Who Was Linda McCartney?
In 1967, Linda McCartney got the chance to work with one of the most adored rock bands of the era, the Beatles, and caught the eye of guitarist and vocalist Paul McCartney. They later began dating and were married in March 1969. A vegetarian, McCartney wrote several cookbooks and was also active member of PETA. In 1995, McCartney discovered that she had breast cancer. She died three years later, on April 17, 1998, in Tucson, Arizona.
McCartney was born Linda Louise Eastman on September 24, 1941, in New York City.
Perhaps best known as the wife of Paul McCartney, member of the legendary rock group the Beatles, Linda McCartney was a talented artist in her own right. Growing up in Scarsdale, New York, she was no stranger to celebrity. Her father was a lawyer who had represented a number of artists and musicians, including Willem de Kooning and Tommy Dorsey.
In her late teens, McCartney suffered a great loss when her mother died in a plane crash. Attending college in Arizona, she was married briefly to John Melvyn See. The couple had a daughter named Heather. While in the Southwest, McCartney began studying photography and showed a natural talent for the art. Sometime after her divorce, she and her daughter moved to New York City around 1965.
At first, McCartney worked for Town and Country magazine, reportedly as a receptionist. She was able to photograph the members of the Rolling Stones during their visit to New York and those images helped launch her career as a rock photographer. She went on to photograph such rock luminaries as Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Doors, the Grateful Dead, and the Mamas and the Papas. Her work appeared in Rolling Stone, LIFE and other leading magazines.
In 1967, McCartney got the chance to work with one of the most adorned rock bands of the era, the Beatles. During a shoot to promote their Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, she caught the eye of guitarist and vocalist Paul McCartney. They later began dating, and married on March 12, 1969. News of this union devastated many of McCartney's adoring fans.
Marriage to McCartney
Linda and Paul McCartney remained inseparable. After Paul adopted Heather, the McCartneys eventually had three more children: Mary, Stella and James. After the break-up of the Beatles, Paul soon started a group called Wings and had Linda play the keyboard and provide backing vocals. Critics often commented on her lack of talent, but it was most important to the McCartneys that their family stay together. Reportedly the couple never spent a night away from each other except for Paul's 10-day stint in a Tokyo jail for possession of marijuana in 1980.
Outside of music, the couple tried to provide the most normal life for their children as possible. The family spent most of its time on a remote farm in East Sussex, England, and their children attended local schools. In addition to her devotion to family, McCartney supported many social and environmental causes. A vegetarian, McCartney wrote several cookbooks and developed a successful line of frozen meat-free meals. She was also active member of PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Over the years, McCartney continued to express herself artistically. She published several books of her photographs, including Linda's Pictures (1976), Sun Prints (1989), Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era (1992) and Roadworks (1996).
Battle with Cancer
In 1995, McCartney discovered that she had breast cancer. She had surgery and many rounds of chemotherapy, but the cancer eventually spread to her liver. She spent her final days with her family at their ranch in Arizona. McCartney died on April 17, 1998, in Tucson, Arizona. The family initially released a statement saying that she had died in Santa Barbara, California, to throw off the media so that they could have time to grieve privately. Memorial services were held in England as well as in California and New York.
Linda McCartney's legacy continues on through her art and charitable efforts. Open Wide: Photographs, a book of her work, was published a year after her death. The frozen food line she created is still selling vegetarian items in the United States and the United Kingdom.
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