Dominique Ellen Dunne (Dominique Ellen Dunne)

Dominique Ellen Dunne

Actress, she is best remembered for her role of Dana Freeling in the movie “Poltergeist” (1982).   Born Dominique Ellen Dunne in Santa Monica, California, she was the youngest child and only daughter of Dominick Dunne, a film producer, and Ellen Dunne, an actress.  While growing up, film stars and movie producers were regular guests in her wealthy parents home.  She first attended Westlake High School in Los Angeles, then graduated in 1977 from Fountain Valley High School in Colorado.  The next year, she went to Florence, Italy where she studied art and Italian language.  Returning back to the US, she enrolled in Colorado State University in Fort Collins to study acting, but left after only one year, and soon obtained acting roles in Hollywood.  She appeared in cameo roles in several television series:  Lou Grant, St. Elsewhere, Chips, Hart-to-Hart, and Fame.  In 1981, she won her first role in a movie, “Poltergeist,” for which she is best remembered.  Also in the fall of 1981, while at a party, she met John Thomas Sweeney, 25, a chef at the upscale Los Angeles restaurant “Ma Maison.”  They were quickly attracted to each other and began dating.  About six months later, they broke up and went their separate ways.  In the fall of 1982, she got the role of Robin Maxwell in the television miniseries “V”.  On the evening of October 30, 1982, she was at her home with actor David Packer, rehearsing some upcoming scenes from “V” for the next day’s filming, when Sweeney showed up to ask her to reconcile with him.  During the ensuing argument, he strangled her, and although police and EMTs showed up almost immediately afterwards, she was unconscious and died five days later without regaining consciousness.  Sweeney was convicted of manslaughter in September 1983, and sentenced to 6 years in prison. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)  Family links:  Parents:  Dominick Dunne (1925 – 2009)  Ellen Beatriz Griffin Dunne (1932 – 1997)  Siblings:  Dominique Dunne (1958 – 1958)*  Dominique Ellen Dunne (1959 – 1982)  Baby girl Dunne (1963 – 1963)* *Calculated relationshipCause of death: Murdered by strangulation


  • November, 23, 1959
  • USA


  • November, 11, 1982
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Murdered by strangulation


  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • California
  • USA

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