Linda Kay Lowry was born in East St. Louis, Illinois… not Cahokia, as most other biographies state. Lynn did, however, live in Cahokia, Illinois, for the first 11 years of her life.
In Lynn’s early formative years, she was extremely shy, until she got up one day and gave a report on the spider. You see, Lynn was already preparing for her future in horror films. She received such an overwhelming response from her classmates that she knew she wanted to be an actress. Lynn also played the trumpet from the age of 5, and was coached by her Dad, who had played the horn all his life. She won a great many medals in contests playing the trumpet with her knobby knees shaking. Aside from the music, a handful of school plays, and skits that she wrote herself, Cahokia definitely lacked culture.
At the age of 12, Lynn moved to Burbank, CA, which was quite a culture shock for a girl from the Midwest, but, she immediately immersed herself in the drama department at Burbank High School and started getting roles in plays like “Sorry Wrong Number,” “Portrait Of A Madonna,” and “The Music Man.”
Lynn’s mother, Jean, was instrumental in her early training as an actress, spending hours going through each nuance of the characters. For a little girl from Cahokia with no background or training in theatre, Lynn was already making a name for herself. She was very disappointed when her Dad was transferred to Decatur, Georgia. Having to start all over again was world shattering to Lynn. Lynn organized a drama club at Southwest Dekalb High School and was chosen out of thousands of people to attend the Governors Honors Program… a program for gifted people in their field. She acted, directed, and produced countless plays, finally winning a scholarship in speech and drama at the University of Georgia.
In 1968, after 2 years of college… doing everything from Shaw to Pinter to Shakespeare… Lynn worked two seasons of summer stock with John Belushi in Bloomfield, Indiana. She then took a little detour from her career, she married her first husband (who she had met doing Pirandello’s “Six Characters In Search Of An Author”), and gave birth to her son, Ian.
Lynn’s and family moved back to Georgia and she became a Playboy Bunny at the Atlanta Playboy Club. Lynn says that she was one of the worst bunnies ever. It is not a glamorous job, as many think. High heels, tight costumes that cut off your circulation, holding extremely heavy trays with one arm while you do the bunny dip, bending backwards and killing your back, and always having to keep your tail brushed, because Lynn was so thin, they called her Bunny Mia (after Mia Farrow) and had me play bumper pool. Leaning over the table gave you more cleavage.
Lynn’s bunnydom didn’t last very long… and while performing this duty, she was learning to be a brand new mom. Even though she loved being a mother, Lynn felt her dream of becoming an actress had come to an end. However, not one to be deterred from her goal, after two years of a rather unhappy marriage Lynn packed up her things and her son. With only $40 in her pocket, not knowing a soul in the very Big Apple, she moved to New York City to do what she knew she was meant to do… ACT!
This was a most difficult period of her life. Being a mother, working full time as a bartender, taking acting lessons, and starting her modeling career was extremely time consuming, but, Lynn prevailed. One day, in 1970, she was at an audition for a film entitled “Joe” (Susan Sarandon got the part). While she was waiting, she met a young man embarking on his first film project. He told her they were supposed to start filming in a couple of days and had just lost their lead actress. The director was Lloyd Kaufman, and Lloyd asked Lynn to do the role of the “Dream Girl” in his fi1m, “The Battle of Love’s Return.” Lynn accepted. Their working relationship was so wonderful, Lloyd later asked her to star in “Sugar Cookies.” “The Battle of Love’s Return” started out as a short and later was extended to a feature length film. Lynn enjoyed working on this movie because she got to play several different characters. This was quite challenging and she realized that this was her definition of true acting… playing someone other than yourself.
Shortly after completing this film, Lynn was called in to audition for David Durston who was directing “I Drink Your Blood.” The movie was already cast, but David thought she was so beautiful and had such a unique look that he put her in the film anyway. A very special role was established for her, even though it was never actually written in the script… Carrie a mute hippie. Many fans have asked Lynn about the scene where I cut off the woman’s hand with an electric carving knife. She wanted to play the innocence and curiosity aspect rather than the horror. That has always been one of her favorite moments on film. It is so horrific and graphic, and yet there’s a beautiful simplicity to it. Much of that credit goes to Joe Mangine, the main cinematographer on the film, even though he was not given credit. His lighting and camera work along with David’s direction make this film a really unusual experience to view. Doing this movie changed Lynn’s entire life. It was her first introduction to “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”
The film opened up a whole new world to Lynn, one that she had heard existed but had never experienced. And the look on people’s faces when she would tell them that she played a mute hippie on acid with rabies that cuts off a ladies hand with an electric carving knife is PRICELESS. Lynn recently saw a screening of this film with a full house at the Beverly Cinema in Hollywood, and this once X-rated film has now become a very funny cult classic.
