Actress Amanda Peterson was found dead in her Colorado home yesterday. A cause of death has not been announced, but her father indicated that she had a history of sleep apnea and other medical troubles over the past couple of years including pneumonia. She would have turned 44 on Wednesday.
Peterson was best known for her role in the 1987 teen comedy coming of age film Can’t Buy Me Love co-starring Patrick Dempsey. Before he was Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey was cast in skinny nerd roles. In Can’t Buy Me Love, the Dempsey plays Ronald Miller, the skinny nerd who pays high school cheerleader Cindy Mancini (played by Peterson) $1,000 to be his girlfriend for one month. An interesting enough premise and while no one will mistake it for Citizen Kane, both Dempsey and Peterson turned in excellent performances. Over the years, Can’t Buy Me Love has become one of those films that has a found a life on late night TV. If I happen to come across it more often than not I’ll tune in.
It took him awhile, but Dempsey would eventually find stardom. However, Peterson never did and by 1994 she had left Hollywood behind and returned to Colorado.
Here is Peterson during an interview she conducted shortly after the release of Can’t Buy Me Love. At 16, Peterson is confident, well spoken and full of promise. Sadly, she will not have the chance for a second act to fulfill that promise.
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