Anissa Jones (Buffy)

Anissa was on the popular family comedy called Family Affair. Everyone knew her as Buffy and her TV brother (Johnny Whitaker) as Jody. I watched the show in the early seventies. I watched in syndication and I grew up with Buffy and Jody. It seemed unreal in 1976 when I heard on the news that Anissa Jones had died at the age of 18.

At eight years old, Anissa was cast as Buffy on Family Affair, which aired from 1966 until 1971. Just a year before she started on Family Affair, her parents had gone through a terrible divorce with a long and bitter custody battle for her and her little brother. Sadly, her father died shortly after he was awarded custody in 1973.

She did appear in an Elvis movie “The Trouble With Girls” in 1969.  Family Affair was the last thing she did besides a Dick Cavett appearance.

She was known to be a caring person as a kid up until she died. Earl Graham was the janitor on the set of the show Family Affair. When he passed away during the third year of the show, the cast and crew attended his funeral. By the following Monday, everyone was ready to get back to work. To Anissa, it seemed like everyone was acting like Earl had never existed at all. Anissa went to her mother and asked if she could take an ad out in Variety saying good-bye to her good friend. The ad cost Anissa $400.00. Anissa’s Mom said that was one of her proudest moments as a mother

She was up for the Regan MacNeilpart in The Exorcist but the director was fearful that people would think “Buffy” had been possessed. Her friends and family said she was relieved when she was turned down because she wanted to be with her friends in school. She was also invited to try out for “Easy” Steensma in Taxi Driver but turned it down. She was very intelligent but fell into the wrong crowd.

In 1975 she started to skip school and take drugs and ended up in a juvenile hall for a bit. She eventually dropped out of high school working at restaurants until she was 18 in 1976 and she gained control of 180,000 dollars she got from Family Affair. She fell into the drug culture

On August 28, 1976, Anissa died of a drug overdose. It was ruled an accidental with cocaine, PCP, Seconal, and Quaaludes found in her system. She was at a party with friends. The coroner would call it one of the most massive overdoses he’d ever seen.


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Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Anissa Jones (Buffy)”

  1. I had read somewhere where she was offered the role in Taxi Driver which went to Jodi Foster- but honestly I think offered to try out for the role seems more accurate.. Jodie Foster made the perfect Iris. i bet John W Hinckley agrees/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m laughing over the Hinckley remark. That made my day. Hans…your dark sense of humor never fails! I read different accounts on the Exorcist and Taxi Driver parts…some are the opposite…

      To be truthful I wish she would have gotten a role somewhere. Either one of those would have changed her typecast drastically and things may have been different. I read alot of first hand accounts of her…she was a huge reader and a very intelligent woman…just followed the wrong people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe if someone had put some restraints on all of that cash she was suddenly able to have, she’d still be alive today. What a terrible tragedy for who I still think of as that adorable little Buffy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know. She has interested me for years. I’ve read around every forum about her for hours. Her mom wasn’t the best person in the world and she used her as a meal ticket for the longest…it was a messed up situation.
        The first thing she did with the money is to get her brother a nice car…she bought her self a Pinto I beleive.
        Anyway it was a shame. You are right it could have helped.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was wondering the same thing. My sister then told me a few years ago when I was five or six years old I talked about Buffy all of the time. I have no memory of it at all.
        I have no clue to this day. Something about the unfairness of it all… but of course it happens every day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. wow that’s sad. I didn’t know any of that. Think I watched ‘Family Affair’ as a child but I don’t really remember it or the characters. Seems like if you’re a parent, putting your kid into acting is a huge crapshoot which goes wrong an awful lot.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not exactly children but still youthful, I find it kind of funny in an ironic sense that the two gals on ‘Modern family’ are such opposites of their characters according to the tabloids at least. Alex, (Ariel Winter) is the dull bookworm on the show but from all accounts a wild, umm, trainwreck in real life,while Hayley (Sarah Hyland) is the flaky, sexy one on the show but the conservative, homebody type in life. Hard to know, just like it’s hard to know how those famous kids will be

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reminding me about that post! You inspired me to finish it after hearing that song.
      That was great of her doing that for the janitor…
      Such a shame… she seemed like a great human being.
      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I need to fix that! Now it’s fixed….thank you….180,000
      Yes it is sad…if she would have gotten one of those roles that may have changed the outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know you are right. It was a very popular show.
        I don’t know why but her case always interested me since way back.


      2. She was a bit older BUT…yes by the time syndication came we were the same age on the show when I saw her.
        Have a good one!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve spent hours reading about what lead up to that last day. It makes me angry also…I didn’t write it…but her brother and her were really close…he died a few years later of a drug overdose…he never got over this.


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