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Kate Bove

Exploring the Cultural Impact of “The Legend of Zelda”

poltergeist cast zelda

​​ The Legend of Zelda series has now been around long enough to live up to its name. With over 35 years of top-notch titles in its inventory, Nintendo’s hit is legendary by any gamer’s standards. Regardless of era or genre, many of the series’ 19 main entries are considered among the best games ever made. 

Link’s quest to save Zelda and (usually) the land of Hyrule, all while reuniting the pieces of the Triforce, began back in 1986. The series has come a long way since that Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) title. While the gameplay has always boasted an inspired balance of action, exploration, puzzle-solving, side quests, world-building and story, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , for example, is an open-world take on the typical Zelda formula, and it quickly became one of the most popular games on the Nintendo Switch. 

With the Breath of the Wild sequel on the horizon, we’re taking a look back on The Legend of Zelda and its enduring impact — on both video games and pop culture at large. 

Why Is It Called The Legend of Zelda ?

Created by equally legendary game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, the action-adventure series has a few throughlines. Although the timeline of the Legend of Zelda series is… complicated — to say the least — you’ll notice some recurring themes, characters, locations and lore across a majority of the entries. 

poltergeist cast zelda

Most of the games are set in the land of Hyrule, for example. And they feature the silent hero, Link — literally, the link between the player and the game — and Zelda, a member of Hyrule’s royal family. Although each game features different incarnations of Link and Zelda, an ancient evil, most often made manifest through the villain Ganon, serves as the narrative backbone of the series. 

While Zelda ’s rich lore deepens and expands with each new release, there are a few touchstones that remain — there are the three goddesses who forged Hyrule, Nayru, Din and Farore, as well as the mystical Triforce — the ultimate source of power in Hyrule that balances the qualities of wisdom, power and courage, and which is represented by three golden triangles . As you might expect, Zelda, Ganon and Link all represent a different aspect of this trinity. 

poltergeist cast zelda

If you’re not familiar with the series, you might mistakenly assume that the player character is Zelda, not Link. But the series was named after the princess as a kind of tribute to novelist and socialite Zelda Fitzgerald. Reportedly, Miyamoto thought her name sounded both “ pleasant and significant ”. (Apparently, even Robin Williams agreed with Miyamoto .)

“It’s Dangerous to Go Alone”: Inspiration Behind the Series

Tezuka cites J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as a source of inspiration for the high-fantasy adventure, though it’s clear that Zelda draws from other stories, too . Link’s green ensemble — and the fact that he’s sometimes accompanied by a fairy companion — recall Peter Pan , and our hero’s iconic weapon, the Master Sword, is based on the Arthurian Excalibur. But the game’s emphasis on exploration stems from Miyamoto’s experiences as a kid , exploring the hillsides, forests and caves of Sonobe, Japan.

poltergeist cast zelda

Although the Zelda games are narrative-driven, the world Miyamoto and Tezuka created is just a foundation. With so much to explore and speculate on, fans have created their own stories and theories about Hyrule and its inhabitants. That’s always been the beauty of the series. The world-building is great, but it’s never complete — there’s always another story, dungeon or path to explore. 

Much of the series’ success is thanks to its uncanny ability to really transport players into Link’s boots. Link never directly speaks, with other characters simply inferring what he says. The move isn’t meant to capitalize on the “strong, silent type” trope. Instead, it’s meant to make Link more of a blank canvas. The player can feel like they really are the hero.

Koji Kondo’s Unforgettable Music

The music featured in the long-running series deserves its own article. From the very first game, players fell in love with the sounds of Hyrule and of Link’s epic adventure. Although the Nintendo 64’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first to make music an instrumental part of the gameplay and story, that progression felt pretty natural given just how singular Koji Kondo’s scores were — and remain.

poltergeist cast zelda

Whether you hear the first few notes of “Zelda’s Lullaby”, “Fairy Fountain”, the Zelda “Main Theme” or any other piece of music with Kondo’s stamp on it, you’ll find yourself instantly transported. And not just to Hyrule, either. The sounds of the Zelda series are nostalgic in their own right, from the tracks that score epic battles to the sound effects that signify you’ve attained a new item. Much like a John Williams’ score, Kondo’s work is another reason the series has endured.

When Did The Legend of Zelda Come Out?

