Anissa Jones was a popular child actress who starred as Buffy Davis on the CBS sitcom Family Affair from 1966 to 1971. She charmed millions of viewers with her blond pigtails, her doll Mrs. Beasley, and her sweet personality.
But behind the scenes, Jones faced a troubled family life, a bitter custody battle, and a struggle to find new roles after the show’s cancellation. Her life ended abruptly at the age of 18 when she died of a drug overdose in 1976. This article will explore the circumstances and causes of her death, as well as the legacy she left behind.
What Was Anissa Jones Cause of Death?
On August 28, 1976, Anissa Jones went to a party in Oceanside, California, with her new boyfriend Allan “Butch” Koven, and some other friends. They spent the night at a house belonging to the father of a 14-year-old girl named Helen Hennessy. The next morning, Jones was found dead in an upstairs bedroom.
The coroner’s report revealed that she had died of combined drug intoxication from cocaine, PCP (angel dust), Quaaludes (methaqualone), and Seconal (secobarbital). She had ingested enough drugs to kill ten people. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California. Her grave marker reads: “Our Beloved Buffy”.
Anissa Jones was loved by many for her role on #FamilyAffair, but it was really sad when she passed away at just 18 years old:
— REELZ (@ReelzChannel) July 18, 2017
What Led to Anissa Jones’ Drug Abuse?
Anissa Jones had a difficult childhood and adolescence that may have contributed to her drug abuse. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was caught in the middle of a bitter custody dispute. Her father accused her mother of neglecting and exploiting her, while her mother claimed her father was abusive and unstable.
Jones was eventually awarded to her mother, who moved with her and her brother to West Hollywood. Jones also faced challenges in her career after Family Affair ended in 1971. She felt typecast as the innocent and adorable Buffy and had trouble finding new roles that suited her age and interests. She auditioned for several movies but was rejected for being too short or too old-fashioned.
She also resented the fame and attention that came with being a child star and wanted to live a normal life. She enrolled in a public high school, where she joined the cheerleading squad and dated boys. But she also started experimenting with drugs and alcohol and got involved with shoplifting and vandalism.
Jones’ drug use escalated in the months before her death. She became addicted to cocaine and Quaaludes and spent most of her time with Koven and his friends, who were also heavy drug users. She dropped out of school and ran away from home several times. She also became estranged from her former co-stars and friends from Family Affair, who tried to help her but were unable to reach her.
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How Did Anissa Jones’ Death Affect Her Family and Fans?
Anissa Jones’ death shocked and saddened her family and fans. Her mother was devastated by the loss of her daughter and blamed herself for not being able to save her. Her brother Paul was also grief-stricken and later struggled with his own drug problems. He died of a drug overdose in 1984, at the age of 24. Jones’ fans were also heartbroken by the news of her death.
Many of them had grown up watching her on Family Affair and felt a connection with her character Buffy. They mourned the loss of a talented and beautiful young actress who had so much potential. They also felt betrayed by the contrast between her wholesome image on TV and her troubled reality off-screen.
How Did Anissa Jones Become Famous?
In 1966, when she was eight years old, Anissa Jones was cast as Ava Elizabeth “Buffy” Patterson-Davis on the CBS sitcom Family Affair. The show was about three orphaned children who move in with their wealthy uncle and his butler after their parents die in a car accident. Anissa Jones played the youngest child, Buffy, who carried a doll named Mrs. Beasley that became a popular toy among fans.
She co-starred with Johnny Whitaker as her twin brother Jody, Kathy Garver as her older sister Cissy, Brian Keith as her Uncle Bill, and Sebastian Cabot as his butler Mr. French. The show was a hit and ran for five seasons until 1971.
What Happened to Anissa Jones After Family Affair?
After Family Affair ended, Anissa Jones tried to pursue other acting opportunities, but she felt typecast by her role as Buffy. She only made one film appearance in The Trouble with Girls (1969), which starred Elvis Presley. She also faced some personal problems, such as a custody battle between her parents, a shoplifting arrest, and drug use.
She enrolled in Westchester High School in Los Angeles, where she joined the cheerleading squad and the drama club. She also dated several boys and experimented with different drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
What is the Legacy of Anissa Jones?
Despite her tragic death, Anissa Jones left behind a legacy that lives on through her work and memory. Her performance as Buffy Davis on Family Affair is widely regarded as one of the best by a child actor on television. She brought warmth, humor, and charm to the role, and made Buffy a beloved character for generations of viewers. She also inspired many young girls to emulate her style and personality.
Jones’ life story also serves as a cautionary tale for child stars and their parents. Her death exposed the dark side of fame and fortune for young actors, who often face pressure, exploitation, and isolation in the entertainment industry. Her death also raised awareness about the dangers of drug abuse among teenagers, especially those who are vulnerable or unhappy.
Jones’ memory is honored by many fans who still cherish her work and celebrate her birthday every year. She is also remembered by her former co-stars and friends from Family Affair, who have shared their fond memories of working with her in interviews and documentaries. They have also paid tribute to her by naming their children or pets after her.
Anissa Jones was a talented actress who touched many lives with her smile and spirit. She died too soon, but she left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.