The height of Amanda Peterson's fame come in the 1987 romantic comedy "Can't purchase Me Love."



Amanda Peterson poses in 2012 at a Greeley event where she volunteered to execute hair and also makeup for models.

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In recent weeks Amanda Peterson, star the the 1980s teenager movie “Can’t to buy Me Love,” to be talking around a comeback. She had started creating an autobiography. She had a story to tell.

At her peak, the blond, blue-eyed beauty embodied the well-known high college cheerleader many ’80s girls wanted to be. Peterson to be winning acting awards, as well as earning TV and also movie roles.

But the was 25 year ago. Lately, she to be hoping come recapture few of that previous glory.

“I talked to her about setting up a website, gaining a blog going,” stated photographer Ryan Hartsock, a girlfriend whose 2012 photos of Peterson showed up in worldwide news outlets after her recent death in Greeley, her hometown.


“She wanted to do a photograph shoot, start blogging, start a pan page,” claimed childhood friend Tawnya Bowie. “She said, ‘I desire to give earlier to the community, open an exhilaration studio, aid grow self-esteem for young kids,’ ” stated Bowie, a Greeley hairstylist. “That would have actually been perfect.”

Instead, the former actress was uncovered dead July 5 alone in she apartment by Greeley police who had actually been referred to as to inspect on her as soon as she missed a family dinner. Peterson’s door was unlocked when police arrived; officers entered and also found she body.

From international stardom in film and also TV to posing through a snake in a parking many in Greeley, Peterson’s story included drugs, arrests and a battle to discover a much better life. Friends and also family suggested she never successfully bridged her two lives, Hollywood teen star and Colorado adult.

“She never really talked much around (her Hollywood life). She was just Mandy,” Bowie said.

“We’ve come to peace through it since we know she’s had a challenging life,” her doctor father, James H. Peterson, said. “She’s had actually issues. It is a blessing she is currently at peace.”


The mix of supervisor talent and beauty is “a double-edged sword,” she father said.

Wednesday would have actually been Amanda’s 44th birthday. Fairly than celebrate, the household was planning a private funeral.

Under investigation

Greeley police and the Weld county coroner’s office room investigating the reason of death; one autopsy report has not been released. The toxicology report can take a week, follow to Greeley police Sgt. Joseph Tymkowych.

James Peterson, one ear, nose and also throat specialist, stated his daughter had been connected in drugs yet was “working diligently on she health.”

Her death was “a great shock,” the said.

Peterson referred to as his daughter’s drug use, “a really sad story,” common of young actors ruined by the star-making machine of Hollywood. She left Hollywood because “she want to pick a new path in her life.” She came to be “quite religious,” the said.

Born Phyllis Amanda Peterson, the perky teen Mandy that “Can’t buy Me Love” to be a different persona than the troubled adult Amanda who had a variety of Colorado arrests. She Weld county record contains a 2000 misdemeanor fee for control under the influence, a 2005 felony charge for dangerous medicine possession, another felony charge in 2005 for managed substance circulation for which she perform 48 hours of ar service, a 2012 misdemeanor fee for DUI and a boy abuse misdemeanor from might 2012. Human being magazine additionally reports the she was arrested for third-degree attack following a fight through a woman in fort Collins in 2010.

In Disney’s “Can’t purchase Me Love,” she played Cindy Mancini, the most famous girl in school, that is paid by a nerd ( Patrick Dempsey) come pretend to it is in his girlfriend for a month.

At the time of she death, Amanda lived alone after 2 divorces and had to be on special needs for 3 years, her father said.

While the Hollywood culture and casting system space famously toxic, specifically for youngsters, that might not it is in the only factor at work. Agents and managers space well mindful of the an obstacle of youth stardom and have theories on why so many teen stars flame the end early.

“Many teenager stars begin working prior to they have actually the skill set to know their situation,” stated Howard Bragman, evil chairman that Reputation.com and a longtime PR experienced based in Los Angeles. “It’s hard to get a sense of normalcy the a classic upbringing offers. Add to that many money, many enablers and unlimited opportunity to stray, and it’s hardly how amazing that plenty of youthful stars veer out of control.”