The first game, The Legend of Zelda , debuted in 1986 for the NES. Featuring a top-down perspective, the game lets you navigate Link through a somewhat-open over-world and into the perils of Hyrule’s various dungeons.

Along the way, you’ll collect weapons and items, hack away at enemy monsters and discover more of the game’s story and Hyrule’s lore. Although it’s not often grouped among role-playing games (RPGs) — it lacks some of the genre’s defining characteristics — this first title is, in many ways, the forerunner of the action RPG sub-genre.

poltergeist cast zelda

Not to mention, it made the narrative aspect of games more important. Players wanted more of Hyrule — the world itself, the lore and its characters. And it convinced hardcore gamers, who favored arcades to home consoles , that the NES wasn’t just a toy, but a serious piece of hardware with the potential to run impressive RPGs. 

When it came out in Japan, this first game sold 1 million copies in its first day alone . In 1987, it became the first game to push 1 million cartridges in the U.S. and, just three years later, jumped to 3 million copies sold stateside. Thanks to the game’s various re-releases on Nintendo consoles over the years, The Legend of Zelda has sold upwards of 6 million copies over its lifetime. 

With so much world to explore, secrets to uncover, and, for the time, impressive graphics, The Legend of Zelda helped shape the video game industry going forward. 

How Many Legend of Zelda Games Are There?

Perhaps more importantly, though, The Legend of Zelda launched one of Nintendo’s definitive franchises. The first sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link , came out in 1988 for the NES. It was quite the departure, too. While The Adventure of Link introduced some more RPG-esque elements that would become franchise staples — the “magic meter”, for one, which is like a regenerating health bar but for your ability to use magic — it also leaned heavily into side-scrolling and platforming mechanics. 

poltergeist cast zelda

In 1991, what’s cited as a landmark game in an already landmark series debuted on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past cemented quite a few recurring themes, tropes, items, characters and gameplay and story elements.

A Link to the Past brought us the Master Sword and the notion of parallel worlds — something that is important to the series’ chronology — and it brought back the top-down point of view. One of the best-selling SNES games of all time , it had pushed 4.61 million copies worldwide as of 2004, though that number has likely increased due to later re-releases. 

poltergeist cast zelda

While A Link to the Past is often cited as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — games of all time, Nintendo upped the ante yet again with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time . Debuting on the Nintendo 64 in 1998, Ocarina of Time received numerous perfect scores from reviewers, including from critics at the infamously tough Famitsu . Released just 39 days before the end of the year, it sold 2.5 million copies in 1998 alone. Over its lifetime, Ocarina of Time has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. 

poltergeist cast zelda

Many gamers would consider Ocarina of Time the best game of all time, and for good reason. Seeing Hyrule in glorious 3D for the first time was mind-blowing in the ‘90s. Gameplay-wise, it introduced the target-lock system, which became a staple in the industry. The story saw Link traversing two timelines in order to defeat Ganon and save Hyrule. And, of course, there was the titular ocarina — a musical instrument that figured prominently into the gameplay. 

Thanks to its success, Ocarina of Time is one of the few Zelda games to have spawned a direct sequel — 2000’s The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask , which was a markedly darker game with an apocalyptic premise. Of course, every subsequent Nintendo console has boasted its own incredible Zelda game. The GameCube (GCN) had 2002’s The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker , a beautiful, cel-shaded game that provided Ocarina -style gameplay, while also having the player sail around the overworld. 

poltergeist cast zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure , which hit the GCN in 2004, took a stab at multiplayer fun (alongside the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords , a Game Boy Advance title that debuted in 2002). In 2006, the grittier The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess followed these more cartoonish games, releasing simultaneously on GCN and the Wii. 

Later in its life cycle, the Wii was home to 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword ; instead of tacking on motion controls a la Twilight Princess , Nintendo built Skyward Sword with the Wii’s motion control innovations in mind.

poltergeist cast zelda

And, of course, 2017 saw the series taking another bold, innovative step forward with Breath of the Wild , the franchise’s first truly open-world game that maximizes the player’s ability to explore an incredibly detailed and carve out their own narrative path. 

