The Exorcist cast now – nine ‘cursed’ deaths, court battles and flu epidemics

A staggering nine deaths were connected to the 1973 film The Exorcist, which follows the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempt to save her with the aid of two priests.

For four decades, the film has been deemed "cursed" by horror fans after eery things went wrong right from the start of the production, created by Warner Bros. and Hoya Productions.

Many say the film was "cursed" by a demonic presence that didn't want it to ever air after a bird flew into a circuit box and burned down the set right at the start of the production – eerily the only part that didn't burn to the ground was the room used for filming the actual exorcism scenes.

During production, many of the cast and crew, including leads Linda Blair and Max von Sydow, lost family members and Linda and on-screen mother Ellen Burstyn both suffered serious injuries due to falls on set.

But what has happened to the "cursed" stars ever since? Daily Star Online took a look to see where the cast are now.

Jack MacGowran (Burke Dennings)

The actor died tragically before the film was released on January 30, 1973, of complications from influenza, which he’d contracted while in London during a flu epidemic.

Jack, who has a staggering 75 credits to his name as an actor, played the eccentric film director Burke Dennings.

His character was killed brutally in the film after the possessed child Regan (Linda Blair) threw him out of a window.

Jack's unexpected death was one of the first which labelled the film "cursed".

Barton Heyman (Dr. Klein)

Barton died a few years after the film was released on May 15, 1996, due to heart failure at the age of 59.

Although he played the small part of Dr. Klein, the part was crucial to explore the plot of whether it is a possession, or a psychological phenomenon.

Due to possessions being religiously-based, they are not as widely accepted as reality which is what the directors brought Barton's character in to explore against the priests.

Linda Blair (Regan MacNeil)

The leading actress played Regan, the possessed child who was once a 12-year-old sweet and innocent little girl who ends up killing her friends and family.

She quickly become a child star after the film was released and skyrocketed to fame thanks to her creepy performance.

Unfortunately, none of her roles thereafter ever did as well as when she played Regan and her main focus turns to her love for animals.

As well as acting now and again, she now has an organisation known as the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which works to rehabilitate abused, neglected and abandoned animals.

Lee J. Cobb (Lt. William Kinderman)

Lee also died a few years after the film was released.

On February 11, 1976, the actor behind the character William Kinderman died of a heart attack at the age of 64.

He played the assertive cop who tried to solve the murder of Burke Dennings (Jack MacGowran), which he believed was a homicide before discovering it was by a possessed child.

Vasiliki Maliaros (Father Karras’ Mother)

The elderly star died before the film was released on February 9, 1973, with her inquest stating her death was due to "natural causes".

Vasiliki starred as the deceased mother of Father Karras and made a number of cameos during the film.

Prior to her role in The Exorcist, Vasiliki had no acting experience whatsoever and was cast by director William Friedkin after he spotted her in a restaurant in New York City after he thought she'd be perfect for the role.

Mercedes McCambridge (Voice Of The Demon)

On March 2, 2004, Mercedes died of natural causes.

She was the voice actor of the creepiest character to perhaps ever feature in a horror film as she performed as the voice of the demon.

Despite not showing her face in the film, many fans dubbed the voiceover the "creepiest" part and it led her to cult status.

After the film was released, Mercedes took Warner Bros. to court because she was uncredited for her role as the voice of the demon, and ended up winning the case.

Jason Miller (Father Karras)

Jason tragically died at 62-years-old of a heart attack on May 13, 2001, at his home in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

He played the character Father Karras who takes on the case of performing an exorcist on Regan (Linda Blair) along with Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow).

After wrapping the horror, Jason, who was 34 at the time of filming, went on to act in a number of films including Toy Soldiers in 1984, and Rudy in 1993.

His last film was Finding Home, which was released in 2003.

Max Von Sydow (Father Merrin)

The actor died recently on March 8, 2020, at the age of 90.

He played the character Father Merrin, who was recruited to come and perform an exorcist on Regan (Linda Blair) after she became possessed.

The star went on to have a successful acting career after The Exorcist and appeared in the films Footloose in 1979, Shutter Island in 2010, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in 2015.

Most recently he starred as the Three-Eyed Raven in season 6 of HBO's award winning show Game of Thrones.

Kitty Winn (Sharon Spencer)

The 76-year-old luckily avoided the "curse" and has gone on to live a long life with a long retirement.

In the film, Kitty played Sharon Spencer who is a tutor for Regan (Linda Blair) and close friend and assistant to her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn).

Kitty, who was 29 at the time of filming, went on to star as the same character in the film's sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic, in 1977.

She has now been retired since her last film, Mirrors was released in 1978.

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