Dominique Dunne

Dominique Ellen Dunne (November 23, 1959 – November 4, 1982) was an American actress. Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Dunne studied acting at Milton Katselas' Workshop, where she appeared in stage productions. She made her on-screen debut with the television film Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker, and thereafter played the recurring roles of Erica on the drama series Family (1980), and Paulina Bornstein on the comedy series Breaking Away (1980–1981). Dunne's breakthrough came with the starring role of Dana Freeling in the horror film Poltergeist (1982), establishing her as a horror icon. She went on to headline the western film The Shadow Riders (1982), and portray Amy Kent on the crime series CHiPs (1982). Before her murder, Dunne was cast in the miniseries V (1983); however, she died midway through filming, and was replaced by Blair Tefkin. On October 30, 1982, Dunne was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, John Thomas Sweeney, during an argument on the driveway of her West Hollywood home. She fell into a coma and died five days later on November 4, 1982. In a court case which gained significant media coverage, Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Dunne's death, and served three and a half years in prison.