for a month due to organ failure. News spread quickly that Rubinstein was on death's doorstep, however a few days later a friend of hers stated "She’s okay. Vitals are good. She’s apparently doing better. Internet sources exaggerated the story."

Unfortunately, just under a month later, Rubinstein died on January 27, 2010, of "natural causes" at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, said Eric Stevens, her agent.

The exceedingly talented, educated, and proudly outspoken actress will be long remembered and sincerely missed.

1 comment:

  1. When she left us, everybody knew that the world was not going to be the same.
    Zelda Rubinstein was a great performer, and i read on other blog that her lover used viagra online because of some particular situation