“Exorcist” star Linda Blair did not know she was making a permanent decision when she left Hollywood to launch her Worldheart Organization in 2003.
Blair first appeared in “The Exorcist” in 1973 before reprising her role as Regan MacNeil in the sequel, “Exorcist II: The Heretic” in 1977.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Blair said she had “absolutely no idea” her goodbye to Hollywood would last several decades.
“As time went by, and I would be offered different projects, I tried to look for people that could take over my responsibilities, and I found it very difficult,” Blair said. “People sort of didn’t really want to participate, and they didn’t seem to really care that I needed incredibly responsible people to be here so that I could go back to work.
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“So I have found myself unknowingly walking away from the business.”
The Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation is an animal and human welfare organization. According to the foundation’s website, its mission is to “alleviate suffering, while rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming abused, neglected and abandoned animals. We aid in crisis situations, while educating, encouraging and empowering the public to make a difference in the lives of those whom have no voice.”
WATCH: ‘Exorcist’ actress Linda Blair ‘unknowingly’ walked away from acting to start her Worldheart Organization
“I’m just really asking at this point for people to understand it is a state of emergency for the animals and if we can all work together and help the shelters, help the rescues — we are all filled to capacity, and we’re asking for help,” Blair told Fox News Digital.
“The shelters don’t want to euthanize the many, many animals they have, and we can do better, but they need help. So, the rescue community, which are our partners to shelters, are also completely overwhelmed, infiltrated with pain, because what we see, what we witness between what the public is doing, dumping animals in the deserts, in the streets and what the shelters are allowing to happen.”
Blair is not ready to step away from her foundation until there are certain rules and protocols for animals in place. She believes that laws can be changed to “make the world a better place for everybody.”
“I think that we can change laws,” she said. “We can get the microchipping … accountability, responsibility. It is mandatory, but it’s not being enforced, and I would like all of these things to happen, so I can go back to work, and we can make the world a better place for everybody.”
Although Blair took a big step back from Hollywood when she launched her foundation in 2003, she was still able to make time for certain opportunities.
One of those projects was reprising her role in “The Exorcist: Believer,” which was released in October.
Blair’s passion for animals started as a girl. She recalled telling her mother she wanted to be a “doctor for the animals.”
WATCH: ‘Exorcist’ actress Linda Blair explains why it was important to launch her Worldheart Organization
“So, we got started working in commercials and modeling in New York and saving my money so that I could go to school,” Blair said of her and her mother. “When ‘The Exorcist’ came along, it changed the course of my life forever, as everyone knows.
“I’m very proud of the work — ‘Born Innocent’ and ‘Sarah. T — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic,’ all these great movies I was able to make that changed history and primetime television. And, in my 20s, I was like, ‘But what about me? What about what I care so passionately about — animals?’”
Blair recalled how she worked with actress Stefanie Powers to create a law to stop the slaughtering of American horses for human consumption in Europe.
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“I just felt like we could do better,” Blair said. That led to the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation.
Blair traveled south to Louisiana to help aid the surviving animals from Hurricane Katrina.
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“I found myself within a month down at Hurricane Katrina, and I helped to remove the remaining 350 animals out of Louisiana,” she said.
“Then we bought a used motorhome and transported them into California, where there wasn’t any doggy day care. There was very little boarding.
“So, I bought the property to house the Katrina dogs and all the rescues I had been doing in Los Angeles, and that is how the Linda Blair Rescue Animal Wellness Center started. And we planned to be here just a few years, change the laws, get everybody on course with an emergency preparedness,” she noted.
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Blair celebrated the 17th anniversary of the Linda Blair Rescue Animal Wellness Center Dec. 5.