Documentary About the Life & Tragic Death of ‘Poltergeist’ Star Heather O’Rourke is Coming

Poltergeist Heather O'Rourke, 1982
MGM/Everett Collection

Heather O’Rourke, a child star best known for the horror movie Poltergeist (and that spooky line “They’re heeere!”) whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 12, will be the focus of a new upcoming documentary. Titled Heather O’Rourke: She Was Here, it will feature interviews with her Poltergeist co-stars Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, plus some of her family members. The film will lead the slate at the Cannes Film Market, and, hopefully, will be available for everyone to watch this year.

Director Nick Bailey hopes to squash rumors about her and showcase never-before-seen photos and home videos. O’Rourke was first noticed by Steven Spielberg when she was just five years old. He saw her eating lunch with her mother at the MGM commissary, while her older sister Tammy was shooting the film Pennies from Heaven. He offered her the role in Poltergeist and she reprised the role in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Poltergeist III (1988).

Poltergeist Heather O'Rourke, 1982

Everett Collection

She also found some success in television, appearing in Fantasy Island, Happy Days, Webster and CHiPs. O’Rourke was certainly destined for greatness and was nominated for six Young Artist Awards during her short life. However, in 1987, she contracted giardiasis and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. She was receiving treatment while she filmed the third Poltergeist film. Sadly, she eventually suffered from two cardiac arrests and died on February 1, 1988. Her cause of death was later determined as congenital stenosis of the intestine complicated by septic shock.

Happy Days Heather O'Rourke, (Season 10), 1974-84

Paramount/Everett Collection

Stay tuned to find out when you can watch the documentary.

HALLOWEEN Collector's Issue
Want More?

HALLOWEEN Collector's Issue

October 2021

This super-sized issue looks at the horror franchise that started them all, HALLOWEEN

Buy This Issue