The 33-year-old actress (also known as Wendy Ross) who once dated Burt Reynolds and John Wayne's son, Patrick, did guest shots on the hit television shows Dallas, St. Elsewhere, and Charlie's Angels. Ross was living in Canada when she lost $185,000, her entire life savings earned during a 15 year acting career, in the U.S. stock market crash in October 1987. Concerned over her daughter's mental health, Virginia Kent convinced the actress to come live with her in Westgate-on-Sea, England. Although Ross was under a doctor's care and taking prescription sleeping pills and anti-depressants, she was still deeply troubled. According to Kent, her daughter kept repeating, "Mummy, we're poor now, we're poor." Kent later told a coroner's inquest, "I moved our beds together so I could reach out to her when she wept in the night."
On the morning of April 11, 1988, Ross told her mother that she was going shopping. Instead, the disturbed actress went to Westgate Bay, near Margate, Kent. Witnesses saw the fully-clothed woman wade into the sea then swim out about a quarter of a mile into a section of water known for its treacherous tide. Ignoring the shouts of terrified onlookers, Ross calmly stretched out face-first in the water and let herself be taken under by the tow. Her lifeless body kept resurfacing every few moments until it was retrieved by a helicopter rescue crew.