Discovered at age 5 by Steven Spielberg while she was eating lunch with her mother and agent at the MGM commissary; she initially rebuffed Spielberg's introduction by telling him she didn't talk to strangers.
Won the role of Carol Anne in Poltergeist (1982) after a second audition where she demonstrated how well she could shriek.
Appeared in commercials for Rainbow Brite and McDonald's.
Was elected 5th grade class president at Big Bear Elementary School.
Died at Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego of heart failure and septic shock during emergency surgery to treat an undiagnosed bowel obstruction.
Her mother sued Kaiser Permanente Hospital for medical misdiagnosis and was awarded an undisclosed sum after arbitration.
Buried in the same cemetery as her Poltergeist co-star Dominique Dunn