Poltergeist Actress Dominique Dunne’s Father Stalked Her Killer Until He Died

Actress Dominique Dunne is best remembered for her role in the 1982 film Poltergeist and her murder by former boy friend John Sweeney on November 4th the same year. Dunne did have guest staring roles on several notable series including Lou Grant, CHIPs, Fame and Hill Street Blues.

It was on the on the set of a 1982 Hill Street Blues Episode “Requiem for a handbag” where Dunne played a girl being abused by her mother. Crimefeed.com reported on March 8 2016 that “the make-up department didn’t need to do anything to Dunne’s face to get her ready for the role. Dominique’s boyfriend, John Sweeney had already battered her, leaving her black-and-blue.”

Her brother Griffin Dunne is to this day is still acting. Some of his 80’s credits were SNL, After Hours and An American Werewolf In Paris.

A 2015 Snopes.com post, reports that Dominique “died on 4 November at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angelis.” It was four days before that Dunne had been strangled by Sweeney outside of her home for between four to six minutes until she was in a coma. When the Police arrived, Sweeney said “I killed my girlfriend and I tried to kill myself.” Dunne was 22.

On September 23, 1983, John Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and misdemeanor assault. He was sentenced to 6 and a half years of which he served only 3 before being released. During the trial Dominique’s father, Dominick Dunne kept a journal that he wrote in every day of the trial. His journal entries were released as an article in Vanity Fair in 1984.

After Johns release from prison, Dominique’s mother and brother reportedly handed out flyers outside of The Chronicle, a restaurant in Santa Monica that had hired Sweeney. The flyers said “The food you will eat tonight was made by the hands that killed Dominique Dunne”. Due to the protests, Sweeney eventually left the job, moved and changed his name to John Maura.

On January 20, 2015, SAG member Richard white commented to Quora.com that John Sweeney “was stalked by Dominique Dunne’s father “from the time of his release in 1986. Dunne tried to get him fired whenever he got a job, including picketing any business that hired him and hired private detectives to follow him 24/7.” White, went on to say “The stalking and harassment ended shortly before Dominick Dunne died in 2009.”

I realise that being a SAG member doesn’t give him any credibility or insight necessarily, but I was struck by the tone of his comment. He cast Sweeney in the role of victim by saying that Dunne’s actions were “stalking”. Since Sweeney had served his sentence and been released, was Dominick’s actions harassment? I don’t believe so, I think Sweeney’s actions require him to take ALL consequences, not just those handed down by the justice system but I suppose a case could be made on the other side.

I wonder if there is anyone left keeping track of John Sweeney/John Maura now that Dominick has passed away, never having gotten justice for the murder of his daughter. I wonder what restaurant John Sweeney?/Maura works for today? Mabey the meal someone ate tonight was prepared by the hands that killed Dominique Dunne.

2 thoughts on “Poltergeist Actress Dominique Dunne’s Father Stalked Her Killer Until He Died

  1. The heartbreak, the soul lacerating despondency and grief from the death of his child can only be imagined from afar. I applaud the actions of Mr. Dunne. I admire his persistence, his consistency. I bet Sweeney must have wished he had been given a decent jail sentence.


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