American actress Phyllis Amanda Peterson (July 8, 1971 – July 3, 2015) played the title character of Cindy Mancini in the 1987 comedy film Can’t Buy Me Love.
The youngest of three children born to ear, nose, and throat specialist James Peterson and his wife Sylvia, Peterson was born in Greeley, Colorado.
She had two older siblings: James Jr., a brother, and Anne Marie, a sister.
Peterson started performing when she was young and went by “Amanda Peterson” when she worked in a professional setting.
Her friends and family called her “Mandy Peterson,” so she went by that name when she started her career.
Peterson secured her first leading role in the motion picture Explorers in 1985. She co-starred in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries A Year in the Life the following year as “Sunny Sisk.”
Peterson left the entertainment business in 1994 and moved back to Greeley, Colorado, her hometown. Her father claimed that she left Hollywood to “choose a new path in her life.”
She attended Middlebury College for a short time before enrolling for a year at Colorado State University.
Peterson went on to study at Northern Colorado University. She did a brief stint as a model for a Colorado photographer in 2012.
Peterson had two children from his two marriages. Initially, she married Joseph Robert Skutvik. Following their separation, she married David Hartley. It is reported that Hartley and Peterson were divorced at the time of her passing.
What happened to Amanda Peterson?
Actress Amanda Peterson, 43, accidentally overdosed on morphine and was discovered dead in her Colorado home in July 2015.
The Weld County Coroner’s report, which was made public on Wednesday, stated that Peterson, who is popular for her part in the 1987 romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, took morphine from a friend to relieve pain. This was reported by The Greeley Tribune.
The actress had several prescriptions for medications related to heart and lung disease. In addition, she was prescribed Gabapentin to treat pain that arose after her hysterectomy.
The coroner and forensic pathologist concurred that Peterson’s death was due to respiratory failure brought on by a morphine overdose, despite the toxicology report showing six times the therapeutic level of gabapentin in her blood.
According to Weld County Coroner Mark Ward, Peterson’s medical history did not contain any recent morphine prescriptions.
She wasn’t a veteran opiate user, Ward said. “The amount of morphine she took caused a deadly event, on top of her heart and lung conditions.”
Traces of marijuana, which is legal in Colorado, were also found in her system.
Peterson first appeared in the film as a dancer in the 1982 version of Annie, directed by John Huston. She later appeared on several television shows, including one with Ricky Schroder on Silver Spoons.
Peterson’s next movie role was in the Sci-Fi comedy Explorers (1985), as Ethan Hawke’s crush.
However, it was her portrayal of the endearing, seemingly unreachable popular girl in Can’t Buy Me Love, opposite Patrick Dempsey, that won over the hearts of Generation X.
The cause of death is under investigation
The cause of death is being looked into by Greeley police and the Weld County coroner’s office; an autopsy report has not yet been made public.
Greeley police Sgt. Joseph Tymkowych stated that the toxicology report might take a week to complete.
Although his daughter had used drugs, ear, nose, and throat specialist James Peterson said she was “working diligently on her health.” Her death was “a great shock,” he said.
Peterson described his daughter’s drug use as “a very sad story,” a common fate for budding actors destroyed by Hollywood’s machine for producing stars.
After leaving Hollywood, she became quite religious, he added.
According to her father, Amanda had been on disability for three years and lived alone after two divorces at the time of her death.
While the Hollywood culture and casting system are toxic, especially for youngsters, that may not be the only factor at work.
Agents and managers have theories as to why so many teenage stars fade away too soon, and they are well aware of the difficulties associated with youth stardom.