‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ star dies: Amanda Peterson
Published: July 7, 2015
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ star dies: Amanda Peterson, Fashioned as a sexy biker chick and straddling a motorcycle in an empty car park, Amanda Peterson stares vacantly into the lens of a camera in what would subsequently become her final photoshoot.
The tragic actress – who fled Hollywood in 1994 following the film ‘Windrunner’, having shot to fame as a teen rom com favorite – was found dead at her Colorado apartment on Sunday, aged 43.
Police do not suspect foul play and her mother has now said she was dead for two days before the body was discovered.
These photos – obtained by The Daily Mail Online and believed to be the last professional shoot Peterson took part in – were taken in 2012, showing the former 80’s bombshell in thigh-high leather boots posing with a snake and in different custom cars.
In the grungy images, the mother-of-two is all-but unrecognizable to fresh-faced Cindy Mancini, the Arizona cheerleader she played in 1987’s ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ – a role that would make her a superstar.
The images were taken by Ryan Harstock, photographer for RockHardChic.com, who said Peterson had no intention of posing up on the day but then finally agreed.
Harstock said Peterson had arrived at an event he was also working at to help out with hair and makeup.
She agreed to pose up for the photos so long as Harstock didn’t ‘photoshop the hell out of me’.
‘So here she is in her natural beauty as per her request,’ Harstock posted to his Facebook page.
‘She was a beautiful Lady inside and out and I’m honored to have known her over the past few years. She will truly be missed.’
Peterson’s body was discovered at her home in an apartment complex in Greeley about 6pm Sunday after she had not been seen for two days.
The cause of her death is currently unknown.
Peterson was born in Greeley and would have been 44 on Wednesday.
Her mother, Sylvia Peterson, told Fox News her daughter died Friday morning.
‘It’s a big loss. Such a loveable person,’ Mrs Peterson told the network.
‘She had some medical problems with her heart but we don’t know the cause yet.’
Police responded to Peterson’s home to check on her during a well-being call after there was a report she had missed an appointment.
Her father James confirmed to TMZ that they had become concerned when they didn’t hear from her for a few days.
Her dad said she had been suffering from ‘several medical issues’ over the past two years, including pneumonia, sinusitis and sleep apnea.
‘She had some illness and a sleep apnea problem that may have contributed,’ he said.
He added that she had, at one stage, been living in a house with mold issues, but that she had moved out around a year ago.
The Tribune reported that her door was unlocked when officers arrived and found her dead inside the house about 6pm Sunday evening.
An autopsy was due to be performed on Monday.
Peterson was born Phyllis Amanda Peterson.
Her most famous role was opposite Patrick Dempsey in the 1987 teen romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love.
It it she played cheerleader Cindi Mancini, whom nerdy high-school student Ronald Miller (Dempsey) pays $1,000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month.
In the end, the two wind up falling in love.
The film became an instant classic among teenagers, much like many of the John Hughes movies of the same time period.
It also made Peterson a star at a very young age, even earning her a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy.
Amanda Peterson on her home and work life in 1987 interview
The late Amanda Peterson stars in film Can’t Buy Me Love
She began her film career aged nine as one of the orphans in Annie, having auditioned for and almost landing the lead role.
Her part was supposed to be minor and largely background, but she gained notice with her delivery of just one line during the film’s popular song ‘Sandy.’
At age 14 she starred alongside River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke in the sci-fi fantasy Explorers, which was both boys’ film debuts.
Phoenix would die as a result of drug-induced heart failure less than 10 years later at the age of 23.
She also appeared in episodes of Father Murphy, Silver Spoons, and played Sunny Sisk in the NBC drama series A Year In The Life.
For her work on Life she won the Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series prize at the 1988 Young Artists Awards.
Her last movie was the 1994 fantasy/family film WindRunner, after which she decided to leave the entertainment industry and move to Colorado.
Just a few years before that she also had a bit part on Doogie Howser M.D., the show that first introduced the word to Neil Patrick Harris.
According to her IMDb profile, she began studying for a Masters degree at Colorado State University in 2011, and was working on her autobiography.
She is survived by her husband David and their two children, and was one of three children born to Sylvia and Dr. James Peterson.
It is not known where her husband and children were over the weekend.
Her first marriage to Joseph Robert Skutvik ended in divorce.
Even early in her career she seemed to enjoy Colorado more than Hollywood, saying during one interview in 1987 while promoting Love; ‘I separate both of those lives also because I’m from Colorado, so I have two different lives basically.
‘Yes, it’s true, you have to be popular in this business in order to get work … That’s called “being well-known.”
‘But it’s different when you separate that from life and work. Work is different, because you have to do it in essence.’
Countless celebs shared their sadness over Peterson’s death on social media Monday.
‘When I was younger, I used to want to be #AmandaPeterson. I even asked my mom for a white leather fringe jacket #RipAmandaPeterson,’ wrote Sarah Michelle Gellar.
‘Cindy Mancini was my first crush. RIP Amanda Peterson,’ said Scrubs and Clueless star Donald Faison.
Scott Foley meanwhile took to Twitter, writing; ‘RIP Amanda Peterson. The teen in me is heartbroken.’
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