March 11, 1958 – August 28, 1976
Dead child stars are always a fascination. Probably because we grew up with these people. Anissa Jones was one of the first to go down, and with the help of Brian Keith O’Hara and Celebrity Collectables, we’ve managed to put together a decent summary of Buffy’s demise.
First Brian clarifies, “Just so you know, friends and family referred to her as “AnEEsa” – not AnIssa, and certainly not “Buffy.” I’m shocked how often people in the industry called her BUFFY in the E! special.”
Here’s the scoop:
Mary Anissa Jones was from Playa Del Rey, CA, and was a regular on the hit television show Family Affair during its entire run from 1966 to 1971. She played orphaned twin Buffy and Johnnie Whitaker played her brother Jody. Mrs. Beasley was an old-lady doll (weird) of Buffy’s that became a pop-culture icon.
Anissa was 13 when the show was cancelled, and decided she wanted out of the show business. She wanted to be more like “normal” kids. Her turbulent-at best-relationship with her stage mother and divorced father made her life anything but normal. It was extremely complicated. She lived a life more screwed-up than a lot of screwed-up adults I know.
Her mother lived at 100 Rees Street, in Playa Del Rey. I took these photographs about 6 years apart, the latest being March 2015.
Anissa had written her name in cement on the side of the house. I had heard that the cement was gone with the renovation. I’m thrilled to say it’s still there in March 2015.
Anissa attended Westchester High School.
She was on the outs with her mother (typically), and she and her brother Paul moved in with her father in this apartment.
Her father died, Paul moved back in with mom and Annisa moved in with a friend. Her mom freaked and reported her as runaway, Anissa was arrested and put in juvenile detention for a few months. I think this is where she learned that the world could shit on you from great heights.
She was released from prison in 1975, and had little of her money left since her mother controlled it. As I understand it, her mother unable to make a career for herself, so her life became managing her daughter. The cost of living on the beach was hugely expensive,
Anissa swallowed her pride, and took up a job at the Yum Yum Donut Shop, on Manchester Blvd.
On her 18th birthday, she received her $70,000 trust fund from her Family Affair earnings, so she and her brother got an apartment together. She started seeing a guy named Allan Kovan. He was way into heavy drugs and Anissa and her brother Paul got way into heavy drugs themselves.
On August 28th, 1976, Anissa was staying with her friend Helen at 2312 Littler Lane, in Oceanside, California.
Here’s another view of the house.
Much thanks to Ann Parisi (my hero) for getting those pictures.
At 12:29 in the afternoon, someone named Hennessy phoned for an ambulance at the above address, stating there was a possible drug overdose victim. Anissa was discovered by paramedics wearing only white boxers laying on a waterbed in an upstairs bedroom. She was covered with a blanket. There were no vital signs. She was removed from the bed to the floor where CPR was performed to no avail.
The autopsy report reads like a soap opera. There were many youths involved at the house, getting high, coming and going from what turned out to be the Hennessy residence. When Anissa’s body was found, someone ran screaming to a nearby restaurant to get one of the others who left earlier… fascinating document available here.
Anissa downed a mixture of drugs including Barbiturates, Phencyclidine and Cocaine. Obviously she had friends in high places. Shortly thereafter, she “rolled stone-dead onto the floor beside her bed.” Her boyfriend says in the E! thing, that he checked on her in the morning, and she seemed fine. An hour later, others checked and found her dead. Boyfriend freaked, put some clothes on her, and called the paramedics. It was too late. The coroner supposedly said that he had never seen an overdose so massive.
It is said that this photograph was taken the day before she died.
and the addendum
There was no funeral. According to my pal Kim, she was taken to Eternal Hills Memorial Park, in Oceanside, and cremated. They scattered her ashes at sea, near her home.
Her Family Affair co-stars Johnny Whitaker and Kathy Garver discuss Anissa.
Her brother Paul wrote this memorial in concrete, in front of the garage.
Interestingly, the dates are wrong. Even more tragically, Paul died of an overdose 8 years later.