In 1973, Lynn did “Sugar Cookies” and she is always asked about the relationship with Mary Woronov. Mary is a delightful lady and a very interesting actress. It was a terrific experience working with her and she is only sorry that she never had the opportunity to work with her again. The lesbian relationship they created was simply a creation and the nudity integral to the plot. This was the first time Lynn had to do extensive nudity. It was difficult in the beginning, but after a while, you simply become a prop. Lynn enjoyed this role because, once again, she played dual characters. Alta (who is truly a bitch) and Julie (who is truly a doll). Lynn finds this film interesting to watch and she loves hearing the many comments and reviews. Some think this was Lynn’s finest work and some her worst.
Lynn was reading backstage, one day in 1973, and Ishe saw that George Romero was casting his new film, “Code Name Trixie.” They were looking for a sweet, young girl who goes quite crazy, and the film eventually became known as “The Crazies.” After several days of grueling auditions and going quite mad, Lynn was cast as Kathy. It was a wonderful experience working for George. He is very easygoing and always interested in the actor’s ideas. People have often told Lynn that one of their favorite moments on screen is her death scene. She is shot by the soldiers and simply says “Oh!” When George first asked her to do it that way she was reluctant, because she wanted to have a long, dramatic, drawn-out death. However, she realized after seeing the film, that the simplicity and purity of that one sound was far more powerful.
In 1973, Radley Metzer contacted Lynn about “Score.” This was to be shot on location in Yugoslavia. She really wasn’t interested in doing another sex film, but she was assured that this had been a very successful Off-Broadway comedy and was to be shot in a classy and tasteful way. This is one of the funniest roles Lynn ever played. Many fans have asked her why the men’s love scene is so graphic and the women’s is so soft. Cal Culver and Jerry Grant did this scene on a closed set and it was supposed to be simulated sex, just like the women’s scene. So you can imagine Lynn’s surprise when she saw the film for the first time and realized she was in an X-rated movie. She was not happy about this discovery at all, but, as the years passed and she had the opportunity to see it with a predominately gay audience, it became apparent that it was loved and thought to be quite hysterically funny.
At this point in her life, she decided to really take her craft seriously and began classes with Warren Robertson, who was somewhat of a guru in the acting field. He showed you how to get in touch with your emotions and plug them into the character. Lynnbenefited a great deal from studying with him. Her instrument was fairly stiff and had a lot of blocked fears. She could do hysterical Tennessee Williams’ characters but couldn’t do something as simple as Neil Simons’ “Barefoot In The Park.” She couldn’t relax enough to enjoy herself on stage. Lynn studied with Warren for 5 years and, although much of the work was painful and difficult, the results were well worth the effort. She was hired for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, for the role of Rosalind in “As You Like,” a rock and roll version and the role of Elmira in “Tartuffe,” by Moliere. It was an exciting and fulfilling experience. She was also cast in some commercials in Anniston, Alabama… one for UCB Bank and another for Estee Lauder, but, the most remarkable reward from the Alabama experience was her relationship with Lester Shane. He shared with her more about acting than any other person in her life. Lynn was predominately a method actor and Lester showed her how to add fantastic technique to her work, allowing her to play characters that were nothing like her. He taught Lynn how to make magic and to shine on stage. He is the reason she is such an accomplished performer today. They collaborated on several plays in New York, as well as writing three film scripts. Lester is also her dearest friend, and they remain in close contact.
Lynn did quite a lot of modeling in New York during the 70′s. She was represented by the Wilhemina Agency. Her best remembered picture is the beautiful shot that J. Fred Smith took for Playboy. The artist Rosamond built her whole career on her image. She took the picture, made a few changes, and painted a lithograph. This portrait was immensely popular in the 70′s and 80′s and her other works bear a great similarity to Lynn’s picture.
Lynn was a close second for the role of Allison in the daytime soap opera “Peyton Place” and, in 1974, the same producers cast her in “How To Survive A Marriage.” I enjoyed soap opera work, but it’s quite gruelling. It was exciting having Brad Davis as her boyfriend, Armand Assante as her co-worker, and F. Murray Abrahms as her boss. These actors made the show a creative and challenging experience. She started out as “the bad girl” and ended the series as a heroine. Lynn also starred in an NBC Easter special with Lee Richardson, “The Gathering Of One,” playing his daughter.
Lynn did many plays during these years and was a producer of The Production Company with, Sheldon Epps and Norman Rene. She did several Off-Broadway works, including “Kennedy’s Children,” “Hedda Gabler,” “The White Whore,” and “The Bit Player”, but, her personal favorite was “Summer And Smoke.” This was directed by Lester Shane, at the Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was so successful that it was held over by popular demand. Her heart lies in the theatre and this was the most productive, creative, and exciting period of her life…. UNTIL NOW!!!!!
