As she got older, Anissa developed a dislike for the fact that her character was Not Allowed to Grow Up; Family Affair producer Don Fedderson insisted that Buffy should remain perpetually six years old, even though by the end of the show's run Anissa was 13 and in the initial stages of puberty. She kept asking for Buffy's dialogue to be modified so that the character would sound more like people within her actual age range, but said requests were turned down by Fedderson.
The show's treatment of Buffy was only one of two problems that Jones had to deal with. At the time, viewers did not know that her home life was even worse. Her parents had filed for divorce before Family Affair began its run, and it involved a huge custody fight over Anissa and her brother Paul. The divorce was finalized in 1973, which was two years after the series ended.
Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose at age 18, and this is believed to have been caused by a combination of the aforementioned difficulties. In a tragic postscript, Paul would also die prematurely of a drug overdose (at age 24 in 1984).
This actress's work features examples of:
- What Could Have Been:
- Auditioned for the role of Regan in The Exorcist. William Friedkin thought audiences would think it was Buffy being possessed, as Family Affair was still on in re-runs.
- Offered the role of Iris in Taxi Driver but ultimately Jodie Foster was cast.
- Was considered for Pretty Baby but she died before filming started, and Brooke Shields starred in the film.