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I'll get in trouble for this

February 27 2008 at 12:37 AM
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Anonymous  (no login)

Response to Re: The Real one

Here is what you asked for:

<Recognized by most people, as Buffy Davis on Family Affair, she was born Mary Anissa (pronounced uh-NEE-suh) Jones on March 11, 1958, in West Lafayette Indiana, where her parents (John Paul Jones and Mary Paula Tweel,) were students at Purdue University.

In the early '60s, Anissa's family moved first to San Diego and then to Playa Del Rey California. Her father got a job at Hughes Aircraft; her Mom had Anissa taking dance lessons at age four. In 1964, when Anissa was six, her Mother took her on an open audition for a cereal commercial. She got it. In 1966, her Mom was working as a real estate agent and substitute teacher when Anissa caught the attention of producers (the Feddersons) of the new sitcom Family Affair.

She played six-year old Buffy Davis (she was actually eight,) whose parents were supposedly killed in a car crash, so she, her twin brother Jody (played by Johnny Whitaker,) and her older sister Sissy (played by 21 year old UCLA student Kathy Garver,) moved into the New York apartment of Uncle Bill (Brian Keith) and his butler Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot.) The original script called for Jody to be quite a bit older than Buffy, but after seeing the two work together, Brian Keith convinced the producers to make the children twins. Anissa continued to play Buffy for the duration of the series, but the work schedule was brutal for her.
When she broke her leg on a playground in April of 1969, she was considered too important to be sidelined, so the producers had the injury written into the show. It was during treatment for this injury that she was given antidepressants, which caused a bad reaction and almost took her life. Resulting in lasting nerve damage. She worked year-round either on the show or traveling to promote it, often seven days a week. "Family Affair" finally hit #1 in the ratings in June of 1969.

On the set Anissa was always accompanied by her Brother Paul whom she was very close to. It was her policy to not accept gifts unless a similar gift was presented to her Brother Paul. Often when presented with a single gift she would graciously accept it initially and then give it away.

In 1967, she was one of the youngest-ever presenters at the Emmy Awards. She and Jimmy Durante presented The Monkees with their daytime Emmy. She was also important enough to have some lucrative merchandising deals: Buffy paper dolls, Family Affair coloring books and lunch boxes, a Buffy line of children's clothes, a Buffy Beauty Boutique Case in 1970, and a Buffy Cookbook in 1971, with Anissa featured on the cover.

In 1969, she made her movie debut at eleven years of age, alongside Elvis Presley in The Trouble with Girls, while still on Family Affair. In the movie, she sings and dances. Meanwhile, Anissa's home life was not very happy. Her parents went through a bitter divorced which was finalized in May of 1965, and their continuous wrangling over custody of Anissa led to many emotional problems. She lived with her Mom for most of the late '60s, but there was a lot of disagreement between them. The Mother claimed that the Father was gay; the Father claimed the Mother hit Anissa, and eventually Anissa began rebelling against both of them.

Anissa's Father wanted all her earnings from the Television show to be held in trust for her. However since he was paying no child support at all, his appeal was disallowed and only part of her earnings were put in trust along with an investment in Savings Bonds to mature on her 18th birthday (as per California Law.) Her relationship with her Mother was close but volatile, even more so after the acrimonious divorce.

Family Affair lasted for 5 seasons and 138 episodes. During the entire run of the show, Buffy had a constant companion and best friend, Mrs. Beasley, a doll that quickly became a best seller; however eventually Anissa came to hate that doll! When Family Affair started to slump in the ratings in 1971, it was unceremoniously cancelled. Jones was thrilled that it was over because she could return to public school (Orville Wright Junior High School) and her friends and could ditch the Mrs. Beasley doll producers insisted she keep playing with on the show, even though she was thirteen years old.

After the series ended, Anissa quit acting, as she had no desire to continue in the business, although she did audition for the lead part in The Exorcist (as well as other roles) as a condition of her collecting unemployment benefits. She lost the part to Linda Blair, even though that part was originally offered to Dana Plato.

Anissa lived much of the time with her Mother, in Playa Del Rey. But her Father also lived in Playa Del Rey and in '73 the court shifted custody of Anissa and her Brother Paul over to him. The living arrangements were strained even though their Father was overly lenient with both children. Sadly, he died within a year of heart disease. (Incidentally, Her Father's ashes were not scattered at sea, but were returned to Indiana and placed in the family crypt.) Paul returned home, but Anissa moved in with friends and began shoplifting and doing drugs. Her mother finally reported her as a runaway and she was sent to juvenile hall for several months in 1974. At her hearing her Grandmother wanted Anissa released to her custody, but Anissa could not decide between her and her Mother, so faced with her indecision and her spiraling decent into juvenile crime, the Magistrate was heavy handed and committed her to the State Department of Corrections. (She apparently served some of her time at the Las Palmas School for Girls in L.A.)
For several months in the summer of 1975, Anissa worked at Winchell's Donut Shop at 8139 Manchester Avenue in Playa Del Rey. (Purportedly because all of her friends had summer jobs.) When she turned eighteen, Anissa came into a trust fund of $75,000.00 in cash/certificates of deposit, and $107,800.00 in US Savings Bonds that had been set up with her "Family Affair" earnings, and with the money she bought an economy car (a Ford Pinto) and got a sports car (a Chevrolet Camaro) for her Brother Paul. She moved into an apartment with her brother Paul, who was a year younger. They let their studies lapse at Westchester High School in L.A. and did not graduate.

Anissa's drug intake intensified so that she was often taking combinations of quaaludes, angel dust, marijuana, cocaine, pills, and liquor. Although she did not graduate with her class she did attend Del Rey Continuation School that summer. Also in the summer of 1976 she rented an apartment in San Diego, it was a decent into more uncontrolled drug use and by August she had a new love interest, Allen Koven who accompanied Anissa and Paul Jones into even heavier drug use.

On August 28, 1976, Anissa, after a night of partying at Helen Hennessy's Littler Lane home in the beachfront town of Oceanside California, was found either dead or dying in a bedroom. Autopsy reports indicated Anissa died from a "self-administered overdose of barbiturate, phencyclidine, cocaine and methaqualone poisoning." The death was ruled an accidental overdose, not a suicide, though the coroner called it one of the most massive drug overdose's he'd ever encountered. She was 18. Anissa's body was taken to McCormick Funeral Home in Inglewood, California and then sent to the Pacific Crest Crematory in Redondo Beach, California for cremation.

It is alleged that on September 1, 1976, her ashes were scattered over the Pacific. There was no funeral and allegations persist (true or false) that her ashes were interred with her fathers in West Lafayette. She had $63,000.00 in cash and hadn't cashed in any of her US Bonds at the time of her death, and apparently had made arrangements to purchase an apartment complex near Westchester High School and had intended to purchase a Day Care Center she had worked at on Culver Boulevard in Playa Del Rey.

Sadly, her younger Brother Paul's drug usage continued and eight years after Anissa died, he also died of a drug related heart attack.
Two points here for those of us that have grieved for Anissa over the years that might give some degree of comfort. (One) It is (unverified) rumored that Anissa's Mom had another daughter after Anissa's death that is doing just fine and apparently has avoided the drug tangle. (Two) My good friend Bobbie, who knew Anissa, has a new baby girl, Baby Anissa. Named for our classmate Mary Anissa Jones, with Love. –J.F.>

(A small note too if I may, when Jerome Larochelle was preparing to deploy he took the kids shopping and one favored stop had a talking Mrs. Beasley doll sans glasses in perfect mint condition for $5.00 US. He declined to purchase it stating, she hated that doll.)

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