Starting with The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening in 1993, plenty of Zelda titles have also landed on Nintendo’s handheld systems, including T he Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages (both 2001), The Minish Cap (2004), Phantom Hourglass (2007), Spirit Tracks (2009) and A Link Between Worlds (2013) and The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (2015). All great in their own right, these handheld releases kind of fill the gaps between the console releases. 

poltergeist cast zelda

Of course, there have also been several HD updates and remakes — Ocarina of Time (2011) and Majora’s Mask (2015) were both ported to the handheld 3DS, for example, while Link’s Awakening (2019) got a more full-fledged remake for the Switch. 

With 19 mainstay titles — and a bunch of re-releases and remakes — The Legend of Zelda shows no signs of slowing down. The series’ next installment is set to be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild .

Everything We Know About The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

While there have been a few trailers for the Switch sequel — tentatively titled Breath of the Wild 2 — we don’t know a whole lot about the game. While Nintendo had plans to release it in late 2022, the game’s launch has been pushed back to spring 2023. The development team decided it was best for them and the game — it’s an epic, immense undertaking, after all. 

At E3 2021, we got a glimpse into the game . Link seemingly takes to the skies, perhaps not unlike Skyward Sword and a level in Twilight Princess . While it’s unclear how much the gameplay will differ from the original Breath of the Wild , it seems that something funky has happened to Link’s arm, perhaps granting him new abilities (or challenges). While it’s not clear if Breath of the Wild 2 will allow for a fully open-world, non-linear experience again, exploration remains essential.

poltergeist cast zelda

“The adventure in this sequel will take place not just on the ground as in the previous game, but also in the skies above,” Producer Eiji Aonuma stated . “However, the expanded world goes beyond that, and there will be an even wider variety of features you can enjoy, including new encounters, and new gameplay elements. In order to make this game’s experience something special, the entire development team is continuing to work diligently on this game, so please wait a while longer.”

In March 2022, when the team announced the game’s delay, a new clip shows a yellow sphere of light interacting with the Master Sword, its blade eaten away. Already, the internet is swirling with rumors about the game’s plot. And that alone is a real testament to The Legend of Zelda , one of gaming’s most immersive, enduring series.


poltergeist cast zelda


What's Your Question?

10 Fun Facts About the Cast of NCIS

poltergeist cast zelda

NCIS, the show that’s been on the air since 2003, has one of the more recognizable casts on television — and its spent many years at the top of the ratings charts. In spite of that, you might not know much about the stars. Check out these 10 fun facts about the cast of NCIS to learn more.

Gibbs Was Almost Played by…Crockett?

Don Johnson, aka the smooth-as-ice, white-suit-wearing James Crockett of Miami Vice fame, was originally offered the role of lead NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Imagine how different the show might’ve been.

poltergeist cast zelda

McGee Is the Creator’s Stepson

Actor Sean Murray, who plays tenderhearted agent McGee, is actually the stepson of Don Bellisario, the show’s creator. His stepsister, Bellisario’s daughter, has played McGee’s sister on the show.

poltergeist cast zelda

Cote De Pablo Took Language Classes

Cote De Pablo, the Chilean-American actress who plays Ziva, worked with a language coach. This helped her make sure that she spoke Hebrew in an Israeli accent. That’s dedication.

poltergeist cast zelda

Sasha Alexander Asked to Be Killed Off of the Show

When Special Agent Caitlin (“Kate”) Todd’s character was killed off of the show by terrorist Ari (Ziva’s half brother), fans went a little crazy. They assumed that the actress who portrayed her, Sasha Alexander, had been kicked off the show. It turns out that Alexander wanted out.

poltergeist cast zelda

Pauley Perrette Really Does Have a Criminology Degree

Actress Pauley Perrette, who plays forensic tech Abby Sciuto, really does have a degree in criminology. No, it’s not forensics, but the fields are pretty close.

poltergeist cast zelda

Speaking of Abby…That Caf-Pow Recipe

Fans know that Abby is never far from her Big Gulp-sized cup of Caf Pow. In the show, Caf Pow keeps her awake. Caf Pow was really just Hawaiian Punch, which Perrette changed to unsweetened cranberry juice once she cut sugar from her diet.

poltergeist cast zelda

Daniela Ruah Was a Portuguese Soap Queen

The actress who portrays Kensi Blye was an actress in her native Portugal, appearing in four different soap operas. She even won the Portuguese version of Dancing With the Stars in 2006.

