August 20, 1961
|Died||August 14, 2020 58) (aged|
Palmdale, California, U.S.
Linda Manz (August 20, 1961 –August 14, 2020) was an American actress. Making her film debut in 1978, she was mainly active until 1997. She was noted for her roles in Days of Heaven (1978), Out of the Blue (1980), and Gummo (1997).
Linda Manz was born in Manhattan, to Sophie E. Manz and never knew her father.Growing up in Upper Manhattan Manz had a troubled childhood and a difficult relationship with her mother which led to her running away from home frequently and attending several schools. Manz told People magazine in 1979 that “For a long time, I was always asking people to adopt me”. She was initially indifferent to acting but, as she later explained in 2011, it was her mother, a cleaner at the World Trade Center, who "had an idea of me being in movies". Her mother insisted that Manz attend a showbiz academy that taught acting and dancing.
While at an academy for show business, a teacher told her that the casting director Barbara L. Claman was looking for streetwise kids to appear in a new Hollywood film. Manz turned up unannounced at Claman’s office, “smoking and looking all of 10 years old” but according to Claman “she had that special quality we wanted.”This introduction eventually lead in 1976 to Manz being selected at the age of 15 by Terrence Malick to act in his second film, Days of Heaven, as a streetwise orphan who joins her older brother and his lover when they flee Chicago in 1916, and find work, then refuge, with a wealthy Texas farmer. The film was released in 1978 due to its lengthy editing. Manz's part was initially smaller, but Malick was so impressed by her that he made a last-minute decision to have her provide an unscripted, improvised narration. Manz told interviewers, years later, that, “I just watched the movie and rambled on,” and that, “They took whatever dialogue they liked.” She received excellent reviews, with critic Roger Ebert saying, “Her voice sounds utterly authentic; it seems beyond performance.”
Manz next appeared alongside Ken Wahl in the 1979 teenage-gang drama The Wanderers , directed by Philip Kaufman,Her next role was in the short-lived CBS series, Dorothy . Manz then had a spot in the 1979 television movie Orphan Train as Sarah, as one of many orphans relocated from eastern orphanages to farms in the West and Midwest in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
She then made an impression as the lead in Dennis Hopper's influential cult film Out of the Blue .In Hopper’s drama she played Cebe, a troubled Elvis-obsessed teenager who masks her vulnerability with a punk attitude. Over a CB radio she broadcasts statements such as “Kill all hippies!” and “Subvert normality!” Her voice was subsequently sampled by Primal Scream in their song "Kill All Hippies", which was released in 2000.
She appeared in a small role as a robber in "The Snow Queen", an episode of Faerie Tale Theatre .
By the mid-1980s she had disappeared from the industry which Manz insisted was not due to any dramatic walking-out-on-Hollywood story, telling Time Out in 1997: “There was a whole bunch of new young actors out there, and I was kind of getting lost in the shuffle, so I laid back and had three kids. Now I enjoy just staying home and cooking soup.”The director Harmony Korine who admired her work sought out Manz after a 16 year absence from the screen for the role of a fast-talking tap-dancing mother of one of the main characters in Gummo , his nihilistic portrayal of marginalized small-town life which was released in 1997.
Manz then followed it up with a small role as the roommate of Deborah Kara Unger's character Christine in David Fincher's movie The Game .
Manz married film-industry camera operator Bobby L. Guthrie in 1985.Together they had three children: Michael, Christopher (who died in 2018) and William.
Manz died on August 14, 2020, at the age of 58. According to her son Michael, she suffered from pneumonia and lung cancer in the time leading up to her death.
Sources: Rotten Tomatoesand TV Guide , unless otherwise stated
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