View Full Version : Poltergeist actor dies at 76

01-28-2010, 10:24 AM
"This house is clean."


Zelda Rubinstein -- best known for her role as Tangina Barrons in the three "Poltergeist" films -- has died at the age of 76 from complications after suffering a heart attack two months ago.

Rubinstein's first role -- not counting her voice work as Atrocia Frankenstone on "The Flintstone Comedy Show" -- was as Iris in the Chevy Chase box-office bomb "Under the Rainbow." The first role came at the relatively late age of 47, in a film she personally despised for its depiction of little people. The 4-foot, 3-inch Rubinstein's fortunes changed dramatically when she was cast as the now-iconic medium, Tangina Barrons, in "Poltergeist." She would have continued success on television, most notably as Ginny Weedon in the David E. Kelley drama "Picket Fences," plus other small but memorable roles in films like "Sixteen Candles."

Rubinstein avoided what is known as the "Poltergeist" curse. Four of the cast members who starred in the series of three films died during the six years (1982-1988) between the first and third film. Dominique Dunne -- who was murdered by her boyfriend in 1982 at the age of 22 -- and Heather O'Rourke -- dying from septic shock in 1988 at the age of 12 -- were shocking tragedies. Will Sampson already had health problems before accepting a role in the second film and died from kidney failure in 1987 at the age of 53. Julien Beck was aware of his terminal stomach cancer before accepting the role of Kane in the second film -- he died in 1985. Louis Byron "Lou" Perryman -- who had a small role in the first film -- was murdered in 2009.