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Linda Louise McCartney (née Eastman, formerly See, September 24, 1941 – April 17, 1998) was an American photographer, musician and animal rights activist. She married Paul McCartney of The Beatles on 12 March 1969. The McCartneys had four children together: Heather Louise (from her previous marriage, whom Paul McCartney adopted in 1969), Mary Anna, Stella Nina and James Louis. Linda became Lady McCartney when her husband was knighted in 1997.
She authored several vegetarian cookbooks, became a business entrepreneur (starting the Linda McCartney Foods company) and was a professional photographer, publishing Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era. She was a member of Wings. Read Full Bio >>
McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and died at the age of 56 on 17 April 1998, at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. She left her entire estate to her husband through a Qualified Domestic Trust Fund.
The Eastman family, with Linda Eastman McCartney on the far right.
McCartney was born Linda Louise Eastman, the second-eldest of four children, to Jewish-American parents in New York City. She had one brother, John (July 10, 1939) and two sisters, Laura (b. 1947) and Louise Jr. (b. 1950). She grew up in the wealthy Scarsdale area of Westchester County, New York and graduated from Scarsdale High School in 1960. Her father, Lee Eastman, was the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. He changed his name from Leopold Vail Epstein to Lee Eastman, but was not related to the Eastman Kodak family. He was songwriter Jack Lawrence's attorney, and at his request, Lawrence wrote a song called, "Linda", in honour of the five-year-old, which was recorded by Buddy Clark in 1947. Her mother was Louise Sara Lindner Eastman—heiress to the Lindner Department Store fortune—who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 1 in Queens, New York, in 1962. McCartney later said that because of her mother's death, she hated travelling in airplanes. McCartney studied for a Fine Art major at the University of Arizona. Her first marriage was to John Melvin See Jr., whom she met at university. They married on June 18, 1962, and their daughter Heather Louise was born on 31 December 1962. They were divorced in June 1965. McCartney later commented that See was a "nice man, a geologist, an Ernest Hemingway type". (See committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 19 March 2000, at his home in Tucson).
McCartney started work as a receptionist for the Town & Country magazine, and was the only unofficial photographer on board the SS Sea Panther yacht on the Hudson River who was allowed to take photographs of The Rolling Stones during a record promotion party. Although she had previously only studied the photography of horses in Arizona at an arts centre with a teacher, Hazel Archer, she was asked to be the house photographer at the Fillmore East concert hall. She photographed artists such as Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, and The Doors. She photographed Clapton for Rolling Stone magazine, becoming the first woman to have a photo featured on the front cover (May 11, 1968). McCartney and her husband also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone on January 31, 1974, making her the only person both to have taken a photo for and to have been photographed for the magazine cover. Her photographs were later exhibited in more than 50 galleries internationally, as well as at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A collection of photographs from that time, Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era, was published in 1993.
Further information: Paul McCartney
On 15 May 1967, the then Linda Eastman met Paul McCartney at a Georgie Fame concert at the Bag O'Nails club in London. She was in the UK on an assignment to take photographs of "Swinging Sixties" musicians in London. The two later went to the Speakeasy club on Margaret Street to see Procol Harum. They met again four days later at the launch party for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at Brian Epstein's house in Belgravia. When Eastman's assignment was completed, she flew back to New York City. In May 1968, they met again in New York, as John Lennon and Paul McCartney were there to announce the formation of Apple Corps. In September of the same year, McCartney phoned her and asked her to fly over to London. They were married six months later at a small civil ceremony (when she was four months pregnant with their daughter Mary) at Marylebone Registry Office on 12 March 1969. She said after the birth of James that four children was enough. She became Lady McCartney when her husband was knighted in 1997. Her brother, entertainment lawyer John Eastman, has represented Paul McCartney since the break-up of The Beatles.. Linda McCartney now has six grandchildren, all of which were born after her death: Mary's three sons Arthur Alistair Donald (born 3 April 1999), Elliot Donald (born 1 August 2002), and Sam Aboud (born 11 August 2008), and Stella's children, Miller Alasdhair James Willis (born 25 February 2005), daughter Bailey Linda Olwyn Willis (born 8 December 2006), and Beckett Robert Lee Willis (born 8 January 2008).
Paul and Linda McCartney at the 1974 Academy Awards.
Linda made an uncredited vocal contribution to the Beatles' title song of Let It Be in January 1969. After the breakup of the Beatles in 1970, McCartney taught her to play keyboards, and permanently included her in the lineup for his new group Wings. The group garnered several Grammy Awards, becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, but had to endure jibes like, "What do you call a cow with wings? Linda McCartney". Linda later admitted that the early accusations about her singing out of tune in the early days with Wings were true.
