Linda Louise McCartney, Lady McCartney (née Eastman; formerly See; 24 September 1941 – 17 April 1998) was an American photographer, musician and animal rights activist. Her father and mother were Lee Eastman, a New York lawyer, and Louise Sara Lindner Eastman.
In 1969, she married Paul McCartney, and later joined McCartney's band, Wings. In the same year McCartney adopted her daughter, Heather Louise, from her first marriage to Joseph Melville See. The McCartneys had three children: Mary Anna, Stella Nina, and James Louis. She became Lady McCartney when her husband was knighted in 1997.
She wrote 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. McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and died at the age of 56 on 17 April 1998 in Tucson, Arizona, where the McCartneys had a ranch.
Linda Louise McCartney, the second-eldest of four children, was born Linda Louise Eastman in New York City. She had one older brother, John (10 July 1939), and two younger sisters, Laura (born 1947), and Louise Jr. (born 1950). She grew up in the Scarsdale area of Westchester County, New York and Scarsdale High School graduated her in 1959. Her father was born Leopold Vail Epstein, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants, who later changed his name to Lee Eastman. It is an often-repeated urban myth that Linda was related to the George Eastman family of Eastman Kodak fame: this is not the case. Her father was the attorney for songwriter Jack Lawrence, and at his request in 1942, Lawrence, while in the army, wrote a song called, "Linda", in honor of the one-year-old. It was published in 1946, and recorded by Buddy Clark in 1947. John Eastman later became Paul McCartney's attorney and manager, taking over from his father, Lee Eastman.
Her mother, Louise Sara (Lindner) Eastman—the daughter of Max J. Lindner, founder of the Lindner Company clothing store in Cleveland, Ohio—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 by air. McCartney studied for a Fine Art major at the University of Arizona. Her first marriage was to Joseph Melville See Jr., whom she had met at college. They married on 18 June 1962, and their daughter Heather Louise was born on December 31, 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, Arizona.
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 later asked to be the house photographer at the Fillmore East concert hall, and supposedly became a popular groupie. She photographed artists such as Aretha Franklin, Grace Slick, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, The Doors, The Animals, John Lennon, and Neil Young. She photographed Young in 1967—the picture was used for the front cover of Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968, in 2008.
She photographed Clapton for Rolling Stone magazine, becoming the first woman to have a photograph featured on the front cover (11 May 1968). She and McCartney also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone on 31 January 1974, making her the only person both to have taken a photograph, and to have been photographed, for the front cover of the magazine. 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. She also took the photograph for the cover of McCartney and Michael Jackson's single, "The Girl Is Mine".
McCartney and children
On 15 May 1967, the then-Linda Eastman met 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 her assignment was completed she flew back to New York City. In May 1968, they met again in New York, as John Lennon and McCartney were there to announce the formation of Apple Corps. In September of the same year, he phoned her and asked her to fly over to London. They were married six months later in a small civil ceremony (when she was four months pregnant with their daughter, Mary), at Marylebone Registry Office on 12 March 1969.
After giving birth to Mary (born in London 28 August 1969), Stella McCartney (born 13 September 1971), and James McCartney (born 12 September 1977 in London), she said that four children was enough. She became Lady McCartney when her husband was knighted in 1997. Her brother, entertainment lawyer John Eastman, has represented McCartney since the break-up of The Beatles. McCartney has eight grandchildren, all of whom were born after her death: Mary's four sons Arthur Alistair Donald (born 3 April 1999), Elliot Donald (born 1 August 2002), Sam Aboud (born 11 August 2008) and Sid Aboud (3 September 2011), and Stella's children, Miller Alasdhair James Willis (born 25 February 2005), daughter Bailey Linda Olwyn Willis (born December 8, 2006), Beckett Robert Lee Willis (born 8 January 2008), and Reiley Dilys Stella Willis (born 23 November 2010).
