West Lafayette, Indiana
Place of Death
Cause of Death
Massive Drug Overdose
Claim to Fame
Buffy on Family Affair
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Mary Anissa Jones (March 11, 1958 – August 28, 1976) was an American child actress most widely known for playing "Buffy" on the CBS sitcom Family Affair. She died of a drug overdose at the age of 18. Mary Anissa Jones was born in West Lafayette, Indiana. Jones` maternal grandparents were Lebanese. Her middle name means little friend in Arabic (rhyming with Lisa, rather than Melissa). Her parents were students at Purdue University at the time of her birth and they soon moved to Playa Del Rey, California. When she was two years old her mother enrolled Jones in dance classes. In 1964 when she was six Anissa`s mother took her to an open audition for a breakfast cereal commercial which became her first television appearance.
Family Affair was a grueling, full-time, year-round job for Jones. She was often either shooting or promoting the show in public seven days a week. Through the first three seasons up to 30 episodes were broadcast, unlike later American television series with fewer than 25 episodes each year which allows more breaks in filming, along with fewer promotional appearances for the actors. Jones believed she had been typecast. She enrolled in Westchester High School and went back to a life outside the entertainment industry. Jones` parents had gone through a bitter divorce in 1965 and carried on a long feud over custody of Anissa and her younger brother Paul. In 1973 custody was awarded to their father but he died of heart disease shortly thereafter. When her brother went to live with their mother, Jones moved in with a friend and began skipping school. Her mother reported Jones to the police as a runaway. She was sent to juvenile hall and spent many months in state custody, after which she was allowed to live with her mother. However, Jones began shoplifting and taking drugs. In 1975 she dropped out of high school altogether and briefly worked at a Playa Del Rey doughnut shop. On her 18th birthday in March 1976 Jones gained control of saved earnings from her work in Family Affair, about USD180,000 (roughly equal to $700,000 in 2009) which was being held in a trust fund and U.S. Savings Bonds. Jones and her brother Paul then rented an apartment together not far from their mother. Five and a half months later, in the early morning hours of August 28, 1976 after partying all night in the beach town of Oceanside, California with her new boyfriend Allan (Butch) Koven and others, Jones was found dead in the bedroom of a house belonging to a 14 year old friend named Helen Hennessey. The coroner`s report listed her death as an accidental drug overdose. Cocaine, PCP, Quaaludes and Seconal were found in her body during an autopsy. The coroner who examined Jones reported she had died from one of the most severe drug overdoses he had ever seen. Jones had no funeral and was cremated. Her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean on September 1, 1976. She left $63,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in savings bonds when she died. In 1984 her brother John Paul Jones Jr. also died of a drug overdose.
Couple Profile Source
Westchester High School (1973-1976)
Full Name at Birth
Mary Anissa Jones
Mary Anissa Jones (; March 11, 1958 – August 28, 1976) was an American child actress known for her role as Buffy on the CBS sitcom Family Affair. She died from combined drug intoxication at the age of 18.
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