Nell Beram

Linda McCartney, Another Tough Woman

Jewish, and just as cool as Yoko

Linda McCartney, unlike Yoko, was white and blonde. Like Yoko, she was hard to put in a box. She is closely identified with the 1960s, during which she took classic photos of rock stars like the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan, and her talent as a photographer was showcased in several books (the best known is perhaps 1992’s Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era), as well as in countless galleries. McCartney didn’t court attention by flashing butterfly-wing eyelashes like Pattie Boyd or swizzle-stick dimensions like Twiggy. She didn’t wear a mini anything. She sailed into public consciousness as Paul McCartney’s girlfriend — they married in 1969 — during her Breck Girl phase; then enjoyed a long farm-girl-with-a-mullet phase, when Wings was soaring. She died at 56, in 1998, following her Florence Henderson phase, when she wore gender-negating vests and plain-talked to cameras about her decades-long commitment to animal rights and vegetarianism. At the time of her death, Linda was wealthy in her own right, through her best-selling cookbooks, starting with Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking, and her line of still-going-strong eponymous frozen vegetarian entrées, which, in 1997, had sales in England of more than $56 million.

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