After the breakup of The Beatles in 1970, her husband taught her to play keyboards and recorded an album with her, Ram, as a duo. Afterwards, he included her in the lineup for his subsequent group, Wings. The group garnered several Grammy Awards, becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, but had to endure jibes regarding Linda McCartney's singing. She later admitted that the early accusations about her singing out of tune in the early days with Wings were true.
In 1977, a reggae-inspired single entitled "Seaside Woman" was released by an obscure band called Suzy and the Red Stripes, on Epic Records in the United States. 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 Northern Songs and Maclen Music alleging McCartney violated an exclusive rights agreement by collaborating on the song "Another Day", which had the effect of transferring a 50% share of the publishing royalties to his own McCartney Music company. The lawsuit, which alleged that Linda McCartney's co-writing credits were inauthentic and that she was not a real songwriter, was "amicably settled," according to an ATV spokesman, in June 1972.
The McCartneys shared an Oscar nomination for the co-composition of the song, "Live and Let Die". Her album Wide Prairie, which included "Seaside Woman," was released posthumously in 1998. 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. 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."
- Wide Prairie (1998)
Paul and Linda McCartney
- Ram (1971)
- Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970)
- Denny Laine - Holly Days (1977)
- Denny Laine - Japanese Tears (1980)
- Paul McCartney - Tug of War (1982)
- Paul McCartney - Pipes of Peace (1983)
- Paul McCartney - Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
- Paul McCartney - Press to Play (1986)
- Paul McCartney - Flowers in the Dirt (1989)
- Paul McCartney - Flaming Pie (1997)
Vegetarianism, activism and lifestyle
McCartney introduced her husband to vegetarianism in 1975, and promoted a vegetarian diet through her cookbooks: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking (with author Peter Cox, 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... If slaughterhouses had glass walls the whole world would be vegetarian". The McCartneys became outspoken vegetarians and animal rights activists. In 1991, she introduced a line of frozen vegetarian meals under the Linda McCartney Foods name, which made her wealthy independently of her husband. The H. J. Heinz Company acquired the company in March 2000, and the Hain Celestial Group bought it in 2007.
As a strong advocate for animal rights, Linda lent her support to many organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as well as The Council for the Protection of Rural England, and Friends of the Earth. She was also 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.
In 1984, she was arrested in Barbados for possession of marijuana; her husband had been arrested in Los Angeles for possession of marijuana in 1975. After flying to Heathrow Airport, London, she was arrested on charges of possession. She later commented that hard drugs were disgusting, but marijuana "is pretty lightweight".
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and her condition soon grew worse as it spread to her liver. Her husband'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". She died on 17 April 1998 (age 56), at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. She was cremated in Tucson, and her ashes were scattered at the McCartney farm in Sussex. Her husband 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". A memorial service was held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which was attended by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Peter Gabriel and other celebrities among a congregation of 700. 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 McCartney 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.
The Linda McCartney Memorial Garden and bronze statue
Wide Prairie, a six-minute cartoon fantasy film by her and director Oscar Grillo, was premièred at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 19, 1998. It was shown before the British première of The Horse Whisperer, starring Robert Redford. On 10 April 1999, 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 in Kintyre — with the dedication of a bronze statue of her by sculptor Jane Robbins, McCartney's cousin, which was commissioned and donated by McCartney.
Portrayals on screen
Paul & Linda McCartney at the 1973 Academy Awards (presented April 2, 1974 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles) when Paul was nominated for "Live & Let Die."
Both she and McCartney appeared as themselves in an episode of Bread in 1988, and an episode of The Simpsons, called "Lisa the Vegetarian", in 1995. After her death, The Simpsons' 200th episode "Trash of the Titans", which aired on 26 April 1998, was dedicated to her memory. Simpsons executive producer Mike Scully said, "It just seemed like the right thing to do. Everyone here was surprised and saddened by her death."
Elizabeth Mitchell and Gary Bakewell played the McCartneys in the 2000 TV movie The Linda McCartney Story. She was portrayed as "Linda Eastman" in the 1985 TV movie John and Yoko: A Love Story.
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