In 1975, Ivan Reitman called Lynn from Canada and told her they wanted her for David Cronenberg’s “They Came From Within,” aka “Shivers,” to be shot in Montreal. This was a most thrilling experience, working with Cronenberg and visiting Canada. It was a hard film to make, though. Night shoots, dealing with the parasite, and working with certain actors proved to be difficult at times, but, the end result provided Lynn with her favorite cinematic moment of all her films. She was not supposed to be in the last scene of “Shivers” that takes place in the swimming pool, but, after they had flown her home, David decided it would be a brilliant choice to have her give Paul Hampton the parasite. When she comes up out of the swimming pool, she plays a beautiful, sensual, very scary nurse Forsythe. That is her favorite image of herself, & of course, she has David to thank for that. He was a magnificent director and she loved working for him.
In 1976, Lynn received a phone call from Jonathan Demme telling her that he wanted to cast her as the female lead in his film “Fighting Mad.” The only catch was that she had to buy her own ticket and fly to California to persuade Roger Corman that she was the girl for the job. So, that’s exactly what she did. She remembers going back after the interview was over to tell Roger one thing she had forgotten. She thinks it was pretty silly when she thinks back on it, but she told him she would work her ass off for him, and she believes that’s why she was cast. This was her first mainstream film playing a leading lady and she believed things were really going to open up for her. It starred Peter Fonda and was shot in Arkansas. Peter was quite a personality at the time after having done “Easy Rider.”
In the next couple of years Lynn did two more soaps, “Lovers and Friends” and “Another World.” Both were for NBC.
Lynn finally moved to California in 1980… and everyone was on strike. Her timing was absolutely the worst. It was very difficult to get an agent, much less an acting job. Through her own contacts, she managed to meet Lynne Littman and was cast in the PBS show “Once A Daughter,” about a young woman whose mother is dying of cancer.
Lynn did get an agent who called her one day with an audition for “Cat People.” She only had a three-minute scene, but she was paid more for this than all her other acting jobs put together. One reason for this was that she did her own stunt work. This was her first (and last) big Hollywood movie and the brutality of shooting this scene was surprising. She had to fall on her knee so many times before they were able to get the cat paw under the bed to work correctly that she could hardly walk. The same was true of the fall down the stairs. She was cut by nails that were left in the carpet, rug burned from the fall, and bruised so she could hardly move. The indifference and insensitivity from the people in charge was amazing. But that’s HOLLYWOOD!
Lynn did a few things after that… a TV movie “Shoot First,” “A Cop’s Vengeance,” “Disney’s Wild Side,” a role in “SOB” (that was mostly cut out), a lovely role in an Ivan Passeur film, “Pretty Hatties Baby” (that went into litigation and was never released), another soap opera called “Generations,” a short “Mr. Man Works Out” (directed by John Pleshette), and there was always theatre. She never stopped learning and creating wonderful roles on stage, and, she was at her best
For the next several years Lynn worked as a teacher, training people how to act in commercials and TV. She enjoyed working with young actors, showing them some of the things she had learned. She came out of retirement in 1995 to do “Compelling Evidence,” in Atlanta.
For the past several years, Lynn has been pursuing a career as a singer and she now has a jazz trio that works at different clubs around LA California. Lynn’s newest endeavor is working with a big band. They are hired for wedding and other events.
Lynn has also been working as a physical therapist for over ten years and has her own practice. This occupation is extremely rewarding to her. There is no greater gift than helping someone to feel better, except, perhaps, helping people to feel and experience emotions through acting. She feels doubly blessed because she can to do both.
Lynn has also kept up her acting with starring roles in 15 new films. The highlights are “Basement Jack” in which she won Best Supporting actress at the Terror Film Festival.
“George’s Intervention” in which she won Best Actress at the Yellow Fever Film Festival in Ireland. “Torture Chamber” directed by Dante Tomaselli, “The Crazies”- Re-make, “The Super”, “The Theatre Bizarre”, and “Model Hunger” in which Lynn plays a Southern Belle Serial Killer.
The new releases of “I Drink Your Blood” and “The Crazies” have brought Lynn back into the limelight again. She was at the Chiller Convention in New Jersey in October, 2003, and was overwhelmed and touched by all the lovely people who appreciated her acting contributions. In January 29, 2004, American Cinematech screened “They Came From Within” aka “Shivers.” They invited Lynn to come and answer questions about the film. Lynn always finds it fun to watch the films but her pleasure is seeing and meeting the fans. Lynn is looking forward to meeting all her UK fans in 2014 at Misty Moon.
- Website: www.lynnlowry.com