Linda Sobek was an American model who earned her fame on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in 1979. She died at the young age of 27 after she was brutally stabbed to death by her jealous boyfriend, prompting national outrage and changing California law forever. Here, we explore the short life and tragic murder of Linda Sobek, who became famous long before she would have ever wanted to be.
Part 1 – Her Childhood
Linda Sobek was born on September 27, 1965 in Los Angeles, California. She was an American model and actress who appeared on the cover of hundreds of magazines including Cosmopolitan and Vogue. She also had a successful acting career with roles in Hollywood movies. Her childhood years were filled with modeling, beauty pageants and a wild lifestyle. As she became older she began to take drugs and her life spiraled out of control.
By the time she was 27 years old, she had OD’d at least five times and attempted suicide four times.
On December 14th 1990, after attending a Christmas party with friends in the San Fernando Valley, Sobek drove off alone into the darkness. Moments later there was an apparent car accident. Linda’s father found her dead body lying by the side of the road near Malibu Creek State Park. It is believed that someone ran over her while driving down Cold Canyon Road and left her for dead when they realized what they had done
Part 2 – Early Success
She had a successful modeling career, but when she was 27, someone broke into her home and brutally beat her to death. Her murder remains unsolved to this day. Linda was a beautiful woman who loved fashion and looked great in anything she wore. She seemed to have it all until her tragic death that ended her life too soon. After finishing school, Linda attended two different colleges before dropping out due to lack of funds.
That didn’t stop her though; she pursued what made her happy – being a model and even signed with the Wilhelmina Models agency at just 18 years old! She had modeling success as well as some acting roles, appearing in an episode of Married…With Children as Kelly Bundy’s girlfriend alongside Marilyn Manson. Sobek also appeared in three music videos for heavy metal bands (Slayer, Pantera and Sepultura).
Her final project was hosting the self-produced television show called VIVA LA BAMBA from 1998-1999 which documented Latino culture and lifestyles.
It is believed that after filming for the last time on July 22nd, 1998 she traveled back to California where she lived for about a week before returning to her hometown of Chicago on August 4th 1998. On August 7th 1998 around 11 pm, someone broke into her house and viciously killed her by hitting her multiple times over the head with a blunt object or by striking many blows directly against her skull.
Part 3 – Career Rising
Linda’s modeling career began to take off in her late teens. She was discovered by a photographer in the Bahamas when she was 17 and went on to work with top photographers such as Francesco Scavullo, Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Linda also worked with designers such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Calvin Klein. In 1985 she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in a swimsuit.
To this day, she remains one of the youngest models to appear on their front cover. Later that year, Linda married MLB player Bob Horner after only two months of dating and divorced him four years later. By 1988, however, Linda had started to lose interest in modeling and turned her focus more towards acting instead. The following year she got a role in the TV show Paper Dolls alongside Valerie Bertinelli but it was cancelled after only five episodes because it didn’t do well with viewers.
Part 4 – A Mysterious End
She was a model who worked with the likes of Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and Victoria’s Secret. She was also an actress and a spokesperson for Revlon cosmetics. Despite her success, she was always humble and friendly. It is said that she loved to cook, ride horses, play tennis, ski, scuba dive and swim. She never got married or had children but had an enormous family (minus one).
It is unknown what happened in her final moments as she died from strangulation on March 16th 1981 in her apartment in Queens. Police found signs that someone else had been there when she died including hair strands left behind.
Part 5 – Unanswered Questions?
Linda’s murder was never solved, and there are still many unanswered questions. Why would someone want to hurt a beautiful woman? The theories on the death have ranged from an accident to a sexually-motivated attack. What do you think happened to Linda Sobek?