This House Is Clean: A Tribute to Poltergeist’s Zelda Rubinstein

by:   |   Mar 24 2014


Most famous for her role in Poltergeist (1982) as the fearless clairvoyant, 4-foot 3-inch Rubinstein was a powerhouse of spookiness.  I remember being glued to the TV watching that movie as a kid, and being completely in awe: I had never seen a woman quite like her before. Everything from her small size, to her drawly Southern accent, to her psychic wisdom commanded your attention. As the key to connecting with the dark side, she was the badass that took control of that poltergeist shitshow and sorted it out to save Carol Ann. And she did it all while wearing some tinted aviators and a dress that looked like it was straight off the wardrobe rack of Golden Girls.

Zelda went on to a plethora of other, mostly oddball, roles in various films and TV shows, including Teen Witch, Sixteen Candles, and Picket Fences. Also, little-known fun fact: she was the voice behind the “Taste the Rainbow” campaign for Skittles in the late ’90s, which just makes perfect sense. Offscreen, she was an activist for little people as well as an early activist for AIDS/HIV. She even appeared in one of the earliest ads for HIV/AIDS  prevention, in the “Don’t Forget Your Rubbers” campaign made by L.A. Cares. And though Zelda passed away in 2010, at the age of 76, she’ll always be in our creepy hearts. You may have been tiny, girl, but your legacy was major.



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