Like Father, Like Son

Have you seen when the show does those flashbacks scenes with Jethro, Mark Harmo’s character, as a young man? Mark Harmon’s real life-son, Sean Harmon, plays the role.

poltergeist cast zelda

Lauren Holly Almost Played Kate

Actress Lauren Holly auditioned for the role of Kate when producers were scouting for someone to play the character. Producers eventually decided that Sasha Alexander was a better fit.

That Classic “DUN-DUN” Sound Revealed

Fans of the show are well aware of that “DUN DUN” sound that appears during the show just before commercial breaks. The image on the screen turns to a grainy black and white shade before the “DUN DUN” sound booms through. That sound was actually created by show creator Don Bellisario. It came from him hitting a mic with his hand.

poltergeist cast zelda


poltergeist cast zelda

Poltergeist (1982)

Zelda rubinstein: tangina.

  • Quotes (12)


JoBeth Williams, Richard Lawson, Oliver Robins, Zelda Rubinstein, and Beatrice Straight in Poltergeist (1982)


Tangina : There is no death. There is only a transition to a different sphere of consciousness. Carol Anne is not like those she's with. She is a living presence in their spiritual earthbound plane. They are attracted to the one thing about her that is different from themselves - her life force. It is very strong. It gives off its own illumination. It is a light that implies life and memory of love and home and earthly pleasures, something they desperately desire but can't have anymore. Right now, she's the closest thing to that, and that is a terrible distraction from the *real* light that has finally come for them. You understand me?

[Diane shakes her head] 

Tangina : These souls, who for whatever reason are not at rest, are also not aware that they have passed on. They're not part of consciousness as we know it. They linger in a perpetual dream state, a nightmare from which they cannot awake. Inside the spectral light is salvation, a window to the next plane. They must pass through this membrane where friends are waiting to guide them to new destinies. Carol Anne must help them cross over, and she will only hear her mother's voice. Now... hold on to yourselves.

[brief pause] 

Tangina : There's one more thing. A terrible presence is in there with her. So much rage, so much betrayal. I've never sensed anything like it. I don't know what hovers over this house, but it was strong enough to punch a hole into this world and take your daughter away from you. It keeps Carol Anne very close to it and away from the spectral light. It *lies* to her, it tells her things only a child could understand. It has been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply *is* another child. To us, it is the Beast.

[long pause] 

Tangina : Now, let's go get your daughter.

Tangina : This house is clean.

Tangina : Help me tie this around my waist.

Diane Freeling : What do you think you're doing?

Tangina : I'm going in after her.

Diane Freeling : She won't come to you. Let me go.

Tangina : You've never done this before.

Diane Freeling : Neither have you.


Tangina : You're right. You go.

Tangina : Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help, it knows too much already.

Tangina : Cross over, children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the light.

Steve Freeling : No! No, you said no!

Tangina : There is peace and serenity in the light.

Steve Freeling : You said don't go into the light!

Tangina : Y'all mind hanging back? You're jamming my frequency.

Tangina : [offscreen upstairs]  Why is this door locked, Mr. Freeling?

[Steve Freeling closes his eyes, clasps his hands, and appears to be concentrating for several seconds] 

Diane Freeling : [quietly]  Answer her, Steven!

Steve Freeling : [sotto voce]  I *am*.

Tangina : [steps out to the top of the stairs]  I am addressin' the living!

Steve Freeling : I'm sorry. Sorry. That's the room my son and daughter used to occupy.

Dr. Lesh : We believe it's the heart of the house.

Tangina : This house has many hearts.

[Tangina steps away from the stairtop. Diane approaches Steven] 

Diane Freeling : [quietly]  What is the matter?

Steve Freeling : [with laughter]  "What's the matter"?

Steve Freeling : [he composes himself, whispers]  I was trying to answer her with my mind and she couldn't hear me.

Steve Freeling : [to Dr. Lesh, whispering even softer]  Now, I thought you said this Tangina Barrons was an *extraordinary*...

Tangina : I *am*!

Steve Freeling : ...clairvoy...

Tangina : [steps out again]  I just don't like trick answers.

Tangina : No, no, no... Go down stairs and wait by Ryan and pull. Only when I say so. Only When I say.

