The Poltergeist Deaths

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The following five actors from the Poltergeist films all died shortly after their work on the films was completed:

Heather O’Rourke, the child actress who played the innocent Carol Ann Freeling, complained of abdominal pains on February 1, 1988. She was taken to Children’s Hospital of San Diego, where it was discovered she was suffering from intestinal stenosis – a severe bowel obstruction she apparently had from birth. The obstruction influenced an infection which caused septic shock, and subsequently a total cardiac and pulmonary arrest. She died the same day during surgery at age 12. Her mother later filed a wrongful death suit against Heather’s physicians alleging that an early misdiagnosis prevented proper treatment of Heather’s curable condition.

Dominique Dunne played Dana Freeling (Carol Ann’s big sister). She died at age 22 on November 14, 1982, four days after her boyfriend choked her into a coma from which she never awoke.

Noel Conlon played the husband of a couple shopping for a house in the neighborhood. He died January 25, 1993.

Julian Beck died of stomach cancer on September 14, 1985, at age 60, after his role as Kane, an evil spirit in Poltergeist II.

Will Sampson, who played the good spirit of Talyor in the same film, died on June 3, 1987, at age 53, six weeks after a heart-lung transplant.