Secret Admirer

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For other uses, see Secret admirer (disambiguation).
Secret Admirer
Secret admirer.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Greenwalt
Produced by Steve Roth
Written by David Greenwalt
Jim Kouf
Starring C. Thomas Howell
Lori Loughlin
Kelly Preston
Fred Ward
Dee Wallace Stone
Leigh Taylor-Young
Cliff DeYoung
Music by Jan Hammer
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by Dennis Virkler
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
  • June 14, 1985 (1985-06-14)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $8,622,757

Secret Admirer is a 1985 American romantic comedy film directed by David Greenwalt, and starring C. Thomas Howell, Lori Loughlin, Kelly Preston and Fred Ward. The screenplay was written by Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. The original music score was composed by Jan Hammer. The film was produced at the height of the teen sex comedy cinema craze in the mid-1980s, and marked the directorial debut of Greenwalt. The film has received a MPAA rating of R.


Michael Ryan (Howell) is a high school student who receives an anonymous love letter. Michael is obsessed with Deborah Ann Fimple (Preston), the class beauty, and his best friend, Roger (Siemaszko), convinces him that the letter is from her. However, he is totally oblivious that his friend Toni Williams (Loughlin) is in love with him. Michael writes Deborah Ann an anonymous love letter in return, and asks Toni to give it to her. Toni realizes the letter is poorly written and unromantic (since Michael had copied words from greeting cards), so she rewrites it. Elizabeth Fimple (Taylor-Young), Deborah Ann's mother, discovers the letter. Her jealous police officer husband, Lou Fimple (Ward), sees her reading it. He steals the letter, and believes that his wife is having an affair. He suspects his neighbor (and bridge partner) George Ryan (DeYoung). George also mistakenly reads the letter because Lou's wife is his night school teacher and it somehow ends up in his book. When George asks her about it he assumes she wants to have an affair with him despite the fact his wife and she are friends. Meanwhile Lou shows the letter to George's wife, Connie (Wallace-Stone), and proposes that they expose the adulterers. Receiving no response from Deborah Ann, Michael writes a second letter, which Toni again rewrites.

Michael experiences a series of wacky adventures with his friends throughout the summer. After Toni arranges a meeting between the two; He tells Deborah Ann that he wrote the love letters, and she finally agrees to a real date during which they are almost caught by Debbie's jock college "quasi boyfriend" Steve but Toni intervenes by pretending to seduce him and later ditches him. After a short while Michael realizes Deb is snobby and shallow, not like he expected her to be; they break up after his birthday party when he realizes he can't sleep with her as she intends for his birthday present. Eventually, Lou and Connie cannot control themselves at a bridge party: Lou assaults George, and Connie breaks down in front of her friends. When Lou confronts his wife about the letter, Deborah Ann overhears him reading the words and tearfully accosts her father for reading her private mail. Debbie runs to her rooms and cries, while both sets of parents make up after the misunderstanding with the letters. Michael also blasts his parents for reading his letter and invading his privacy.

Just as the fall semester is about to start, Michael (by comparing Debbie's letter's to Toni's handwriting) realizes that Toni wrote the original love letter. He races to her home but is told that she has left for a study abroad program aboard a ship that will keep her away for a full year. Michael rushes to the dockyard after a brief scuffle with Steve, screaming his love for Toni. After shouting her love for him as the ship continues to sail away he dives into the water, but cannot reach the ship. Toni dives into the water, too. The lovers embrace in the water and kiss.


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