Trivia: Anissa, along with Jimmy Durante, presented the Monkees with an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 1967. Although I love Jimmy Durante, the sight of him rubbing his bulbous nose against Anissa’s cherubic face, made me extremely uncomfortable.
Someone sent me this a gajillion years ago, now I can finally delete it from my hard drive.
Even more: Johnny Whitaker, the actor that played her twin brother Jody, was actually 2 years younger than Anissa.
Though I cannot be sure, I like to think that this was her mailbox at the time.
Because this one certainly wasn’t.
Brian Keith, Uncle Bill, committed suicide.
38 thoughts on “Anissa Jones”
Has anyone noticed this
Did her or her brother ever have a chance at life given their parents?
When I was 13 I fell into a bad, bad crowd of kids who were 3-4 years older than me. They introduced me to booze and weed and I liked it, not loved but liked it. About a later they started with pills and mushrooms and I was so terified I quit them. I noticed that they kids whose drug use escalated were from these crazy families! I didn’t know her but I knew my friends’ families and they should never had pets much less children! I feel badly for her…
What a great show family affair was. It came along in 1967 with other sitcoms such as the flying nun and the mothers-in-law. Definitely was different from the usual nuclear family sitcoms of the era. Two little kids living with their uncle and a stuffy gentleman’s gentleman and then sissy came along to add to the fun. I think when Sissy walked into the apartment the first time she had the sergeant pepper album under one arm and Jimi Hendrix experience album under the other arm. Lol!
Check our first season and last season
She was 13 and they were taping her chest down
I don’t remember the show in syndication fir years now it is
Also on the show Erin Moran jonie happy days
I noticed a picture of Anissa Jones is missing. I remember once reading of her death here and there was a pic of her kneeling on a couch, wearing what appeared to be a white sundress. It was obviously one of her prior to her death for she was only 18. I was only a child when the sitcom aired but from that previous pic, she was a very beautiful young lady.
Butch Koven & his group of trashy slots Murdered Anissa that night & this should be reopened as only a few of us that were there are still alive! BUTCH KOVEN IS A COLD BLOODED KILLER.
The donut shop was called Winchell’s, when Anissa worked there. The Winchell’s chain still exists, but obviously, not at that location any longer.
Oh, and the person I feel most sorry for, in all of this, is her mother. She lost her husband and her children, all in a relatively short stretch of time. The children never had children of their own, so that entire branch of their family has gone extinct.
She hated her ex husband called him gay
Yep, growing up there, I had remembered it as Winchell’s.
There’s supposed to be Winchell still in Los Angeles hollywood
‘Shortly thereafter, she “rolled stone-dead onto the floor beside her bed.” ‘ So how did she get back to bed where the paramedics found her? “Boyfriend freaked, put some clothes on her, and called the paramedics.” Yet, “Anissa was discovered by paramedics wearing only white boxers…” More consistent inconsistencies.
Jones was given a small, private service.She was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean and six days after her death Dr. Don Carlos Moshos was arrested and charged with illegally prescribing Seconal to Jones
My husband knew the family and Paul was one of his best friends. I met Paul in 1979 from my husband and stayed at his house and his sister Anissa ran in some of the same circles I did but never met her. (I was older). It was strange to to see programs about them on the tv. Paul was haunted by her death, he never got over it. We were beside ourselves when he died too. Such a tragic story. Paul was funny and kind. It was typical for us to meet many child stars at parties and the beaches (hung out with Maureen McCormick for a short time) around Santa Monica, Venice and Del Rey. We called Westchester “Deadchester” in the 70s. The parties were not as fun as the other places we hung out at. My husband still gets upset of how the Anissa thing was handled that night. He knew the people involved. Says they were stupid and ignored her distress and were a party to her death.
i remember Mad Magazine hilarious parody of the family affair, Uncle Bilge, Mr. Stench, Boffy and Jokey lmaooooooooo
I remember that parody: Mr Stench opened his shirt to reveal that his neckbeard went all the way down his chest. I think ‘Jokey’ exclaimed: “Ooh! Didn’t I see you in ‘Planet of the Apes’?”
here are a few Autopsy shows i think you might like: https://www.amazon.com/Autopsy-The-Last-Hours-of/dp/B076JJS66L
It has to be tough to go from being a star to just plain and ordinary person. To some degree I blame her parents because they could have made sure she stayed grounded all during the show years. But they themselves look like they had problems so that avenue of support went out the door. Maybe if her brother Paul had been stronger he could have been a source of strength and comfort.
