Zelda Rubinstein, who played the psychic in the Poltergeist movies and Ginny Weeden on the series Picket Fences, passed on January 27 at the age of 76.
Zelda Rubinstein was born on May 28, 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned a degree in bacteriology from the University of Pittsburgh. For many years she was a medical lab technician in blood banks and did not begin her acting career until she was in her forties. Her first work was voice work on The Flintstones Comedy Show in 1980. She made her film debut as Iris in Under the Rainbow. It was in 1982 that she appeared in the movie Poltergeist as psychic Tangina. She also appeared in the sequels Poltergeist II and Poltergeist III. In the Eighties she appeared in the movies Frances, Sixteen Candles, Angustina, and Teen Witch. She guest starred on the shows Jennifer Slept Here, Matt Houston, The Tortellis, and Sable.
In the Nineties she appeared in the movies Guilty as Charged, The Last Resort, Timemaster, Critics and Other Freaks, Mama Dolly, and Frank in Five. She appeared in the TV movie The Gambler: The Luck of the Draw and guest starred on the shows Tales from the Crypt, Martin, and Caroline in the City. She played Ginny on Picket Fences from 1992 to 1994. In the Naughts Rubenstein appeared in the films Maria and Jose, Wishcraft, Cages, Angels with Angles, Unbeatable Harold, and Southland Tales. She guest starred on The Pretender and was the narrator of the series The Scariest Places on Earth.
Zelda Rubinstein founded the Michael Dunn Memorial Repertory Theatre Company in Los Angeles, named in honour of the actor who played Glocken in Ship of Fools and best known as Dr. Miguelito Loveless on The Wild Wild West. The company was comprised entirely of little people. She was also an early AIDS activist, appearing as the mother in commercials for the Los Angeles Cooperative AIDS Risk-Reduction Education Service.