Tangina : You can't choose between life and death when we're dealing with what is in between. Now tell her before it's too late.

Diane Freeling : Run to the light, baby. Mommy is in the light.

Tangina : Tell her you're waiting for her.

Diane Freeling : Mommy's waiting for you in the light.

[under her breath to Tangina] 

Diane Freeling : I hate you for that.

Steve Freeling : I was trying to answer her with my mind and she couldn't hear me. Now I thought you said this Tangina Barens was an extraordinary...

Tangina : [offscreen]  I *am*.

Tangina : [steps out again at the top of the stairs]  I just don't like trick answers.

Tangina : Tell her to go to the light!

Diane Freeling : No!

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Zelda Rubinstein, Clairvoyant in ‘Poltergeist,’ Dies at 76

By Margalit Fox

  • Jan. 27, 2010

Zelda Rubinstein, a 4-foot-3-inch character actress best known for playing the indomitable ghost-purging psychic in “Poltergeist,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. She was 76 and lived in Los Angeles.

The cause was complications of a heart attack she had two months ago, her agent, Eric Stevens, said. No immediate family members survive.

Released in 1982, “Poltergeist” featured a brief bravura turn by Ms. Rubinstein as Tangina, the clairvoyant summoned to scour a suburban home of spirits. “This house is clean!” Tangina memorably declared after attempting the job. The Washington Post called her performance one of the best by a film actress that year.

Ms. Rubinstein reprised the role of Tangina in “Poltergeist II” (1986) and “Poltergeist III” (1988).

A medical lab technician who became an actress in her late 40s, Ms. Rubinstein made her film debut in 1981 in the comedy “Under the Rainbow.” Her other films include “Frances” (1982), “Sixteen Candles” (1984), “Teen Witch” (1989) and “Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights” (1998). On television she had a recurring role as the sheriff’s dispatcher Ginny Weedon in the CBS series “Picket Fences.”

Ms. Rubinstein was also known for her public advocacy of AIDS education and the rights of little people, the term she preferred. In 1981 she helped found the Michael Dunn Memorial Repertory Theater, whose tallest actor was 4 foot 6. Mr. Dunn, who died in 1973, was a dwarf actor known for the film “Ship of Fools” (1965).

Zelda Rubinstein was born in Pittsburgh on May 28, 1933; she was, she told The Hartford Courant in 2000, “the only one different in appearance” in her family. After studying at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Berkeley, she became a technician in a blood bank.

At 47 Ms. Rubinstein abruptly decided to change careers, as she explained in The Courant interview.

“I had no idea what I would do next, but I knew it would involve advocacy for those people who were in danger of being disenfranchised,” she said. “I wanted a platform to be visible as a person who is different, as a representative of several varieties of differences. This is the most effective way for me to carry a message saying, ‘Yes you can.’ I took a look at these shoulders in the mirror and they’re pretty big. They can carry a lot of Sturm und Drang on them.”

This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.

Explore EW.com

Profile menu, remembering zelda rubinstein, for 'poltergeist' and beyond.

R.I.P., Zelda Rubinstein , you will be missed. This lady truly put the character in “character actress.” She’s best known for Poltergeist of course:

She was also great as Ginny in Picket Fences and the organist in Sixteen Candles . But don’t forget about Teen Witch or Southland Tales .

What was your favorite Rubinstein performance?

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Zelda Rubinstein, the diminutive character actress with the childlike voice who was best known as the psychic called in to rid a suburban home of demonic forces in the 1982 horror movie “Poltergeist,” died Wednesday. She was 76.

Rubinstein, who also appeared as the mother figure in a high-profile mid-1980s public awareness campaign in Los Angeles aimed at stopping the spread of AIDS, died of natural causes at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, said Eric Stevens, her agent.

FOR THE RECORD: Zelda Rubinstein: In Thursday’s Section A, a caption with the Zelda Rubinstein obituary said a photograph showed a scene from the film “Poltergeist.” The scene was from “Poltergeist II.” —

FOR THE RECORD: Zelda Rubinstein: The obituary of actress Zelda Rubinstein in Thursday’s Section A said she had no immediate surviving family members. She had a daughter, Nann Lutz; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. —

Rubinstein was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about two months ago after suffering a mild heart attack, Stevens said. “She had ongoing health issues and unfortunately they finally overtook her,” he said.

