Linda Haynes, Who Appeared in ‘Rolling Thunder’ and ‘Brubaker,’ Dies at 75

Linda Haynes, who appeared in films including “Rolling Thunder,” “Drowning Pool” and “Brubaker,” died July 17 in South Carolina. She was 75.

Her son Greg Sylvander reported her death on Facebook.

“As an only child, I have dreaded these times my entire life. I find peace in the knowing that my mother was at peace and had the most beautiful life these final years together with her grandchildren, Courtney Sylvander and I. We are going to miss my mom immensely,” he wrote.

In 1977, Haynes co-starred in John Flynn’s psychological thriller “Rolling Thunder,” written by Paul Schrader and starring William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones and James Best. The film follows former Vietnam prisoner of war Charles Rane who, after surviving a violent home invasion and losing a hand, sets out on a crusade to get revenge with help from a friend. Haynes played Linda Forchet, a Southern belle who welcomes Rane back from the war only to become deeply involved in his plot for vengeance.

Quentin Tarantino once said of Haynes’ performance, “Linda Forchet is my favorite female character in a Paul Schrader movie…she has that look that Ava Gardner got, you know blousy, but it took Ava years to do it, and Linda Haynes just did it naturally. And I mean that in a good way.”

Tarantino claims “Rolling Thunder” as one of his favorite films, calling it “the movie that made me start taking myself seriously as a film critic.” The filmmaker even created a short-lived distribution company called Rolling Thunder Pictures.

Haynes also appeared in the 1973 Blaxploitation film “Coffy” starring Pam Grier as well as Robert Mulligan’s 1974 neo-noir drama “The Nickel Ride” and in the Paul Newman-starrer “The Drowning Pool.” In 1979, Haynes starred in Gregory Goodell’s horror film “Human Experiments” as a country singer wrongfully convicted of a murder who faced horrific shock therapy treatments while in prison. One of her last roles was in the 1980 prison drama “Brubaker,” which starred Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.

Her first credited film role came in the 1969 Japanese sci fi film “Latitude Zero,” directed by Ishiro Honda and starring Joseph Cotten.

Following her ’70s and ’80s film roles, Haynes went on to work as a legal secretary, but remained a lifelong member of the Actor’s Studio.

She is survived by her son Greg, daughter-in-law Courtney, and grandchildren James and Amelia.

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