Linda Louise, Lady McCartney
; formerly See
; September 24, 1941 – April 17, 1998) was an American musician, photographer, animal rights activist, and was married to Paul McCartney, a founding member of The Beatles.In 1969, Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, and their marriage was blessed at St. John's Wood Church. Later, they formed McCartney's band, Wings. In the same year Paul adopted Heather Louise, Linda's daughter from her first marriage to Joseph Melville See. The McCartneys had three children: Mary Anna, Stella Nina, and James Louis.She wrote several vegetarian cookbooks, became a business entrepreneur (starting the Linda McCartney Foods company with her husband), and was a professional photographer, publishing Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era
. McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and died at the age of 56 on April 17, 1998 in Tucson, Arizona, where the McCartneys had a ranch.VegetarianismMcCartney introduced her husband to vegetarianism in 1975, and promoted a vegetarian diet through her cookbooks: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking
(with author Peter Cox, 1989), Linda’s Kitchen
and Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals
. She explained her change to vegetarianism by saying that she did not "eat anything with a face... If slaughterhouses had glass walls the whole world would be vegetarian".
The McCartneys became outspoken vegetarians and animal rights activists. In 1991, she introduced a line of frozen vegetarian meals under the Linda McCartney Foods name, which made her wealthy independently of her husband. The H. J. Heinz Company acquired the company in March 2000, and the Hain Celestial Group bought it in 2007.As a strong advocate for animal rights, Linda lent her support to many organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The Council for the Protection of Rural England and Friends of the Earth. She was also a patron of the League Against Cruel Sports. She narrated a TV advertisement for PETA, in which she said: "Have you ever seen a fish gasping for breath when you take it out of the water? They’re saying, ‘Thanks a lot for killing me. It feels great, you know.’ No! It hurts!" After her death, PETA created the Linda McCartney Memorial Award.
In 1984, she was arrested in Barbados for possession of marijuana; her husband had been arrested in Los Angeles for possession of marijuana in 1975. After flying to Heathrow Airport, London, she was arrested on charges of possession. She later commented that hard drugs were disgusting, but marijuana "is pretty lightweight".
McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and her condition soon grew worse as it spread to her liver. She died on April 17, 1998 (age 56) at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. She was cremated in Tucson, and her ashes were scattered at the McCartney farm in Sussex. Her husband later suggested that fans remember her by donating to breast cancer research charities that do not support animal testing, "or the best tribute — go veggie". A memorial service was held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which was attended by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Peter Gabriel and other celebrities among a congregation of 700. A memorial service was also held at Riverside Church in Manhattan, two months after her death.Talking later about the medication used to treat her breast cancer, Paul McCartney said: "If a drug has got to be used on humans then legally it has to be finally tested on an animal ... This was difficult for Linda when she was undergoing her treatment." He also claimed that she was unsure if the drugs she took had been tested on animals: "During the treatment, a nice answer is a nice answer and if they (the doctors), say, 'It's OK to have this because we didn't test it on animals', you are going to believe them." She left her entire fortune to her husband in a special trust, known as a Qualified Domestic Trust, which allows deferral of estate taxes due on her assets until after his death. He will have access to any royalties from books, records and any financial remuneration for the use of his wife's photographs. He has pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms.Wide Prairie
, a six-minute cartoon fantasy film by Linda McCartney and director Oscar Grillo, premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 19, 1998. It was shown before the British premiere of The Horse Whisperer
, starring Robert Redford. On April 10, 1999, Paul McCartney performed at the "Concert for Linda" tribute at the Royal Albert Hall, with numerous artists including George Michael, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello and Tom Jones. In January 2000, he announced donations in excess of $2,000,000 for cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, where Linda received treatment. The centers received $1 million (£625,000) each. The donations, through the Garland Appeal, were made on the condition that no animals would be used for testing purposes. In 2000, The Linda McCartney Centre, a cancer clinic, opened at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital. In November 2002, the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust opened a memorial garden in Campbeltown — the main town in Kintyre — with the dedication of a bronze statue of her by sculptor Jane Robbins, McCartney's cousin, which was commissioned and donated by McCartney.
Portrayals on screen
Linda McCartney and husband Paul appeared as themselves on an episode of Bread
in 1988, and an episode of The Simpsons
, called "Lisa the Vegetarian", in 1995. After her death, The Simpsons
' 200th episode "Trash of the Titans", which aired on April 26, 1998, and Paul McCartney's Tuesday" from 2000 (directed by Geoff Dunbar) was dedicated both to her memory. Simpsons
executive producer Mike Scully said, "It just seemed like the right thing to do. Everyone here was surprised and saddened by her death."Elizabeth Mitchell and Gary Bakewell played the McCartneys in the 2000 TV movie The Linda McCartney Story
. She was portrayed as "Linda Eastman" in the 1985 TV movie John and Yoko: A Love Story