Linda McCartney

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Linda McCartney

Linda and Paul McCartney in 1976
Born September 24, 1941(1941-09-24)
New York City, New York, USA
Died April 17, 1998 (aged 56)
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Cause of death Breast cancer
Occupation Photographer
Spouse John Melvin See, Jr.
(m. 1962–1965, divorced)
Paul McCartney
(m. 1969–1998, her death)
Children Heather McCartney
Mary McCartney
Stella McCartney
James Louis McCartney
Parents Lee Eastman
Louise Sara Lindner Eastman (née Dryfoos)

Lady Linda Louise Eastman See McCartney (September 24, 1941 - April 17, 1998) was the first wife of musician Paul McCartney. She was the mother of artists Heather McCartney and Mary McCartney, fashion designer Stella McCartney, and musician James McCartney. Her father was attorney Lee Eastman[1], whose law partner was his son (Linda's brother) John Eastman.[2] Her mother was Louise Linder, who was an heiress to a department store fortune.[3][4]

Early life[change | change source]

Linda grew up in Scarsdale, New York[5], and attended Sarah Lawrence College. She enjoyed music, and sang girl group songs with friends. When The Beatles became famous in America, she attended one of their concerts. She never considered a musical career.

Linda married a geologist, John See, and they had a daughter, named Heather. See wanted to move to Africa to work, and take his wife and daughter. Linda did not want to go, and they were divorced. She became a photographer, and took pictures for magazines and the press.

Before long, she began to photograph rock bands and singers. She became well known for this. The Rolling Stones once made her the exclusive photographer for one of their public appearances. In time, she visited England, to photograph the pop stars there.

The Beatles[change | change source]

Linda had been attracted most of all to John Lennon of the Beatles when she first saw them. In person, though, she was charmed more by another Beatle, Paul McCartney, when they met. McCartney was engaged to actress Jane Asher, but she wanted to wait to have children, and McCartney did not. Their engagement ended. McCartney loved to spend time with Linda's daughter Heather, and the three of them seemed to make a family. Linda and Heather moved into McCartney's home during 1968.

Early in 1969, Linda became pregnant. She and McCartney were married, and had a baby (named Mary after McCartney's own mother) the next year. During this same time, the Beatles were growing apart. They had business problems, and no longer had the same kinds of plans or hopes. Linda hoped her father and brother, whose clients were mostly entertainment personalities, could help solve the business problems. The fact that they were her family (and now McCartney's, by marriage) did not put the other Beatles at ease. They chose Allen Klein to represent them instead. Klein and the Eastmans did not get along, and this caused further problems. The Beatles began to break up late in 1969.

Besides the band's problems, Paul McCartney and John Lennon had grown apart personally. Lennon divorced his first wife Cynthia in 1968, and started a relationship with Japanese artist Yoko Ono. They were also married in 1969. Lennon and Ono spent as much time as possible together, and McCartney often felt out of place. McCartney and Linda also spent a lot of time together, but separated to work on their own projects. Linda and Yoko did not get along well, but each supported their men, and encouraged them to believe in themselves. Later, some fans blamed one or both women for breaking up the Beatles, but their role was not crucial to that. It was one of many factors that drove the band apart.

After the Beatles[change | change source]

Paul McCartney suffered from depression for a time, when the Beatles ended. It had been his longtime band, made up of good friends, and he had lost both. He turned to his family for comfort. Linda and their children were always there. McCartney and Lennon argued in the media, and Linda also took verbal jabs at Lennon and Yoko Ono. Surprisingly, when they met in person, everyone usually acted in a completely different way, and were kind to each other.

Linda began to sing with her husband, and to help him to write new songs. He wanted her to do this, and liked her input. He also wanted to perform again for small audiences, as the Beatles had done in their early days. He taught Linda to play piano, so she could share in the experience. Linda did not become a virtuoso musician or singer, but she added to the sound of McCartney's new band, which he called Wings. The couple enjoyed performing together, as part of a band.

Adding other musicians, Wings began to play small shows, sometimes turning up at a school or club in the morning and asking to play, for no charge. As they played more, they began to give regular concerts, and to go on tours. The McCartneys would bring their children along during their school vacations. The McCartney children did not realise their parents were celebrities, and the family atmosphere between all of them was strong.

Although now a musician, Linda continued her photography, and published books of her works. She and McCartney also became vegetarians, out of their love of animals. Linda became a crusader for animal rights and related causes. She learned and made recipes for vegetarian meals, and began to write cookbooks.

After Wings ended, Linda still recorded and performed with her husband, but she was now recognized as an activist for social causes, and for charity work. She launched a line of vegetarian frozen dinners.[6] They became popular, and in time made Linda wealthy on her own. Paul McCartney was knighted in 1997, and Linda was named Lady McCartney.

In 1995, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which McCartney's mother died of in 1956. Medicine had advanced since that time, but Linda died of breast cancer in 1998, at the Arizona ranch she owned with her husband. A memorial service was held in London, England, and former Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr attended, marking the last time they and Paul McCartney appeared and performed together in public.

References[change | change source]