Dominique Dunne

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Dominique Dunne (November 23, 1959November 4, 1982) was an American actress. Dunne had parts in several made for television movies, television series and minor movies, but is probably best known for her role as the oldest daughter, "Dana," in 1982's Poltergeist.

Dunne grew up in a wealthy family (she was the daughter of Ellen Griffin, a ranching heiress and the celebrated journalist Dominick Dunne; she was the sister of actor and director Griffin Dunne) and attended schools in L.A. as well as Fountain Valley School and the University of Colorado. After spending a year in Italy, Dunne worked for a short period in L.A. as a receptionist and translator for the Italian Trade Commission, but eventually turned to acting.

Dunne obtained small roles episodes of popular '80s television series such as Family, CHiPs and Fame. After three years, she finally received her big break with a starring role in Steven Spielberg's movie Poltergeist.

Later that year, after completing work in Poltergeist, Dunne met and moved in with a chef, John Thomas Sweeney. After a short and abusive relationship, Dunne broke up with Sweeney. A few weeks later, Sweeney murdered Dunne. The 6'1" Sweeney strangled the 5'1" actress in the driveway of her home after she refused to reconcile with him. She died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center a few days later at the age of only 22.

Sweeney was convincted of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison. He served 3 years and 8 months before being released.

Dunne's body was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery near family friend, Natalie Wood. Later in 1988, her young Poltergeist co-star, Heather O'Rourke, was buried near her when she died at the age of twelve.

Dunne was about to play Robin Maxwell in the 1983 mini series V when she died. The role was taken over by actress Blair Tefkin.

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