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Linda McCartney
Linda McCartney
Breast CancerApril 17, 1998
Age 56


Linda McCartney Dies Of Cancer At 56

Linda McCartney, 56, Photographer of Rock Stars
                    By ALLAN KOZINN     Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

               Linda Eastman McCartney, the wife of the former Beatle Paul McCartney and a photographer
          whose portraits of 1960s rock stars have become classics, died on Friday in Santa Barbara,
          Calif., where the McCartneys were vacationing. She was 56.

          The cause was breast cancer that spread to her liver, said Geoff Baker, a family spokesman.

          Besides her work as a photographer, Ms. McCartney performed as a keyboardist and backup
          singer in two of her husband's post-Beatles bands, Wings and the unnamed ensemble that toured in
          1989 and 1993. She was a staunch campaigner for animal rights and vegetarianism and, starting in
          the late 1980s, she turned her passion for vegetarian cooking into an industry. She published two
          cookbooks, "Linda McCartney's Home Cooking" in 1989 and "Linda's Kitchen" in 1996, and in
          1991 started a line of frozen vegetarian dinners.

          As the wife of a musician who had long been a teen-age heartthrob and was the last Beatle to be
          married, Ms. McCartney first attracted the ire of her husband's fans, and eventually the respect of
          many of them. When the McCartneys were married in London on March 12, 1969, hundreds of
          crying girls packed the sidewalk outside the Marylebone Register Office. Later, when she toured
          with McCartney, she took considerable criticism for her modest keyboard and vocal technique.

          But the McCartneys' 29-year marriage was uncommonly steady by the standards of the celebrity
          world of which they were a part but from which they generally remained aloof, spending most of their
          time on a farm in West Sussex, England. They never spent a night apart, except for the 10 days
          McCartney spent in a Tokyo jail after he was arrested for marijuana possession; indeed, their
          disinclination to be separated was part of McCartney's reason for having his wife in his touring band.

          And McCartney, the composer of some of the rock era's most beautiful love songs, has consistently
          told interviewers that all his romantic ballads written after 1968 were about Linda. Those songs
          include everything from "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "The Lovely Linda" on his first post-Beatles
          album, "McCartney" (1970), "Long-Haired Lady" on "Ram" (1971) and "My Love" on "Red Rose
          Speedway" (1973) to more recent songs like "We Got Married" and "Figure of Eight" on "Flowers in
          the Dirt" (1989) and "Somedays" on "Flaming Pie" (1997), his most recent studio album.

          McCartney was not the first to compose a song about Ms. McCartney. Her father, Lee Eastman,
          was a prominent show business lawyer in New York and one of his clients, Jack Lawrence, wrote
          "Linda" for her in 1947 when she was 6. Buddy Clark had a hit with the song that year, and it was
          later recorded by Perry Como and Jan and Dean.

          Ms. McCartney also wrote a few songs, including the reggae-style "Seaside Woman," which she and
          McCartney released as a single in 1977 under the name Suzy and the Red Stripes, and "The
          White-Coated Man," which she wrote with Carla Lane and released (also as Suzy and the Red
          Stripes) on an animal-rights charity disk, "Animal Magnetism," in 1994.

          She was born Linda Louise Eastman on September 24, 1941, and grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y. As
          she often pointed out, without ever dispelling the assertion entirely, she was not related to the
          Eastmans of the Eastman-Kodak photography empire. In fact, her father had changed his name from

          She described growing up in artistic and materialistic surroundings, with a status-conscious mother
          and a father whose friends and clients included the artist Willem de Kooning and the songwriters
          Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Arlen.

          Ms. McCartney attended Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Arizona. While a student in
          Arizona, she married and had a daughter, but the marriage ended in 1963.

          Soon afterward, she took up photography, and in 1965 she returned to New York, where she began
          photographing rock groups, starting with the Dave Clark Five and the Rolling Stones. During the next
          few years she befriended and photographed dozens of rock stars, including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors,
          the Animals, Janis Joplin, the Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys and
          the Grateful Dead. A widely reproduced picture of the Beatles that she took at a press party for the
          release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1967 captured the group on the eve of its
          greatest artistic triumph.

          Her photographs appeared in Rolling Stone and other rock magazines, and in 1992 she published
          several hundred of them as a book, "Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era."

          Ms. McCartney met her future husband while photographing the Beatles in London in 1967, and the
          pair carried on an occasional romance for more than a year. In September 1968, McCartney asked
          her to move to London, from which point they became inseparable. Although she took some stunning
          pictures of the Beatles at work, she left most of them unpublished until she assembled her "Sixties"
          book. Her photographs of McCartney, however, adorned some of his post-Beatles album covers,
          and in one of his early television specials, "James Paul McCartney," he is shown singing a medley of
          his songs while his wife did a photo shoot.

          In addition to McCartney and the daughter from her first marriage, Heather, Ms. McCartney is
          survived by three children from her marriage with McCartney: Mary, Stella and James; and by her
          brother John, who is now McCartney's lawyer and business manager, and two sisters, Laura and

          Besides "Sixties," Ms. McCartney published several other books, including "Linda's Pictures," "Sun
          Prints," "Photographs" and "Road Works." Celebrities were by no means her only photographic

          Plants, animals, natural patterns on rock faces and people she encountered on her travels engaged
          her interest and were captured with a touching refinement in many of her pictures. Her work has also
          been the subject of exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal
          Photographic Society in Bath, England, and at more than 50 galleries around the world.


Linda McCartney did not die in Calif. -official



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