Where Are They Now?

Carol Anne from Poltergeistcarol anne from poltergeist

Carol Anne from Poltergeist

Everyone has heard the rumours about the little girl from Poltergeist dying mysteriously at a young age and how it apparently had something to do with the nature of the film.

But what is the truth behind the young actress's tragic life?

Heather O'Rourke began acting at the age of 5 in a variety of commercials before landing the role of Carol Anne in Poltergeist. Legend has it that she was eating lunch at the MGM cafeteria with her mother when Steven Spielberg walked past. He was looking for a child to star in his new film (which incidentally he produced, not directed - a common misconception) and was immediately taken with O'Rourke.

He invited the 7 year old in for a screen test in which she apparently screamed and screamed and screamed till she cried and subsequently got the part.

The success of Poltergeist led to the inevitable sequels - Poltergeist II and Poltergeist III. As is the rule of thumb with sequels the higher the number the worse the film got. As O'Rourke's profile grew, so did her TV appearances including Happy Days, Chips and the TV movie Surviving alongside River Phoenix, Molly Ringwald and Ellen Burstyn.

In 1988 during the filming of Poltergeist III, O'Rourke suddenly fell ill with flu-like symptoms. Shortly after the film wrapped, she was rushed to hospital where she sadly died from an intestinal blockage aged only 12 - too young to even see the films she had appeared in. Her image will forever remain one of the iconic moments in film history.