Linda Manz, who as an androgynous teen captivated many with her performances in the films "Days of Heaven" and "Out of the Blue," died Friday at 58. The cause, according to extended family posting on social media, was pneumonia and lung cancer.
Born in NYC on August 20, 1961, Manz was cast at 15 to appear as the narrator of Terrence Malick's period film "Days of Heaven," which was released in 1978 after an arduous shoot. Initially received with mixed reviews, it has gone on to overwhelming critical acclaim. Manz's improvised narration is widely considered an essential aspect of what makes the film — which is preserved in the United States Film Registry — an artistic success.
In 1979, Manz had the fondly remembered supporting role of Peewee in the hit film "The Wanderers." One of its stars, Ken Wahl, wrote of Manz on Facebook Friday, "She was great to work with and I'm glad I got to speak with her before she passed."
Manz's last starring role was in 1980's "Out of the Blue," in which she was directed by, and acted alongside, Dennis Hopper. The influential film competed at Cannes, and Manz's performance inspired a generation of actresses. Chloë Sevigny told Paper in 1995, "As for acting, I’d like to have a career like Linda Manz. She’s my favorite actress. She did three movies and all of them are masterpieces, except for 'The Wanderers.' Now she lives in a trailer park with three or four kids, I think. But I’d rather do that than do 10 movies and make millions of dollars and have them all be trashy films."
Natasha Lyonne told Interview in 2013, "The world at large doesn’t always make sense to me, and there are safe havens. Linda Manz in 'Out of the Blue' is one of them."
Crowdsourcing raised over $60,000 last year to restore "Out of the Blue."
In 1997, Manz — who rarely acted past the '80s, appearing in a small role in that year's "Gummo" — told Time Out New York, "There was a whole bunch of new young actors out there, and I was kind of getting lost in the shuffle. So I laid back and had three kids. Now I enjoy just staying home and cooking soup."
Manz was preceded in death by her son Chris, who died in a motorcycle accident two years ago. She leaves behind her husband, Bobby Guthrie, their two surviving sons, and three grandchildren.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the late actor — whose married name was Linda Guthrie — to help cover final expenses.