What Was Jenny Lee Arness’ Cause of Death?

July 4, 2023   | July 5, 2023  | 

    Jenny Lee Arness, the daughter of renowned actor James Arness, tragically passed away at the young age of 24, leaving fans around the world shocked and saddened. While her untimely death has sparked curiosity, people are eager to understand more about her personal life and the factors that led to her decision to take her own life.

    Read the article below to find out everything you need to know about her.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Jenny was an actress just like her parents James and Virginia.
    • Both her mom and dad were famous actors in their time, especially her father.
    • Arness grew up in a well-adjusted household with her siblings.
    • Jenny took her own life by overdosing on drugs.
    • She had gone through a rough breakup and was suffering from depression prior to her death.

    What Was Jenny Lee Arness’ Cause of Death?

    Jenny tragically passed away on May 12, 1975, in Malibu, California, USA, as a result of a drug overdose. She made the heartbreaking decision to take her own life a mere 11 days before her 25th birthday.

    Jenny died from a drug overdose
    Jenny died at the age of 24.

    Reports indicate that Jenny had been battling depression and chronic stress, which undoubtedly took a toll on her well-being. Additionally, she had experienced a difficult breakup three years prior to her passing, adding further emotional strain to her life.

    Where Was Arness Buried?

    Following her passing, Jenny was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, located in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA.

    Specifically, her burial plot is located in the Great Mausoleum, within the Holly Terrace Columbarium. Her final resting place is in the Sanctuary of Enduring Honor, within Crypt 24025.

    Her Mother Also Died Due To Overdose Of Drugs

    Tragically, Jenny’s mother, Virginia Chapman, passed away from a drug overdose on 29th July 1977, approximately two years after Jenny’s own untimely death.

    Nonetheless, while Jenny’s overdose was intentional, that was not the case for her mother’s death. She accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills at the age of 56.

    Jenny Went Through A Breakup Before She Took Her Own Life

    Jenny had a complicated breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Gregg Allman. They began dating in 1972 but unfortunately, their relationship didn’t endure and ended after a relatively brief period of time.

    Jenny's ex-boyfriend was a singer
    Jenny’s ex-boyfriend, Gregg Allman

    Reports suggest that Jenny deeply cared for Gregg, but the feeling was not reciprocated, leaving her with a broken heart. Following their breakup, Gregg went on to have a highly publicized relationship and subsequent marriage with the renowned singer and actress, Cher, in 1975.

    It is speculated Gregg’s high-profile relationship with Cher may have contributed to Jenny’s emotional struggles and ultimately influenced her tragic decision.

    She Reportedly Suffered From Schizophrenia

    Some sources say that Arness was apparently suffering from Schizophrenia which is a serious mental disorder that can involve symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and more.

    Moreover, it can significantly impact an individual’s perception of reality and overall well-being. In some cases, severe symptoms of mental disorders can contribute to an increased risk of suicide.

    This might also be the reason for Lee’s decision to take her own life but there is no concrete evidence to support this speculation.

    Who Was Jenny Lee Arness? Details On Her Parents

    Jenny Lee Arness was an actress who achieved recognition as an actress primarily for her notable portrayal in the popular television series “Gunsmoke.” She was born on May 23, 1950, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California, United States to her parents, Virginia Chapman and James Arness.

    Jenny pursued the career of an actress
    Jenny was an actor.

    Further talking about her family background, her grandparents were Rolf Cirkler Aurness and Ruth Aurness.

    Her Education and School

    As for her education, Jenny graduated from a prestigious Beverly Hills Secondary School. Following her high school education, Arness pursued further studies in Switzerland, as reported by the magazine “Ebony.”

    Arness Had Two Siblings Growing Up

    She was raised in a stable and harmonious family environment, alongside two siblings. Rolf Aurness, born in 1952, is her biological brother, while Craig Aurness (1946-2004) was her adopted brother.

    Jenny had two siblings growing up
    Jenny with her family members.

    Further, Craig was Virginia’s son from her previous marriage with Leo Morton. Craig gained recognition as a skilled photographer, notably working for National Geographic.

    On the other hand, Rolf pursued a passion for surfing and achieved remarkable success by becoming the World Surfing Champion in 1970.

    Jenny Lee Arness’ Parents Separated When She Was Young

    Following a 15-year marriage, Jenny’s parents, actor James Arness, and actress Virginia Chapman, went through a divorce when their children were still young.

    The former couple tied the knot in 1948 but ended their marriage in 1963. It was reported that the divorce was primarily a result of James’ demanding professional commitments, which likely placed strains on their relationship.

    Jenny's parents, James and Virginia
    Jenny’s parents separated when she was 13 years old.

    Moreover, after the separation, James was granted custody of their children and took on the role of a single father. He assumed responsibility for raising Jenny and her siblings without the presence of their mother.

    Tragically, Virginia passed away in 1977 due to a drug overdose, adding further sorrow to the family’s history. And in 1978, James embarked on a new chapter of his life by marrying Janet Surtees, his second wife.

    Her Father Was A Renowned Actor

    Jenny’s father, James Arness, achieved significant recognition as an actor, particularly for his portrayal of Marshal Matt Dillon in the renowned series “Gunsmoke.” This iconic role became synonymous with Arness, and he dedicated two decades of his career to bringing Dillon to life on screen, from 1955 to 1975.

    Additionally, before embarking on his acting journey, James served his country in the military. In March 1943, he was drafted into the US Army and was assigned to Fort Snelling.

    Jenny Lee Followed Her Parent’s Footsteps

    Jenny followed in her parent’s footsteps and embarked on a career in acting. She had the opportunity to showcase her talent in two episodes of the renowned series “Gunsmoke,” which her father, James, was famously associated with.

    Arness was an actor
    Arness was an actress just like her parents.

    Growing up, Arness had the privilege of observing both her father’s and mother’s exceptional talent firsthand. This exposure likely played a pivotal role in fostering her own interest and passion for the world of acting, as she witnessed the dedication and skill that her parents brought to their craft.

    Quick Facts
    Full Name Jenny Lee Arness
    Popular Name Jenny Lee Arness
    Birth Place Los Angeles, California, USA
    Birthday May 23, 1950
    Death May 12, 1975
    Death Cause Drug Overdose
    Age 24 years
    Nationality American
    Father James Arness
    Mother Virginia Chapman
    Siblings Rolf Aurness, Craig Aurness
    School Beverly Hills Secondary School
    Profession Actress
    Net Worth $50,000
    Marital Status Unmarried
    Relationship Status Single