A medical lab technician before launching her acting career in her 40s, the 4-foot-3 Rubinstein made her film debut as one of the little people in the 1981 Chevy Chase comedy “Under the Rainbow.”

Among her other credits are the movies “Frances,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Teen Witch,” “Anguish” and “Southland Tales” and the TV series “Picket Fences,” on which she was a regular.

But Rubinstein made her biggest impact as Tangina in director Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist,” co-written by Steven Spielberg, who also served as a producer.

“Do y’all mind hanging back? You’re jamming my frequencies,” Rubinstein’s Tangina says as she tours the house after the young daughter has been sucked into a blinding white light in her bedroom closet and disappeared.

The role was written specifically for a little person.

“I thought it would be neat to show that someone’s size had nothing to do with her psychic powers,” Spielberg told The Times in 1982. “Good things can come in small packages, and that’s certainly true of Zelda.”

Film critics agreed.

Sheila Benson of The Times called Rubinstein’s Tangina “the most original and reassuring character in the film.”

The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael raved that the “character 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, who reprised her character in two “Poltergeist” sequels, expressed hope that “Poltergeist” would raise awareness of the little people in show business.

Her activism began on the set of “Under the Rainbow.”

“It’s absolutely despicable,” she said of the way the little people portraying Munchkins were used as comic relief in the movie. “You’re not an actor if you’re just a person that fits into a cute costume. You’re a prop.”

In the wake of “Under the Rainbow,” she formed the nonprofit Michael Dunn Memorial Repertory Theater Company in Los Angeles. It was named after the late actor, a little person who received a supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role in the 1965 film “Ship of Fools.”

Rubinstein’s message to the 16 actors in her company, whose height ranged from 3 foot 8 to 4 foot 6, was: “Become an actor and your world will get much bigger.”

The youngest of three children, and the only little person in the family, she was born in Pittsburgh on May 28, 1933.

In a 1992 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Rubinstein said she “had a rough childhood, [but] I became very verbally facile. . . . I learned to meet everyone head-on.”

She was an adult before she was at peace with her small size. “I just decided it was a very interesting variation,” she said.

Rubinstein won a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a degree in bacteriology. She worked for many years as a lab technician in blood banks before giving up lab work for acting in 1978.

“I had to do something creative,” she told People magazine in 1982. “It was an internal feeling that I was sabotaging myself.”

Rubinstein told The Times in 1985 that she was looking for a way to get involved in the fight against AIDS when she was approached to play the mother in the campaign L.A. CARES (Los Angeles Cooperative AIDS Risk-Reduction Education Service), which was launched in early 1985 at what is now known as the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

In TV spots, she played the mother pleading with an unseen son to “play safely.” In videos made to be shown in gay bars, the sons appeared as bare-chested young men.

The campaign featuring Rubinstein’s “mother” character also included a series of ads in newspapers and on billboards and buses.

In one ad with the words “Don’t forget your rubbers” at the top, Rubinstein is seen wearing an apron and talking to her “son,” who is clad only in shorts and holding an umbrella. At the bottom, it says, “L.A. CARES . . . like a mother.”

“She was one of the very first Hollywood celebrities to speak out on HIV and AIDS,” said Craig E. Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles.

“It was the first AIDS education and prevention campaign in Los Angeles and one of the very first in the United States,” added Thompson, who said calls to the organization’s hotline “skyrocketed after the campaign came out.”

Rubinstein had no immediate surviving family members.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

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Creator / Zelda Rubinstein

Edit locked.


She died from complications of a heart attack.

  • Americathon as Act
  • Under the Rainbow as Iris
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side as Tangina
  • Poltergeist III as Tangina
  • Frances as Mental Patient
  • Sixteen Candles as Organist
  • Anguish as Mother
  • Teen Witch as Madame Serena
  • Guilty As Charged as Edna
  • The Addams Family as Party Goer ( Uncredited Role )
  • Acting On Impulse as Nosy Lady
  • Last Resort 1994 as Old Hermit
  • Timemaster as Betting Clerk
  • Lovers Knot as Woman in Clinic
  • Little Witches as Mother Clodah
  • Sinbad The Battle Of The Dark Knights as Micha
  • The Flintstones On The Rocks as Psychiatrist (TV Movie)
  • Wishcraft as Medical Examiner
  • The Wild Card as Mrs. Stanfield
  • Cages as Liz
  • Angels With Angles as Zelda, God's Assistant
  • Unbeatable Harold as Bunny
  • Southland Tales as Dr. Katarina Kuntzler
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon as Mrs. Collinwood