I applaud the work of Paul Petersen. He played “Jeff Stone” on the Donna Reed Show. He started a child advocacy program called “A Minor Consideration”. It is a support group for child actors and former child actors. I think things are in place today that would prevent some of the mental abuses Anissa had to endure. The bottom line is that there have been many former actors whether child or Adults who figured life out and have live productive Adult lives. It was a tragedy what happened to her but it serves as a warning that we all have choices in life and we must be smart in those choices!
Paul was a very kind and loving brother to her. He was one of my husband’s best friends. The mom was a head case (a woman who was very free if you get my drift) and in those days they didn’t have good treatment for or even really acknowledge it. The parents were too engrossed in their own problems. It was a time of experimentation. They (Paul and his sis) did their best together but the surrounding circumstances weren’t in their favor and the times either. We all partied hard back then, it was part of the culture unfortunately and many of our friends didn’t fare well. The rest of us were fortunate to make it past all of it.
After a while annissa hated it then when it canceled she was glad!!!
Also mom talked shit about the father
Excellent research. I really hope her name is still in the concrete. I’ll check it out soon.
Did you get a chance to look yet? I’m curious 🙂
I can’t believe you used the sh-word in this article! How crude and offensive! Here I am reading, eager to learn about this young lady, and then you blurt out the sh-word like it’s nothing! And what gets me is that I have ranted against this kind of language for 20 years online, typing my fingers to the bone! Haven’t you read a thing I have written? It just astounds me that people can talk like that! I never use that language!
Sure is shitty, ain’t it?
what the hell is the sh-word?
Grow up, Janet. You sound like a prude.
Are you for real? I can’t determine whether this is a joke or not.
Well, that’s really part of who Scott Michaels is. He has no class, he’s vulgar and has a very low IQ.
So Jannie Baby….who appointed you and your creaky, smug, bony-tips the morality maven of virtue?
Didn’t you play the role of Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety?
KooKoo@You, Mrs Robinson….now get back to the Jupiter 2 and get dinner ready before the boys get back from the drillsite
Oops ready-shoot-aim has reared it’s bobbly head on me again…
Sorry Mrs Robinson…(you didn’t mean to seduce me)
I was aiming @ Turbo-tips Thompson and let silliness get in the way of a pithy remark. My bad…here, have some Gloog.
And the producers had her do almost an entire season with a broken leg and crutches. At least Kaley Cuoco got two episodes off and was then only filmed from the waist up after she broke hers.
She Anissa is greatly missed I have a half sister in oceanside 16 minutes away from where Anissa died so sad.peace
One day Back in the summer of 1971, I was 12 years old and me and a friend were hanging out at our Mall in Louisville KY when Anissa happened to be making a public appearance. A pretty large crowd was gathering in the atrium around a stage when the Family Affair music started and Anissa and an old guy in a suit came floating down the escalator. They sat her up on the stage on a high chair. It seemed like something out of a freak show. Basically they just paraded her around as this child star. She must have been at least 13 and they had her in pig tails carrying that stupid doll. The poor thing seemed miserable. She did a Q and A with the crowd but was visibly pissed at her handler. He seemed embarrassed by her (what I thought at the time was bratty), responses to his goading. Even at that young age I felt sorry for her.
Hello John! I too am from Louisville and I’m trying to think of what Mall you would
have been at. I know the Jeff. Mall wasn’t built yet.. maybe Bashford or St. Matthews or Oxmore? At any rate, good to see a fellow Louisvillian on here. Small world!
It was Oxmoor Mall.