Amanda Peterson

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Amanda Peterson
Born Phyllis Amanda Peterson
(1971-07-08)July 8, 1971
Greeley, Colorado, U.S.
Died July 3, 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 43)
Greeley, Colorado, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Mandy Peterson
Education University High School
Alma mater Middlebury College
University of Northern Colorado
Colorado State University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1982–95
Known for Can't Buy Me Love
Spouse(s) Joseph Robert Skutvik
David Hartley
Children 2

Phyllis Amanda Peterson (July 8, 1971 – July 3, 2015), known professionally as Amanda Peterson, was an American actress known for her role as Cindy Mancini in the 1987 comedy film Can't Buy Me Love.

Early life[edit]

Phyllis Amanda Peterson was born in Greeley, Colorado,[1] the youngest of three children born to Dr. James Peterson, an ear, nose and throat specialist, and his wife Sylvia.[2] She had two older siblings: a sister, Anne Marie and a brother, James, Jr.[3] Peterson began acting as a child and used the named "Amanda Peterson" in a professional capacity. In the beginning of her career, she used the name "Mandy Peterson", which was also the name friends and family used.[4]

Career[edit]

Peterson made her stage debut at age 7 as Gretl in the University of Northern Colorado's stage production of The Sound of Music.[3] At the age of 8, she won a role in the musical film Annie, where she appeared as a dancing extra. Peterson went on to land guest spots on Father Murphy and Silver Spoons.[5] She also appeared in more than fifty television commercials.[3] During the 1983–84 television season, she co-starred as Squirt Sawyer on the NBC drama series Boone.[6] Boone was canceled after one season.[7]

In 1985, Peterson won her first starring role in the feature film Explorers. The following year, she co-starred as "Sunny Sisk" in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries A Year in the Life. The miniseries was highly acclaimed and was third-highest rated miniseries of the 1986–87 U.S. television season with a 16.9/27 rating/share.[8] It was later adapted into a television series of the same name that aired on NBC from 1987 to 1988.[9] For her work on the series, Peterson won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series.[3] Despite being critically acclaimed, A Year in the Life was canceled after one season.[10]

In 1986, 15-year old Peterson was cast in the teen comedy Boy Rents Girl, opposite Patrick Dempsey. The film was shot on location in Tucson, Arizona. The title was later changed to Can't Buy Me Love after producers secured the rights to The Beatles' 1964 song of the same name.[11] Released in the summer of 1987, Can't Buy Me Love received mixed reviews but became the sleeper hit of the summer.[6] After its release, Peterson and Dempsey obtained teen idol status and subsequently appeared on the covers of teen magazines such as Tiger Beat and Teen Beat.

In 1988, Peterson co-starred in the Roger Corman-produced post-apocalyptic film The Lawless Land, followed by a role in the 1989 teen drama Listen to Me.[5][12] Later that same year, Peterson returned to Greely where she graduated from University High School (while working in Los Angeles, she was privately tutored).[11][13] Shortly after graduating, she starred in the television movie Fatal Charm. That fall, Peterson enrolled at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.[12] While on semester break, she appeared in a guest spot on Doogie Howser, M.D.[14] Later that year, Peterson dropped out of Middlebury College.[2] In 1994, she returned to acting in the fantasy film WindRunner, starring Jason Wiles. It was Peterson's final onscreen role.[15]

Later years[edit]

In 1994, Peterson retired from the entertainment industry and returned to her hometown of Greeley, Colorado. According to her father, Dr. James Peterson, Peterson left Hollywood in order to "...choose a new path in her life." After having briefly attended Middlebury College, she enrolled at Colorado State University for a year.[2] Peterson later studied at the University of Northern Colorado.[3] In 2012, she briefly modeled for a Colorado photographer.[16]

Peterson was twice married and had two children.[17] She was first married to Joseph Robert Skutvik. After their divorce, she married David Hartley.[18] Peterson and Hartley were reportedly divorced at the time of her death.[2]

Between October 2000 and May 2012, Peterson was arrested five times for various offenses including third-degree assault, harassment, DUI, and possession of drug paraphernalia and suspicion of distributing a Schedule 2 controlled substance.[19] From September to December 2005, she spent nearly three months in jail.[20] Peterson's most recent arrests were for a misdemeanor DUI and possession of narcotic equipment charge in April 2012, and a charge of suspicion of child abuse in May 2012 which was later dropped.[19] According to Peterson's father, his daughter had previously struggled with drug issues, but was drug free at the time of her death and had become "quite religious".[2] He also stated that, in recent years, Peterson had suffered from sleep apnea and bouts of pneumonia and sinusitis.[21] For the last three years of her life, Peterson was receiving disability benefits and lived alone in an apartment in Greeley after her second divorce.[2]

Death[edit]

