When news breaks that a celebrity dies, the grief spreads not only to families and friends but also to fans worldwide.

For many fans, the death of their favorite star always brings devastating sadness, even if they never knew the deceased in person.

Celebrities like actors, musicians, athletes, authors, politicians, social activists, and TV stars have the power to leave some lasting impressions on people.

What they do affect many lives; for example, when Michael Jackson passed away, everybody suddenly remembered all of his songs, dance moves, and inevitably all of his bizarreness.

Some brought back many good memories; others are not so much. The grief intensifies if the death is a murder case.

Hollywood has witnessed plenty of actors, young and old, losing their lives for all the wrong reasons; alcohol, drugs, anger, jealousy, poor management, and deceptions.

You name it, Hollywood has it. The murder of Poltergeist actress Dominique Dunne probably was one of the exceptional cases in the history of Hollywood because of its brutality and how bad the case was subsequently handled.


10 /10 Abusive Boyfriend

The story of the death of Dominique Dunne started with her romance with John Thomas Sweeney, a young cooking hand in Los Angeles. The two met at a party in 1981 and almost immediately fell for each other.

During their first few encounters, Dominique overlooks John’s bad temper. It didn’t take long until the boyfriend became unbearably controlling and unable to contain his impulse for violence.

For more than a few times, John was physically abusive, but for some reason, Dominique put up with him and all his outbursts. Then suddenly it was too late to run.


9 /10 He Killed His Girlfriend

The realization of the mistake came suddenly, giving her no chance of escaping John’s brutality.

On an evening in late October 1982 at her home in West Hollywood, Dominique rehearsed for her scene in the miniseries “V” with actor David Packer. At about 8:30 pm, John called Dominique, and ten minutes later, he was at the door.

David quietly left through the back door when the two began to argue.

Before David went to the property, he saw John strangling Dominique in the bushes. When the police arrived, John admitted to having killed his girlfriend.


8 /10 A Child Of California's Aristocracy

Even before she was born, Dominique Dunne seemed destined to be a megastar.

She was the daughter of a movie producer Dominick Dunne; the sister of actor and producer, Griffin Dunne; and the niece of writer couple John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion.

She was a respectable member of California’s cultural aristocracy. At age 22, Dominique already had showcased promising performances in dozens of TV shows and 1982’s Poltergeist.

Her boyfriend John Sweeney was a chief assistant to the chef at Ma Mason restaurant, frequented by big Hollywood names.


7 /10 A Striking Couple

Many would consider Dominique and John a striking couple. Both were at the beginning of the path to success in their respective professions.

They were young and talented, with a foreseeable comfortable future. John was powerfully muscled at 6’1″ and nearly 200 pounds, whereas Dominique was a charming petite woman standing at 5’1″ and 112 pounds.

They had many things in common; both liked cooking, animals, studying languages, and all things Europe. Feeling firmly attached, they even lived together in a rented house for a short while.

6 /10 Dominique's Background

Before long, the couple found out how strikingly different they were from each other. Their backgrounds and professions were clashing.

For almost her entire life at that point, Dominique had lived in a family where everyone loved her dearly.

Although at age 11, she dealt with emotional problems following her parents’ divorce, all issues were handled considerately.

Dominique was all around comfortable with how things turned out. Due to her familiarity with the famous and wealthy, all those things never really bothered her too much.

5 /10 John's Upbringing

In contrast, John grew up in the coal town of Hazleton in Pennsylvania. He grew up poor in a troubled family.

His father was a violent alcoholic with an impulse of a savage; this man would beat his wife in full view of their kids without any notion of remorse each time.

John’s mother was a waitress with enough money to keep her children together. When John was 14, his parents also divorced.

Life started to look better after John took culinary art at age 19, then traveled to California with a diploma in hand.

4 /10 Angst And Elation

John spent time at a restaurant named Picolo’s before becoming a chief assistant at Ma Mason. He loved the cooking job as well as the elegance of the place.

Dominique gave him an easy entry to the glamor side of California using her connections and the Dunne name.

It turned out to be a struggle for John because all the sense of worthlessness he had experienced in his earlier days at Hazelton began to resurface.

Between the joy of being with her girlfriend among the celebrities, there was surging angst from the days gone by.

3 /10 Fear To Anger

As his confidence grew smaller in the fear that Dominique would eventually reject him, the love turned into blind jealousy and anger.

John wanted to assert more control of Dominique’s life, demanding her ultimate devotion and obedience.

There was almost no place where Dominique went that John wouldn’t follow, whether acting classes or TV set. He even asked about the conversations she had with her therapist.

Then the idea of Dominique playing a romantic scene with a male actor drove him frantic. Once, John accused Dominique of having an abortion, when in reality, she was never pregnant, to begin with.


2 /10 Anger To Violence

John’s fear was sprinkled with anger, and the offense often escalated to violence. In August 1982, in the middle of a quarrel, John grabbed Dominique and pulled some handfuls of hair by the roots.

Terrified of John’s behaviors, she ran to her mother’s house for safety. Undeterred, John followed Dominique and banged the doors and windows.

After some words with the mother in which she threatened to call the police, John backed down and finally left. Some days later, John and Dominique were seen together again.

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1 /10 Death Of Dominique Dunne

After John strangled Dominique in October 1982, he was taken into custody. Meanwhile, Dominique was put on life support in a nearby hospital.

On November 4, 1982, her family decided to take off the life support when her brain no longer showed any activity; Dominique’s heart stopped instantly.

During the case trial, John was acquitted of second-degree murder and instead found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to six years in prison but released just after three years. 

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