Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
We're looking for reporters for the LFF
Movie News

Seth Grahame-Smith Directing Warner Bros.' Flash
He'll also write the film
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon Leaves Collateral Beauty
The Will Smith drama is without a director
First Still From The Journey Released
Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley and Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness
Bel Powley Joins Wilding
Co-starring in the elevated horror thriller
Ellie Kendrick Cast In The Levelling
Game Of Thrones actress starring in flood drama
Transformers Franchise Planned Up To Part 8
Ten more years in the works
Sam Smith's Spectre Theme Released
UPDATE: Now with promo video
More Movie News

Zelda Rubinstein Dies
Poltergeist actress was 76

28 January 2010  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

submit to reddit

Zelda Rubinstein, best known for her role as Poltergeist's diminutive psychic, has died in Los Angeles. She was 76.

The actress, who died at Barlow Respiratory Hospital after suffering a recent heart attack, made her screen debut in Chevy Chase's 1981 screwball farce Under The Rainbow. It was a year later, though, that she landed the part she'll be best remembered as Tangina Barrons, the Freeling family's guide to the spirit world in Poltergeist.

The New Yorker's Pauline Kael enthused that Tangina  "gives the movie new life, and she makes a large chunk of it work. . . . She emanates the eerie calm of someone who is used to dealing with tricky, deceiving ghosts."

Rubinstein went on to reprise the role in Poltergeist 2: The Other Side and Poltergeist 3. She also appeared in John Hughes' coming-of-age comedy Sixteen Candles, Teen Witch and most recently Southland Tales.

The character actress was a passionate campaigner for HIV/AIDs awareness from as early as 1984. At 4 foot 3 inches, she was also an often outspoken advocate for the rights of little people, setting up a theatre company and giving her charges the advice: "Become an actor and your world will get much bigger."

Rubinstein has no immediate surviving family members.

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Cameron Wins Attenborough Award
While Up is Best Film
Todd Field Accepts The Creed Of Violence
Update: He's got the funds to make it

Your Comments

The Magic Munchkin Departs This Life
She may be dead, but Derek Acorah will be interviewing her next week from beyond the grave. Be afraid, be very afraid. More

Posted by BenTramer at 16:13 on 28 January 2010 | Report This Post

"This house is clean" RIP. More

Posted by vader100 at 15:19 on 28 January 2010 | Report This Post

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Jessica Chastain On The Martian
On becoming an astronaut and rescuing Matt Damon AGAIN

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

Hallowed Ground: Folk Horror In British Film
Ten tales from our island's dark past

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)