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Crime History: 'Poltergeist' actress strangled by ex-boyfriend

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Oct. 30, in 1982, actress Dominique Dunne, daughter of celebrity crime writer Dominick Dunne, was strangled by her ex-boyfriend.

Dominique, 22, was best-known for her role as the oldest daughter, Dana, in the 1982 Academy Award nominated horror film "Poltergeist."

But the relationship between Dunne and her boyfriend, Los Angeles chef John Thomas Sweeney, was stormy. Sweeney was so abusive that Dunne needed little makeup when she played a battered woman on television's "Hill Street Blues."

Sweeney choked her during an argument in her driveway. She fell into a coma and died on Nov. 4. Sweeney was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years.

The "Poltergeist" series is said to be cursed partly because of the unusual deaths of four of the cast members.

- Scott McCabe

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