Anissa Jones – Childhood, Life Achievements & Cause of Death

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Anissa Jones was a child actress who had a rather short taste of life. Tragically, the talented actress kicked the bucket at the young age of 18 as a result of multiple drug intoxication. She is most famous for her role in the 1960 series, Family Affair as Buffy. Jones started appearing on television at the tender age of six and went into full time acting by the time she was eight years old.

The CBS TV series Family Affair was a family comedy sitcom that was very popular and successful in the 1960s through 1971 when it came to an abrupt end. It ranked no 1 in movie ratings at that time and its popularity made the characters Buffy Davis and her brother, Jody Davis, household names in the US.

Anissa Jones Biography

Anissa Mary Jones was born in the city of Lafayette in Indiana, U.S.A. She was born to Mary Paula and Late John Paul on the 11th of March, 1958. She had a younger brother whom she cherished so much named John Paul Jr. At the time of her birth, her father was an engineer, while her mother was a zoology student. Soon after her brother’s birth, the family moved to Playa Del Rey Los Angeles, California. Her parents got divorced later on and lived separately.

For her education, she attended the Paseo del Rey Elementary School as a child, then Orville Wright Junior High School afterward. Most of Anissa’s early life was spent filming and she was said to also study at work. Buffy as she is popularly known as also went to the Westchester High School. Despite all these, Anissa made time for her younger brother.

Childhood and Life Achievements

Anissa had an interesting and laborious childhood. On one side, it could have been other children’s dream but on the other side, it was a nightmare. At the age of 2, Jones was enrolled for dance lessons and by age 6, she began featuring in commercials for breakfast cereals.

She soon caught the attention of the producers of the TV sitcom titled Family Affair and she was cast to play the role of Ava Elizabeth ‘Buffy’ Patterson-Davis. The sitcom was a comedy series that was loved by many Americans. It brought the child actress to limelight instantly. She took photographs, appeared in shows like The Mike Douglas Show, The Dick Cavett Show, among others to promote the series. She also went on promotional trips and was marketed all over the world.

Buffy’s image was used for several promotional purposes. Her face appeared on everything kids related – from cookbooks, lunch boxes, clothing lines, to coloring books and the likes. Her doll named Mrs. Beasley was marketed by Mattel and became the best selling doll in the US, Canada, Cuba, Costa Rica, and other North American countries.

The series ended in 1971 after five seasons due to the CBS rural purge that likely caused the falling in ratings. Although Anissa Jones, who was 13 at that time seemed to have blended into celebrity life perfectly, she was relieved that the series was over and she could have a normal life. Attempts to land roles in film project failed as directors thought her “Buffy” character was still attached to her persona.

Anissa started having problems at home after she left the series. Since she lived with her father after his divorce with her mother, his death from heart disease was tragic news for the young actress. Her relationship with her mum deteriorated further when instead of going to live with her, Jones chose to live in her friend’s place. Soon her grades in school dropped and her infuriated mother reported her as a runaway to the authorities, leading to Anissa being detained in juvenile.

When she got out, Anissa Jones took the path of alcohol and drugs which would later lead to her demise. Her newfound habits pushed her mum to kicked her out of her house. To make ends meet, she began working at a donut shop while waiting to clock 18 years so she would be eligible to receive her earnings and savings bond from her childhood film roles.

When she turned 18 in March 1976, she received over $180,000. She used the money to rent an apartment for both her and her brother and bought a car for herself and a more expensive one for her brother. Now she had money, her partying, drinking and drug use only got worse.

Cause Death

Anissa had a bright future if only she could have let go of the distractions and focussed on what was important. Her lifestyle of drugs, parties, and alcohol cost her her life. On August 28, 1976, exactly five months after she turned eighteen, Anissa Jones was declared dead from combined drug intoxication.


She died while partying at a beach house in California belonging to the father of her friend, Helen Hennessey. An autopsy conducted on her corpse showed trails of cocaine, PCP (angel dust), Quaalude, and Seconal in her blood. It was also concluded that it was not a case of suicide but that of a drug overdose.

She was found in one of the rooms, naked and unconscious. Before the paramedics could arrive at the scene, she was already dead. Sadly years after her death (in 1984), her brother, Paul died of the same cause – drug overdose.

Also Read: Top 10 Richest People in the world with full biography and details.