Television Roles

  • The Flintstone Comedy Show as Atrocia Frankenstone (2 episodes)
  • The Gary Coleman Show as various (2 episodes)
  • Matt Houston as Flower girl (1 episode)
  • Whiz Kids as Madame Zerleena (1 episode)
  • The Tortellis as Cookie Detzer (1 episode)
  • Faerie Tale Theatre as Old Woman (1 episode)
  • Sable as Sister Glory (1 episode)
  • Santa Barbara as Gladys Bittleworth/Mental Patient (6 episodes)
  • The Trials Of Rosie O Neill as Elvira Nivens (1 episode)
  • Mr. Belvedere as Murphy (1 episode)
  • Darkwing Duck as Darkwing Duck's Mother/Negaduck's Mother (1 episode)
  • Tales from the Crypt as Nora (1 episode)
  • Goof Troop as Madame Zeldarina (1 episode)
  • Picket Fences as Ginny Weedon (44 episodes)
  • Poltergeist: The Legacy as Christina (1 episode)
  • Martin as Nurse Froyd (1 episode)
  • Chock as Mamman (1 episode)
  • Caroline in the City as Phyllis (1 episode)
  • Hey Arnold! as Patty's Mother (1 episode)
  • The Pretender as Pawn Shop Lady (1 episode)
  • Saul Rubinek
  • Actors/P to R
  • John Rubinstein
  • Ronen Rubinstein
  • AmericanActors/P to R
  • Jewish Creators

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poltergeist cast zelda

Zelda Rubinstein

Filmography, life events.

  • Photos & Videos

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Rubinstein worked well into the 2000s, mostly on television, where she provided voice-overs for numerous animated series, as well as the occasional guest shot. From 2000 to 2006, she was the narrator of the paranormal documentary series "Scariest Places on Earth" (ABC Family), the show's on-air host was another actress who struggled with typecasting after a memorable horror appearance - Linda Blair. The year 2006 was a particularly busy year for her, with small but memorable roles in Richard Kelly's critically lambasted "Southland Tales," the horror mockumentary "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon," and the low-budget comedy "Unbeatable Harold." They turned out to be her last screen appearances to date; in late 2009, word was leaked on the Internet that after a lengthy hospital stay for kidney failure, Rubinstein's family had decided to take her off life support. The dire news was countered in early 2010 when reports were issued that she was recovering, but only weeks later, Rubinstein finally succumbed to her ailments on Jan. 27, 2010.

Cast (Feature Film)

Cast (special), cast (tv mini-series).

First TV credit, voiced a character on "Flintstone Family Adventures" (CBS)

Returned to school to study acting

Made feature film debut in "Under the Rainbow"

Breakthrough role as eccentric medium Tangina Barrons in Steven Spielberg's "Poltergeist"

Had a small but memorable role in the John Hughes' comedy "Sixteen Candles"

Reprised the role of Tangina Barrons in "Poltergeist II: The Other Side"

Formed her own production company, ZR Productions

Once again portrayed Tangine Barrons in "Poltergeist III"

Had a supporting role in the film, "Teen Witch"

Had a recurring role as police dispatcher Ginny Weedon on the CBS series, "Picket Fences"

Narrated the horror series, "Scariest Places on Earth" for ABC Family

Voiced a Psychiatrist in the Cartoon Network movie, "The Flintstones: On the Rocks"

Appeared in the film "Cages" as a manipulative and protective middle-aged British woman

Made a cameo appearance in the horror film, "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon"

Had a small role in Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales"

poltergeist cast zelda


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Zelda Rubinstein

Zelda Rubinstein

Highest Rated: 88% Poltergeist (1982)

Lowest Rated: 16% Poltergeist III (1988)

Birthday: May 28, 1933

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

The diminutive, squeaky-voiced actress Zelda Rubinstein became a star overnight as the medium Tangina in "Poltergeist" (1982) and its sequels. However, she struggled to find similarly dramatic work in the two decades that followed; more often than not, she was reduced to playing eccentrics or variants on her most famous character. However, she remained active and, from all accounts, game to tackle any project until 2009, when she was hospitalized for kidney failure. But her performance in "Poltergeist" - so convincing and honest in the face of so much supernatural goings-on - would ensure her lasting remembrance among movie fans.

