Poltergeist, about a family who discovers their home is haunted by angry ghosts, was a hit in 1982 and spawned two sequels. Sadly, a number of cast members — including two very young ones — died during the period this trilogy was made.
Just five months after the release of the first film, 22-year-old Dominique Dunne, who played the family’s teenage daughter, was tragically murdered by an abusive boyfriend.
Then, only a few months after the release of Poltergeist II, 60-year-old Julian Beck, who played Kane in the film, died. His co-star in the film, Will Sampson, 53, died less than 18 months later.
Finally, after filming was completed on Poltergeist III, 12-year-old Heather O’Rourke, who played the family’s youngest daughter, Carol Anne, unexpectedly died of cardiac arrest caused by a bowel defect.
Because of these high-profile deaths, and the films’ focus on supernatural entities who mean to do harm to the living, the idea the production was cursed spread far and wide in the ‘80s, often with embellishments. For example, as Snopes points out, one version of the rumor claimed that Oliver Robbins, who played the family’s other child, also died. He, however, is still alive and working in the business.