Bragman added, “in many situations the son becomes the provider because that the parent. This distorts the parent-child relationship and also can reason lasting damage and also a are afraid by the parental to discipline.”

Peterson was less a breadwinner because that her household than some child stars. However the vagaries that Hollywood to be daunting. As she told a TV news interviewer around the promise of NBC’s “A Year in the Life” miniseries coming to be a series, there space no guarantees. “In this career, friend never know what’s going come happen.”

In Peterson’s case, scholastic life to be interrupted by her exhilaration career: she invested a year in ~ Middlebury college in Vermont before moving to Hollywood. Later, she attended Colorado State university for a year.

She had health issues, James Peterson said, especially obstructive sleep apnea, “but no congenital problems.” Lately, the said, she was rather happy and also had quit smoking a year ago.

After years far from display business, “she was wanting to occupational her means back right into it however nervous what the solution would be,” photographer Hartsock said.

Hartsock stated he and Peterson would obtain together for coffee, look at his computer and laugh in ~ the gossip around the previous Hollywood star: “sightings that her, houses that she supposedly owned, rumors of her in Vail and also Hollywood, a home in the Bahamas — every wrong,” he said.

Whenever she talked around her time in Hollywood, it was confidential, that said. “She to be a really exclusive person.”

Neither friends no one the household would fancy on Peterson’s factors for leaving Hollywood to come home.

“Obviously,” Hartsock said, “everybody has reasons for obtaining out.”

One day in June 2012, she had actually volunteered to aid with hair and makeup at an event where Hartsock to be taking design portfolio photos. Late in the day, she did some posing. The photos of Peterson from that shoot — astride a motorcycle, in a vintage car and also holding a large snake — room the many recent known photos of her, currently published worldwide.

“These photos room not for sale,” Hartsock said. “They are for Mandy and (her daughter) Stella.”

Fame in a rom com

The son actress who scored a supporting duty in the 1982 movie “Annie” at age 9, attributed as Mandy Peterson, rose to fame with the 1987 rom com “Can’t buy Me Love,” the contrary Dempsey, that went on to become the “Grey’s Anatomy” heartthrob.

Peterson additionally starred the contrary Ethan hawk in the 1986 family sci-fi adventure “Explorers” (the only credit of hers currently accessible on Netflix).

She was actors in illustration of TV’s “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Father Murphy” and also “Silver Spoons.”

more memorably, she play daughter clear Sisk in the Emmy-winning NBC drama “A Year in the Life” (1987-88). She won the Young Artist award for that role.

John Falsey (“I’ll fly Away”), co-creator that “A Year in the Life,” wrote via e-mail, “I’m saddened come hear of her death. She to be an absolute delight to occupational with — and such a joyful person!”

In a 1987 TV interview to promote “Can’t buy Me Love,” Peterson talked, haltingly, around her divergent experiences, “because I’m native Colorado, for this reason I have two various lives, basically.”

Peterson’s last Hollywood work-related was in the 1994 fantasy-family film “Windrunner” v Margot Kidder.

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A variety of her peers from those shows survived early fame and also sustained it: Neil Patrick Harris, Shannen Doherty (whose first TV duty was on “Father Murphy”), Hawke, Dempsey … although river Phoenix, she co-star in 1985’s “Explorers,” died at period 23 that drug-induced love failure.

As news the Peterson’s fatality spread, several notables took to social media come memorialize her.

“When i was younger, I used to want to it is in #AmandaPeterson,” former “Buffy” star sarah Michelle Gellar wrote. “I also asked my mother for a white leather fringe coat #RipAmandaPeterson.”

Peterson’s long-ago co-star Dempsey tweeted, “In mine memory, she will constantly be vibrant and also young. Gone also soon. Sending out my thoughts and also prayers come Amanda’s family.”