In 1977, a single entitled "Seaside Woman" was released by an obscure band called Suzy and the Red Stripes, on Epic Records in the U.S. In reality, Suzy and the Red Stripes were Wings with Linda McCartney (who also wrote the song) on lead vocals. The song was recorded by Wings in 1972, in response to a lawsuit by ATV (which owned Northern Songs) over Paul McCartney's practice of granting his wife co-writing credit on his songs, which had the effect of transferring a share of the publishing royalties to MPL Communications from ATV. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
McCartney and her husband shared an Oscar nomination for the song "Live and Let Die", which they co-wrote. Linda McCartney's album Wide Prairie, which included "Seaside Woman", was released posthumously in 1998. Paul McCartney worked with the help of the Beatles' engineer, Geoff Emerick, to finish the album. Along with eight other British composers, he contributed to the choral album A Garland for Linda, and dedicated his classical album, Ecce Cor Meum, to his late wife. In January 1999, "The Light Comes From Within" single from the Wide Prairie album was banned by TV and radio stations in the UK. Paul McCartney placed advertisements in English national newspapers asking parents to give "guidance" as to whether their children could be "morally corrupted" by the song lyrics, which included the lines, "You say I'm simple, you say I'm a hick, You're fucking no-one, you stupid dick".
McCartney introduced her husband to vegetarianism in 1975, and promoted a vegetarian diet through her cookbooks: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking (1989) Linda’s Kitchen and Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals. She explained her change to vegetarianism by saying that she did not "eat anything with a face", and if "slaughterhouses had glass walls the whole world would be vegetarian". In 1991, she introduced a line of frozen vegetarian meals under the Linda McCartney Foods name, which made her wealthy independently of her husband. In 1995, McCartney appeared in animated form with her husband in The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Vegetarian". The "Trash of the Titans" episode was dedicated to her memory. The H. J. Heinz Company acquired Linda McCartney Foods in March 2000, and the Hain Celestial Group bought it in 2007.
McCartney was a strong advocate for animal rights, and lent her support to many organizations like PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) as well as The Council For The Protection of Rural England, Friends Of The Earth, and was a patron of the League Against Cruel Sports. Before her death, she narrated a TV advertisement for PETA, in which she said: "Have you ever seen a fish gasping for breath when you take it out of the water? They’re saying, ‘Thanks a lot for killing me. It feels great, you know.’ No! It hurts!" After her death, PETA created the Linda McCartney Memorial Award.
McCartney was arrested in Los Angeles for possession of marijuana in 1975, although all charges were later dropped. In 1984, the McCartneys were arrested in Barbados for possession of marijuana and were fined $100 each. They flew to Heathrow Airport, London, where Linda McCartney was arrested again on charges of possession. She later commented that hard drugs were disgusting, but marijuana "is pretty lightweight".
A photo of Linda McCartney shortly before her death.
McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and her condition soon grew worse as it spread to her liver. Paul's last words to her were: "You're up on your beautiful Appaloosa stallion. It's a fine spring day. We're riding through the woods. The bluebells are all out, and the sky is clear-blue". Linda McCartney died at age 56 on April 17, 1998, at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. She was cremated in Tucson, and her ashes were scattered at McCartney's farm in Sussex. Paul later suggested that fans remember her by donating to breast cancer research charities that do not support animal testing, "or the best tribute — go veggie". Memorial services were held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which was attended by George Harrison, David Gilmour and Ringo Starr. A memorial service was also held at Riverside Church in Manhattan, two months after her death.
Talking later about the medication used to treat her breast cancer, Paul said: "If a drug has got to be used on humans then legally it has to be finally tested on an animal ... This was difficult for Linda when she was undergoing her treatment." He also claimed that she was unsure if the drugs she took had been tested on animals: "During the treatment, a nice answer is a nice answer and if they (the doctors) say, `It's OK to have this because we didn't test it on animals', you are going to believe them." She left her entire fortune to her husband in a special trust, known as a Qualified Domestic Trust, which allows deferral of estate taxes due on her assets until after his death. He will have access to any royalties from books, records and any financial remuneration for the use of his wife's photographs. He has pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms.
Wide Prairie, a six-minute cartoon fantasy film by Linda McCartney and director Oscar Grillo, was premièred at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 19 August 1998. It was shown before the British première of The Horse Whisperer, starring Robert Redford. On April 10, 1999, Paul McCartney performed at the tribute "Concert for Linda" in the Royal Albert Hall, with numerous artists including George Michael, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello and Tom Jones. In January 2000, he announced donations in excess of $2,000,000 for cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, where Linda received treatment. The centers received $1 million (£625,000) each. The donations, through the Garland Appeal, were made on the condition no animals would be used for testing purposes. In 2000, The Linda McCartney Centre, a cancer clinic, opened at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital. In November 2002, the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust opened a memorial garden in Campbeltown — the main town on the Mull of Kintyre — with the dedication of a bronze statue of Linda by sculptor Jane Robbins, commissioned and donated by Paul.
Elizabeth Mitchell and Gary Bakewell played Linda and Paul McCartney in the 2000 TV movie The Linda McCartney Story.. Catherine Strauss had earlier played her (as "Linda Eastman") in the 1985 TV movie John and Yoko: A Love Story. Tamara Blum Cohen appeared as Linda McCartney in a 2007 episode of the TV series Final 24 focused on Keith Moon. << Less Bio
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