Heather Michele O'Rourke (December 27, 1975 – February 1, 1988) was an American child actress. She made her debut after being discovered by director Steven Spielberg while visiting MGM studios. Spielberg promptly cast her in the horror film Poltergeist (1982) as Carol Anne Freeling, and O'Rourke earned recognition for her performance. She then reprised the role in the second and third installments. O'Rourke was also recognized for her work in television, and appeared in recurring roles on Happy Days from 1982 to 1983, on Webster in 1983, as well as appearing in the television-film Surviving in 1985. Throughout her career, O'Rourke had been nominated for six Young Artist Awards, winning one for her role in Webster, and appeared in a total of three films (all of which are from the Poltergeist franchise) and twelve television series, before her death at the age of 12 from cardiac arrest and septic shock caused by an intestinal stenosis.
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