Famous Celebrities Who Died In Their Teens

Once, the most famous character named Buffy on TV was the one played by Anissa Jones on “Family Affair.” Despite being just 8 years old at the time, a 1966 review in the Independent Star-News (via Closer) praised her performance, saying “She has an uncanny ability to convey, on screen, a child’s feelings of rejection, sadness, fun, pride, stubbornness, and wish to be loved, sometimes all in one episode.”

But despite being great at her job, the young girl wasn’t sure she liked it all that much. In 1970, the San Bernardino County Sun flat-out said Jones was being exploited, and during a public appearance reported “She doesn’t know, she said seriously, if she wants to stay in show business and confident that she hopes to ‘retire when I’m 14,’ which prompted a man in the crowd to say, ‘Over her mother’s dead body.'” So it seemed to be an open secret that it wasn’t her choice to give up her childhood to work.

After “Family Affair” ended in 1971, Jones lost out on roles in “The Exorcist” and “Taxi Driver.” Her life fell apart, filled with “petty shoplifting, taking jobs and then quitting them, bad sleeping patterns, bad eating patterns, incredible mood swings.” Tragically, five years later she died of an overdose, with “cocaine, PCP, Quaalude, and Seconal” in her system. By then she seems to have really regretted her famous role, with a family friend writing, “It would have driven her crazy that people remember her as the star of ‘Family Affair,’ because she never saw herself that way.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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