Obituary: Kay Linaker (1913 – 2008)

Kay LinakerThe Vault of Horror reports the sad news that actress-writer Kay Linaker has died. Linkaker has a small but significant role in horror movie history: under her pen name Kate Phillips, she co-wrote the screenplay for the 1958 version of THE BLOB, the film “That Made Steve McQueen a Star and Gave Horror a New and Ever-Changing Shape” (according to the headline for the retrospective of the film that Cinefantastique ran in the January 1989 issue).
Linaker attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and appeared in small roles on Broadway, which drew the attention of Hollywood. After appearing in several films, she married Howard Phillips and moved back east, where she began writing for television. Eventually, she got the job of writing the final script for THE BLOB.
According to producer Jack Harris, the film was conceived by Irvin H. Millgate, who turned the idea into a treatment titled “The Molten Meteor.” As I related in the CFQ retrospective:

A screenplay was developed from Millgate’s treatment. The script went through several drafts at Valley Forge, including uncredited input from the director’s wife, Jean Yeaworth, with a final draft credited to Theodore Simonson and actress Kay Linaker (who had written “Scandal at Peppernut,” an episode of The United States Steel Hour, under her pen name, Kate Phillips, in 1955).
“Ted worked with us on story,” Harris recalled. “With all due respect, I think he supplied more of a plot. I kept throwing in what I needed in the way of thrills. Once he did that, we hired Kate Phillips, who was an established writer, and she put the finishing touches on it.”

Supposedly, Linaker’s scripting duties netted her only $125. In later years, Linaker taught courses in acting and screenwrting at universities in Canada and New Hampshire. She was 94.

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