Highest rated movies



  1. This House Is Clean. Poltergeist. {heebie jeebie time}

    poltergeist cast zelda

  2. Poltergeist: Celebrating Zelda Rubinstein, the Greatest Movie Medium

    poltergeist cast zelda

  3. Poltergeist III (1988)

    poltergeist cast zelda

  4. 'Poltergeist' Star Zelda Rubinstein Dies at 76

    poltergeist cast zelda

  5. Zelda Rubinstein Poltergeist

    poltergeist cast zelda

  6. Zelda Rubinstein Speaks at Poltergeist Screening

    poltergeist cast zelda


  1. Link tries cooking for Zelda

  2. If Zelda infiltrated the Yiga Clan

  3. Zelda Gone Wild

  4. This could've been the best way to travel in Tears of the Kingdom

  5. Link be smol

  6. This is definitely the best use of Link's Ultrahand


  1. Exploring the Cultural Impact of “The Legend of Zelda”

    ​​The Legend of Zelda series has now been around long enough to live up to its name. With over 35 years of top-notch titles in its inventory, Nintendo’s hit is legendary by any gamer’s standards.

  2. Exploring the Open World of Zelda Breath of the Wild: A Comprehensive Guide

    Zelda Breath of the Wild is one of the most popular video games in recent memory, and for good reason. The game’s vast open world and stunning graphics make for an immersive gaming experience that keeps players coming back for more.

  3. 10 Fun Facts About the Cast of NCIS

    NCIS, the show that’s been on the air since 2003, has one of the more recognizable casts on television — and its spent many years at the top of the ratings charts. In spite of that, you might not know much about the stars. Check out these 1...

  4. Zelda Rubinstein

    Zelda May Rubinstein (May 28, 1933 – January 27, 2010) was an American actress and human rights activist, known as eccentric medium Tangina Barrons in the

  5. Zelda Rubinstein

    A marvelously quirky and distinctive 4' 3" character actress, with a larger-than-life presence on film and TV, Zelda Rubinstein gave up a long and stable

  6. Poltergeist (1982)

    Quotes · Tangina : There is no death. · Tangina : This house is clean. · Tangina : Help me tie this around my waist. · Tangina : Now clear your minds. · Tangina :

  7. Zelda Rubinstein, Clairvoyant in 'Poltergeist,' Dies at 76

    Zelda Rubinstein, a 4-foot-3-inch character actress best known for playing the indomitable ghost-purging psychic in “Poltergeist,” died on

  8. Remembering Zelda Rubinstein, for 'Poltergeist' and beyond

    Remembering Zelda Rubinstein, for 'Poltergeist' and beyond. ... character in “character actress.” She's best known for Poltergeist

  9. Zelda Rubinstein dies at 76; actress played psychic in 'Poltergeist'

    Zelda Rubinstein, the diminutive character actress with the childlike voice who was best known as the psychic called in to rid a suburban

  10. POLTERGEIST actress Zelda Rubenstein Plays the MEDIUM

    Highly Recognizable actress who plays the erie character on Poltergeist (Sci Fi) as the Medium who calls out the invader.

  11. Zelda Rubinstein

    Zelda May Rubinstein (May 28 1933 -- January 27 2010) was an American actress Poltergeist Poltergeist II: The Other Side Angustia Poltergeist III and Behind

  12. Creator / Zelda Rubinstein

    Zelda May Rubinstein (May 28, 1933 - January 27, 2010) was an American actress and human rights activists best known for Poltergeist (1982), the sequels, and

  13. Zelda Rubinstein

    The diminutive, squeaky-voiced actress Zelda Rubinstein became a star overnight as the medium Tangina in "Poltergeist" (1982) and its sequels.

  14. Zelda Rubinstein

    The diminutive, squeaky-voiced actress Zelda Rubinstein became a star overnight as the medium Tangina in "Poltergeist" (1982) and its sequels.