Urban Legends

Cast Deaths From The Poltergeist Films

Urban Legend: The Spielberg film "Poltergeist" was cursed with the deaths of cast members. This isn't really an Urban Legend but it is interesting since it's true. The film "The Exorcist" was also plagued with problems but that's another story.

The Story: An unusual amount of deaths have occurred around the three "Poltergeist" films, including three of the stars. These incidence have given way to rumors that the films were cursed because of their content. This seems a little silly, there are always explanations to "curses" like this. Or are there??

Two of the stars from the first film have died at young ages,   two from the second film at not so young ages.

22-year old Dominique Dunne, who played older daughter Dana Freeling, died on November 4th,1982, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She had been choked into a coma by her boyfriend.

12-year-old Heather O'Rourke died of septic shock on February 1st., 1988, at the Children's Hospital in San Diego, California. What was thought to be the flu turned out to be a bowel obstruction which caused toxins to enter her system.  She died at Children's Hospital while undergoing surgery to remove the obstruction.

60-year-old Julian Beck, who played the evil preacher Kane in the second film, died of stomach cancer on September 14th,1985, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NY. Like Heather O'Rourke, he died during the period between filming and release, but in his case the film in question was Poltergeist II, which was released in May 1986. O'Rourke died before the release of Poltergeist III.

53-year-old Will Sampson, who played Taylor in the second film, died on June 3rd., 1987, in a Houston, Texas hospital after receiving a heart-lung transplant 6 weeks earlier. The cause of his death was attributed to severe pre-operative malnutrition and post-operative kidney failure along with a fungal infection.


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