George Lee Lutz, whose brief stay in an Amityville, N.Y., home spawned one of the most famous haunted house stories ever, has died of natural causes. He was 59.
Lutz, a Las Vegas resident, died Monday, his lawyer Larry Zerner of Los Angeles said Wednesday. The Clark County coroner listed the cause as heart disease.
Lutz, a former land surveyor, became famous after moving his new bride and three children into a three-story Dutch colonial on Long Island in 1975. About a year earlier, six members of the DeFeo family had been shot and killed in the home. Ronald DeFeo Jr., the eldest son, was convicted of the murders.
The Lutzes lived in the home for 28 days before being driven out — by the spirits of the DeFeos, according to Lutz’s account.
The family’s eerie tales became the source for Jay Anson’s 1977 book, “The Amityville Horror,” along with a 1979 film of the same title and a 2005 movie remake.
The book and movies chronicled horrors including visions of walls oozing slime, moving furniture, a visit from a demonic pig named Jodie and spontaneous levitation.
The franchise made a cult figure of Lutz, who some claimed bore a creepy resemblance to Ronald DeFeo. Recently, he defended himself against some who accused him of intentionally moving into the home to profit from the DeFeo murders.
“People are disrespecting a true story,” he told People Magazine last year. “It’s my family’s story, and it’s hurtful.”