Skye McCole Bartusiak

Skye McCole Bartusiak (September 28, 1992 – July 19, 2014) was an American film and television actress. She appeared in The Patriot (2000), Don't Say a Word (2001), as Rose Wilder in Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (2002), 24 (2002–03), Boogeyman (2005), and Kill Your Darlings (2006).

Skye McCole Bartusiak
Skye McCole Bartusiak in an undated portfolio image
Born(1992-09-28)September 28, 1992
DiedJuly 19, 2014(2014-07-19) (aged 21)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Cause of deathSeizure[1]
Years active1999–2014
WebsiteOfficial website

McCole Bartusiak died at age 21 in her apartment behind her parents' home. Her death was ruled the result of an accidental drug overdose.[1] McCole Bartusiak's mother stated her daughter suffered epileptic seizures as a baby and believed it had a role in her death.[2]

Early life

Skye McCole Bartusiak was born in Houston, Texas, where she lived with her parents, Helen (née McCole) and Donald Bartusiak, until her death.[3]


McCole Bartusiak first starred in Stephen King's Storm of the Century as young Pippa Hatcher. In 2000, she appeared in The Patriot as the youngest child of a militia leader portrayed by Mel Gibson.[4] She played the young Marilyn Monroe in the TV miniseries Blonde, and the psychiatrist's daughter in Don't Say a Word alongside Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy, both in 2001.[4] She also played young Charlie McGee in Firestarter: Rekindled and Megan Matheson during season two of the television series 24 (2002–2003).[4][5]

McCole Bartusiak made an appearance in the short film The Vest in 2003 and played the part of The Girl in Once Not Far from Home in 2005.[6] She also tried her hand at theatre, playing in The Miracle Worker alongside Hilary Swank at the Charlotte Repertory Theatre in North Carolina.[7]

In 2003, McCole Bartusiak returned to period drama with Love Comes Softly, and a year later she played young Jackie in Against the Ropes alongside Meg Ryan.[5] In 2005, she received main billing for her role as Franny Roberts in the hit horror film Boogeyman.[5] She starred in the "Kids" episode of hospital drama series House,[8] and took a lead role as Sunshine in the film Kill Your Darlings, playing a troubled teen willing to do anything to get the attention of her busy father.[9]


On July 19, 2014, McCole Bartusiak died in her apartment behind her parents' Houston home. Her mother told CNN and the Associated Press that Skye's boyfriend found the actress sitting up in her bed; Helen began CPR on her daughter before the arrival of paramedics, who then worked "for 45 minutes" to resuscitate. Her mother said Skye "had been healthy and did not drink or do drugs", but had recently been suffering from epileptic seizures; she believed that this fact had likely played a role in her daughter's death.[4][10] A memorial service was held in Houston six days later; her brother Stephen told mourners: "If you want to know what makes Skye happy, go out and plant a tree."[11]

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences ruled in October 2014 that McCole Bartusiak's death was an accident. The "combined toxic effects of hydrocodone and difluoroethane with carisoprodol" were listed as the main cause of death.[1]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1999 The Cider House Rules[4] Hazel
2000 The Prophet's Game Adele Highsmith (child)
2000 The Patriot Susan Martin
2001 Don't Say a Word Jessie Conrad
2001 Riding in Cars with Boys Amelia - Age 8
2001 The Affair of the Necklace Dove (scenes deleted)
2002 Flashpoint Lizzie
2003 Love Comes Softly Missie Davis
2003 The Vest Sara Short
2004 Against the Ropes Little Jackie Kallen
2005 Boogeyman Franny Roberts
2006 Kill Your Darlings Sunshine
2006 Once Not Far from Home The Little Girl Short
2006 Razor Sharp Isis/Ice-6 Short
2008 A Fix Natalie Coleman Short
2008 Pineapple Alex
2009 Wild About Harry Daisy Goodhart
2011 Good Day for It Rachel
2011 University of Penn Relay Carnival N/A Director
2012 Twelve Hungry Men Jesse Short
2012 Dr. Oscar Griffith: Hollywood Psychiatrist The Pop Star / Rachel Short
2012 Sick Boy Lucy [4]
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Storm of the Century[4] Pippa Hatcher 2 episodes
1999 JAG Rachel Sherkston Episode: "Shakedown"
1999 Judging Amy Marcy Noble Episode: "Presumed Innocent"
1999 Witness Protection Suzie Batton HBO Movie
2000 Providence Jessie Episode: "Taking a Chance on Love"
2000 Frasier Girl with Drawing Episode: "The Three Faces of Frasier"
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jennifer Episode: "Legacy"
2000 The Darkling Casey Obold TV film
2001 Touched by an Angel Sarah Episode: "The Birthday Present"
2001 Blonde Young Norma Jeane Baker TV film
2002 Firestarter: Rekindled Young Charlie McGee TV film
2002 Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder Rose Wilder TV film
2002–03 24 Megan Matheson 8 episodes
2003 Love Comes Softly Missie Davis TV film
2004 George Lopez L'il Bit 2 episodes
2005 House Mary Carroll Episode: "Kids"
2005 Lost Young Kate Austen (voice) Episode: "Born to Run"; uncredited
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Susan Lester Episode: "Bite Me"
2007 Close to Home Amber Episode: "Fall from Grace"

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Work Result
2001 Young Artist Awards Best Ensemble in a Feature Film (shared with cast) The Patriot Nominated
2002 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film: Young Actress Age Ten or Under Riding in Cars with Boys Nominated
2002 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama): Young Actress Age 10 or Under Touched by an Angel Nominated


  1. "The Patriot Actress Died of an Accidental Drug Overdose". Fox News. October 13, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  2. Duke, Alan (July 22, 2014). "'Patriot' actress Skye McCole Bartusiak dead at 21". CNN Entertainment. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  3. "Patriot Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak Dies at Age 21". Us Weekly. Retrieved July 21, 2014 via Yahoo!.
  4. "Skye McCole Bartusiak, actress, dies at 21". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  5. Eggertsen, Chris (July 20, 2014). "'The Patriot' and '24' actress Skye McCole Bartusiak dead at age 21". HitFix. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  6. Ruble, Kimberly (July 20, 2014). "Skye McCole Bartusiak, Mel Gibson's Daughter in The Patriot Dead at Age 21". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  7. Law, Eric (July 30, 2014). "Skye McCole Bartusiak: Film and television actress who appeared in The Cider House Rules ..." The Independent. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  8. "Skye McCole Bartusiak". Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  9. Deming, Mark. "Kill Your Darlings (2006)". Rovi. Retrieved March 20, 2015 via The New York Times.
  10. "'Patriot' Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak Dead at 21". CNN. July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  11. Malec, Brett (July 28, 2014). "Late Patriot Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak Remembered at Houston Memorial Service". E! News. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
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