Friday, September 24, 2021

Remembering Linda McCartney on her 80th Birthday

Today would have been Tokin' Woman Linda McCartney's 80th birthday.

The classy lady who in 1969 married perhaps the world's most eligible bachelor (Paul McCartney) was a well-known rock photographer when they met. Linda Eastman photographed the Rolling Stones during their visit to New York and also captured images of 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. 

She later reminisced about smoking pot in Central Park on her way to her photography studio. "Lovely times," she said. Perhaps taking the rap for Paul, Linda was arrested in Los Angeles in 1975 for marijuana possession, but the charges were dropped. Reportedly she and Paul never spent a night away from each other after their marriage, except for his ten-day stint in a Tokyo jail for possession of marijuana in 1980. 

In 1984, the McCartneys were arrested in Barbados for possession of marijuana and were fined $100 each. They flew to London's Heathrow Airport, where Linda was arrested again on charges of possession. Rather than repudiate her marijuana use as so many did at the time, Linda commented, "I think hard drugs are disgusting. But I must say, I think marijuana is pretty lightweight."
A McCartney family photo
A vegetarian, McCartney wrote several cookbooks and developed a successful line of frozen meat-free meals. She was an active member of PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was also active in environmental causes. Linda and Paul appeared as themselves on an episode of The Simpsons titled "Lisa the Vegetarian" in 1995. The world mourned when she died of breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 56.

In April 1999, Paul performed at a "Concert for Linda" tribute at the Royal Albert Hall, organized by Tokin' Woman Chrissie Hynde. In 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 donations were made on the condition that no animals would be used for testing.

In 2002, Paul married the now-discredited Heather Mills, whom he divorced just after she said she wouldn't tolerate his marijuana smoking. Afterwards he stepped away briefly from his longstanding vocal support for marijuana legalization during a custody battle over his daughter with Mills, making him one of the most high-profile parents to have this all-too-common problem. 

Stella with Rihanna
at the 2014 Met Gala.
Linda had a daughter also named Heather from a former marriage whom Paul adopted. The pair had three other children: Mary, a photographer and Global Ambassador for Meat Free Monday and Green Monday; musician/artist/activist James; and well-known fashion designer Stella, who said in 2017 she would take her father's unpublished book "Japanese Jailbird" to a desert island to remind her of the importance of "family and freedom." The LA Times reported in 2010 that Stella was incorporating hemp fabrics into her designs, and she has kept hemp in some of her sustainable collections. 

The Express reports that Paul refused to allow Weird Al Yankovich to parody his song "Live and Let Die" as "Chicken Pot Pie" because of Linda's strict vegetarian beliefs. He has pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms. 

Paul tweeted today, "Have a great day on what would have been Linda's 80th birthday." 

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