Actress Alicia Witt found fame in the 1984 film Dune at the age of 7. She has gone on to star in several successful series like Friday Night Lights, Twin Peaks and The Walking Dead. The Worcester, Massachusetts native faced a devastating tragedy when her parents, Robert and Diane Witt, were found dead in their Sussex Lane home in December 2021.
“I reached out to a cousin who lives close to my parents to check on them. Sadly, the outcome was unimaginable,” Alicia said in a statement. “I ask for some privacy at this time to grieve and to wrap my head around this turn of events, and this surreal loss.”
The Hallmark actress had not heard from her parents in a few days and decided to call a family member for help. The family member called for police assistance before finding the bodies of Robert, 87, and Diane, 75.
“On December 20, 2021 at approximately 8:20PM police were dispatched to 8 Sussex Lane for a check on the welfare,” Adam J. Roche, the acting deputy chief of administration for the Worcester Fire Department, tells Closer. “Upon arrival, police discovered a male and a female deceased inside the residence. There were no signs of foul play. The Worcester Fire Department was called to check the house with meters, at the time the fire department checked the building there were no abnormal readings. It is under investigation. The medical examiner’s office will determine cause of death.”
Keep scrolling to take a look inside Alicia’s close relationship with her family.
Robert and Diane Witt
Robert and Diane lived together in Worcester for decades and previously worked as teachers. Robert taught science and photography while Diane taught reading for junior high schoolers. Alicia learned to read at the age of 3 and was discovered by a producer from That’s Incredible! thanks to her mother’s help.
“The producer saw a photo of me reading in a magazine, and got in touch and asked if I had anything I could do on the show. My mom had, at that point, taught me how to do a scene from Romeo & Juliet. I was 5,” she shared in a September 2021 interview with Boston Globe. “Two years later, the casting director for Dune was searching for someone to play the role of Alia, and [saw that clip]. It was serendipity.”
It led to the first of many opportunities for Alicia to work with filmmaker David Lynch. After growing up as a child star and finding success in Hollywood, Alicia remembered her humble beginnings in an August 2014 interview.
“My parents were both teachers, my dad made about $35,000 a year and we didn’t have a car until I was I think 11,” the singer-songwriter shared. “Money was always something that we had to be careful of.”
Diane was a local celebrity in her own right. In 1988, she held the Guinness World Record for the longest hair at 10 feet long. She brought her entire family along to attend a conference in New York City with other record holders that year.
“It’s very healthy. I’ve never colored it,” Diane said about her hair at the time. “We’ve even caught fish with it.”
Alicia remained close to her parents even while navigating a career as an actress and a singer in Nashville. She often shared photos visiting her parents on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Whether it was rooting for the New England Patriots with her father, or having fun using the Face Swap filter with her mom, the family’s bond has always been strong.
Alicia has one younger brother, Ian Witt, who was born in 1978. Though he has stayed out of the spotlight for most of his life, Ian appeared in the 1991 film Liebestraum alongside his sister, according to IMDb. The pair were brought up together in Worcester and encouraged to pursue the creative arts by their parents. Alicia later landed her first lead film role in the 1994 film Fun, while Ian took a step back from Hollywood.