Hannah Dakota Kota Fanning 13

July 20, 2007
Dan Darwish

Hannah Dakota “Kota” Fanning, the young American luminary, died today in a car accident in her hometown of Conyers, Georgia. She was 13 and lived in Los Angeles.

The industrious Fanning sparked her break-through acting career at the ripe age of five when she landed an important role in the 2001 drama I Am Sam. Fanning had practiced performing for her parents when she was only three, and after consulting an agent, her parents moved from Conyers to L.A. where Fanning starred in a Tide commercial. It was only a matter of time before Fanning blew up.

"I've always wanted to be an actress, ever since I was a little girl,” said Fanning. “I've always played the mom and I play my sister as the daughter. I wanted to be an actress on television and movies instead of just around the house."

Fanning starred in many great 21st Century movies. In 2003, she acted as the bratty “Ray” Schleine in Uptown Girls and Sally Walden in The Cat in the Hat. 2004 featured Fanning in the exciting thriller Man on Fire, and 2005 presented Fanning in her arguably most famous role in War of the Worlds. Fanning performed in many other films, and her future was directed towards even greater roles.

Fanning unexpectedly died when she failed to notice a hauler and his truck barreling down Highway 51. The oil trucker, who hadn’t noticed the little girl in the middle of the road, was later identified as thirty-two-year-old Dwayne Johnson. The Georgian State Police said that Johnson hit Fanning at four o’clock in the morning after Fanning left to practice for a movie role. Traces of methamphetamine were found in Johnson’s blood.

The youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award, Fanning had many achievements under her belt, and she will always be remembered. Besides playing the violin, reading, and participating in the Girl Scouts of America, she volunteered in many organizations. Fanning was a member of the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet, yet her favorite activity was always acting.

“Acting is what I love to do. I wouldn't trade it for the world,” said Fanning only two years ago. “I don't think of it as work. It's really fun for me. I just can’t wait to see what happens.”

Fanning is survived by her two parents, Joy and Steve, and her sister Elle. Services will be held at 8 p.m. on Sunday at Lucky Stars Funeral Home. There Fanning’s family will mourn their loss.

“Kota was such a beautiful person. It’s just a shock to me that she was killed,” said Joy Fanning, Dakota’s mother. “She will be in our hearts for the rest of time. I’m just sad that she’s gone.”

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