Heather O'Rourke

  • Birth Name: Heather Michele O'Rourke
  • Birth Place: San Diego, California, United States
  • Died: February 1, 1988
  • Profession: Actor

Fast Facts

  • 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


  • Michael O'Rourke — Father
  • Kathleen O'Rourke Peele — Mother
  • Tammy O'Rourke — Sister
  • Jim Peele — Stepfather