Zelda Rubinstein Cause of Death: How the Poltergeist Star Passed Away

Zelda Rubinstein was a famous American actress and human rights activist, who is best known for her role as Tangina Barrons, the psychic who helped the family in the horror film Poltergeist and its sequels. She was also a regular on the TV series Picket Fences and the voice of Skittles candies in their commercials. But how did she die and what were the circumstances of her death?

Early Life and Career

Zelda Rubinstein was born on May 28, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland. She was the youngest of three children and the only short-statured person in her family. She stood just 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m) tall due to a deficiency of the anterior pituitary gland, which produces growth hormone. She did not become comfortable with her height until she was an adult.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a medical lab technician at blood banks. She moved to Berkeley, California, at the age of 25 and studied at the University of California, Berkeley. She decided to pursue an acting career in 1978 and studied acting at the University of California.

Breakthrough Role in Poltergeist

Her first major film role was in Poltergeist, which was released in 1982. She played Tangina Barrons, a diminutive clairvoyant who helped the Freeling family to rescue their daughter Carol Anne from a malevolent force that haunted their house. Her character uttered the memorable line “This house is clean” after clearing the spirits from the home.

She received critical acclaim for her performance and reprised her role in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988). She also appeared in other films such as Sixteen Candles (1984), Teen Witch (1989), and Southland Tales (2006). She also had roles in TV shows such as Jennifer Slept Here, Mr. Belvedere, Hey Arnold!, and Poltergeist: The Legacy.

Activism and Awards

Rubinstein was also a passionate activist for little people and HIV/AIDS awareness. She appeared as the mother in an ad campaign aimed at gay men in 1985, which was one of the first public service announcements to address the AIDS epidemic. She said she lost a friend to AIDS and knew that it was not a disease that would stay in one group of people.

She also supported various fundraisers and charities for the cause. She received several awards for her activism, such as the Humanitarian Award from AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1993 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Artivist Film Festival in 2007.

Final Years and Death

Rubinstein continued to work as an actress until she suffered a heart attack in late 2009. She never recovered from it and developed complications such as kidney and lung failure. She died on January 27, 2010, at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, California. She was 76 years old.

She did not have any funeral per her request, but there was a celebration of her life held in February 2010. Her agent, Eric Stevens, said she was “a wonderful human being who will be greatly missed by her many friends and fans around the world.”

Doms Desk

Leave a Comment