Who was Sunni Welles' husband? TV actress who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault dies at 72
Former actress and singer Sunni Welles, who was one of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, has passed away. She was 72 years old. Welles' son, Shaun O’Banion announced the news of her demise on Twitter on Tuesday, August 10.
Sunni Welles succumbed to a long battle with lung cancer at a hospice care center in Downey, CA on Monday, August 9. Shaun O’Banion wrote on Twitter, "It is with profound sadness that I announce that my mother, Sunni Kay Welles, passed away today at the age of 72. If you have a moment, give a listen and think of her. She was an extraordinary woman."
It is with profound sadness that I announce that my mother, Sunni Kay Welles, passed away today at the age of 72. If you have a moment, give a listen and think of her. She was an extraordinary woman. https://t.co/IFpRR5JO32— 𝙸𝙽𝚃. 𝚁𝙰𝚅𝙴𝙽𝚆𝙾𝙾𝙳 𝙵𝙸𝙻𝙼𝚂 - 𝙽𝙸𝙶𝙷𝚃 (@shaun_obanion) August 10, 2021
Born Nancy Kay Rihl in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunni Welles moved to the US with her family when she was three years old. She started her acting career at just 10-years-old when she appeared in the sitcoms 'Leave It to Beaver' and 'My Three Sons'. Sunni Welles is remembered for her stints in the television series 'Quincy, ME' and 'Trapper John, MD' as well as the Steven Spielberg film '1941'. Welles was famously known for her friendship with Elvis Presley, with whom she toured the world as a singer and dancer. Sunni Welles moved to Nevada to perform as a principal dancer with the Folies Bergere musical variety show in Las Vegas in 1979. Later, the actress retired from acting to perform as a jazz soloist with her band 'Shiver', which toured in California in the late ’90s. Welles eventually settled down in Santa Monica, California, where she worked as a spiritual medium, author, speaker and sheltered foster animals until her lung cancer diagnosis.
At a 2015 news conference, Sunni Welles alleged that Cosby raped her twice when she was an aspiring singer in the mid-1960s by drugging her drink. Welles further said that she ran into him on the set of 'I Spy' after which, Cosby invited her to a jazz club. Welles said she was drinking Champagne when the first time Cosby attacked her and after the second time, she never saw him again. "It really affected my trust. My mother didn’t believe me initially, either. You’ve been hurt to a level that a lot of people don’t really understand. Still, to this day, " Welles said. Bill Cosby's 2018 sexual assault conviction was overturned and he was released from prison in June. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court freed him after finding fault with the way prosecutors pursued a case against him.
Who was Sunni Welles husband?
Sunni Welles married fellow singer and actor John O'Banion, with who she shared a son before their divorce. John O'Banion was the lead singer in Doc Severinsen's band, 'Today's Children'. He died in a car accident while touring in New Orleans, Louisiana, just two days before his 60th birthday on February 14, 2007. Sunni Welles is survived by her son, writer and film producer, Shaun O’Banion, grandson Indiana, brother Larry Rihl, and half-siblings Vivian Harris, Cindy Kashdin, Gene Rihl, Frank Rihl and Alan Rihl.