Dominique Dunne Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (27)

Overview (4)

Born in Santa Monica, California, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (homicide)
Birth NameDominique Ellen Dunne
Height 5' 1" (1.55 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dominique Dunne was born to a life of privilege in Santa Monica, California, the daughter of Ellen Beatriz (Griffin) Dunne and Dominick Dunne, a producer, actor, and writer. Actor Griffin Dunne is her brother. After her parents' divorce, she moved first to New York, and then to a posh home in Beverly Hills. Upon graduation from high school, Dominique went to the University of Colorado to study acting, leaving after one year to pursue her career. Three weeks after arriving in Hollywood, she landed her first gig. Others roles soon followed, notably her role as Dana Freeling, the eldest daughter in Poltergeist (1982), and Dominique was soon well known in the Hollywood social scene. Well liked by all who knew her, Dominique seemed to be at the top of the world. Then, at a party she met John Thomas Sweeney, the chef at popular LA nightspot Ma Maison. The two began a relationship, which turned stormy. Sweeney was uncontrollable and abusive (so abusive that Dominique did not need makeup to play the role of an abuse victim on Hill Street Blues (1981)). Dominique ended the relationship on October 30, 1982. That same night, a distraught Sweeney raced to her house, where she and actor David Packer were rehearsing a scene from V: The Final Battle (1984), dragged her outside, and strangled her, leaving her brain dead. Five days later, she was removed from life support and died, cutting short a brilliant career and leaving behind scores of shocked and angry loved ones.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jason A. Cormier < wildrose@mindspring.com>

Trivia (27)

Murdered by her ex-boyfriend, John Thomas Sweeney, just nineteen days before her 23rd birthday.
Sister of Griffin Dunne. Their father is novelist Dominick Dunne.
Cedars-Sinai Hospital Medical Center, where Dunne died, were adamant in stating that they did not shut off her life-support system.
John Thomas Sweeney, Dunne's killer, was 26 years old at the time. After being sentenced to 6 years in prison for assault and unintentional manslaughter, he was freed after less than four years.
Is interred at Westwood Memorial Park (in Los Angeles, California): Section D, #189. This is near her Poltergeist (1982) co-star Heather O'Rourke, who died in 1988 from intestinal stenosis.
Found work within three weeks of her arrival on the Hollywood scene.
A day before she was to guest star on Hill Street Blues (1981), she was badly beaten by her boyfriend. She showed up on the set with bruises on her face; since she was playing an abused teen in the episode, she wore no make-up. The bruises we see in the episode are real.
After John Sweeny was released from prison after only serving two and a half years he found work quickly. Dunne's mother, Ellen Griffin, started a grievance support group called, "Justice for Victims of Homicide." On the nights that he worked (as a chef) Griffin and other group members would hand out slips of paper to restaurant patrons that read, "The hands that will prepare your meal tonight also murdered Dominique Dunne." He was fired almost immediately.
Met her boyfriend turned killer at a party in the Fall of 1981.
Drove a blue VW Bug convertible.
She preferred casual clothes like jeans and shirts instead of more fashionable ones.
Loved cooking, foreign countries and languages (Dominique spoke Italian well) and playing baseball.
She was very superstitious and believed in supernatural phenomena.
Some of her favorite actresses were Julie Andrews, Jane Fonda, Susan Hayward and Natalie Wood. And for actors of her own generation, she liked Kristy McNichol and Timothy Hutton.
She loved animals, especially unwanted stray animals, and her home became an asylum for a lot of them.
Her murderer, John Thomas Sweeney, later moved to the Northwestern USA and changed his name to John Maura.
Attended Westlake School in Los Angeles, Taft School in Connecticut, and Fountain Valley High School in Colorado.
Traveled to Florence, Italy where she studied art and Italian at the Michelangelo- School and at the British Institute.
Close friend of Charles B. Wessler from childhood and who was a pallbearer at her funeral in November, 1982.
First of two co-stars from Poltergeist (1982) to die unexpectedly within a few years of each other, the second being Heather O'Rourke. Dunne at age 22 and O'Rourke at age 12.
Her mother Ellen died in 1997.
Poltergeist (1982) is the only theatrical movie in which she appeared.
Along with Lou Perryman, she is one of two cast members of Poltergeist (1982) to have been murdered.
She was cast as Robin Maxwell in V (1983) and filmed several scenes before she was murdered. After her death, Blair Tefkin was cast in the role. The only footage of her which remains in the miniseries is a shot of her back in the scene in which the Maxwells observe the arrival of the Los Angeles mothership. The miniseries was dedicated to her memory.
Dominique's father was of Irish descent. Her maternal grandmother, Beatriz Charlotte Sandoval, was born in Nogales, Mexico, to a Mexican father, Alfredo Sandoval, and a mother from Wyoming, Clara Mathilda Holler, who was of German and Swedish descent. Dominique's mother's other ancestry was Irish and English.
Cousin of Quintana Roo Dunne.

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