Saturday, June 6, 2009

Heather O'Rourke, star of Poltergeist films died from Crohn's Disease

I found this Article over at Tragic Stars

Four of the actors involved in the Poltergeist films died within six years of one another, which led to a persistent rumor of a "Poltergeist curse" plaguing those involved with the horror films. Dominique Dunne, the actress who played O'Rourke's big sister in the original film, was murdered in 1982 by John Thomas Sweeney, with whom she had recently broken up. In 1985, actor Julian Beck died of stomach cancer during the filming of Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Two years later, Native American actor Will Sampson, who also starred in Poltergeist II, died of kidney failure and malnutrition problems.

In 1987, Heather was diagnosed with Crohn's disease after she suffered flu-like symptoms and swelling of her feet and legs. Despite her health problems, she began work on the final Poltergeist film, in which she starred alongside Lara Flynn Boyle and Tom Skerritt. According to fellow cast members, she never complained of pain and did not appear sick.

During a brief hiatus from filming, Heather fell extremely ill, unable to keep food down. Her mother called an ambulance after Heather fainted. Heather insisted she was fine to the paramedics, apparently worried about missing school.

Tragically, Heather O'Rourke died on February 1, 1988, of cardiopulmonary arrest and intestinal stenosis while having an acute bowel obstruction removed. Her mother claimed that had O'Rourke been diagnosed correctly months before, she would have lived. The family's lawyer filed a wrongful death suit against Kaiser Permanente, which they claimed responsible for the Crohn's disease misdiagnosis. The lawsuit was settled out of court.


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