On July 3, 2015, Peterson died at her home in Greeley, Colorado at the age of 43.[22] Her body was discovered on July 5 by police when her family became concerned after Peterson missed a scheduled family dinner.[2] While the Greeley police would not comment on specific details due to an ongoing investigation, they did state that Peterson's apartment door was unlocked but there were no signs of foul play.[1][21][19] An autopsy to determine the cause of Peterson's death was scheduled by the Weld County coroner for July 6.[1][3] The results of the autopsy and toxicology tests are expected by early to mid-August 2015.[19]

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Peterson's mother Sylvia stated that while her daughter had issues with drugs when she was younger, she believed her to be drug-free when she died. She went on to say that her daughter's death, "...was not, in any way, a drug thing".[23]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1982 Annie Dancer Credited as Mandy Peterson
1982 Father Murphy Elizabeth Episode: "Matthew and Elizabeth"
1982 Silver Spoons Sally Frumbel Episode: "Takin' a Chance on Love"
1983 Boone Squirt Sawyer 13 episodes
1984 Best Kept Secrets Gretchen Television film
1985 Explorers Lori Swenson
1985 And the Children Shall Lead Jenny Television film
1986 Year in the Life, AA Year in the Life Sunny Sisk Miniseries
1986 Carly Mills Trisha Mills Television film
1987–
1988
Year in the Life, AA Year in the Life Sunny Sisk 22 episodes
1987 Can't Buy Me Love Cindy Mancini Alternative title: Boy Rents Girl
1988 Lawless Land, TheThe Lawless Land Diana
1989 Listen to Me Donna Lumis
1989 Love and Betrayal Stephanie Television film
Alternative title: Throw Away Wives
1990 Doogie Howser, M.D. Bernadette Callen Episode: "Vinnie's Blind Date"
1990 Fatal Charm Valerie Television film
1991 Hell Hath No Fury Michelle Ferguson Television film
1991 Posing: Inspired by Three Real Stories Abigail Baywood Television film
Alternative title: I Posed for Playboy
1994 WindRunner Julie Moore Alternative title: WindRunner: A Spirited Journey

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards
Year Award Category Title of work Result
1984 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a New Television Series Boone Nominated
1985 Young Artist Award Best Young Supporting Actress in a Daytime or Nighttime Drama Boone Nominated
1986 Young Artist Award Best Starring Performance by a Young Actress – Motion Picture Explorers Nominated
1987 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series[3] Year in the Life, AA Year in the Life Won
1988 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Can't Buy Me Love Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Greeley-born actress Amanda Peterson found dead in her apartment". The Tribune (Greeley, Colorado). Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ostrow, Joanne (July 12, 2015). "Amanda Peterson: The life and times of a Colorado teen star". denverpost.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Phyllis Amanda Peterson". Allnutt Funeral Service. July 9, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ Cofas, Alleynah (July 7, 2015). "Friends of Amanda Peterson remember her down-to-earth demeanor and kindness". greeleytribune.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Blank, Ed (August 19, 1987). "Amanda Peterson celebrity at age 16". The Pittsburgh Press. p. B4. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Top TV Teens". Toledo Blade. April 6, 1988. p. 20. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2008). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2 ed.). McFarland. p. 124. ISBN 0-786-48641-4. 
  8. ^ (Three or more parts.) TV Guide magazine, June 27–July 3, 1987, issue #1787. All figures are based on the Nielsen ratings. The rating represents the percentage of the 87.4 million TV households tuned to a station (sets watching this show). The share represents the percentage of TV sets tuned to a television station at the time of the broadcast (sets in use)
  9. ^ Boone, Mike (December 17, 1986). "A Year in the Life: A television miniseries that has everything". The Montreal Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada). p. E8. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Collins Swanson, Dorothy (2000). The Story of the Viewers for Quality Television: From Grassroots to Prime Time. Syracuse University Press. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0-815-60649-4. 
  11. ^ a b Blank, Ed (August 19, 1987). "Amanda Peterson celebrity at age 16". The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). p. B4. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Another actress heads for campus". The Bryan Times (Bryan, Ohio). May 16, 1989. p. 31. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  13. ^ "'1st and Ten' adds ex-Falcon star' Cher's take in Sands act: $150,000". Lakeland Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). April 17, 1989. p. 2A. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Money makes it harder to kill". Star-News (Wilmington, North Carolina). February 22, 1990. p. 2D. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ Kimble, Lindsay (July 13, 2015). "Amanda Peterson's Family Bids Farewell to Tragic Can't Buy Me Love Star with Emotional Tribute Video". people.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  16. ^ Kimble, Lindsay (July 8, 2015). "Inside Amanda Peterson's Final Photo Shoot: 'She Had the Greatest Smile,' Photographer Tells People". people.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  17. ^ Variety Staff (July 6, 2015). "Amanda Peterson, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ Star, Dies at 43". Variety. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ Moraski, Lauren (July 8, 2015). "Patrick Dempsey remembers "Can't Buy Me Love" co-star Amanda Peterson". CBS News. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c d Moylan, Joe (July 8, 2015). "Greeley actress Amanda Peterson had a criminal record, may have struggled with substance abuse". greeleytribune.com. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  20. ^ Keating, Caitlin (July 8, 2015). "The Heartbreaking Downfall of a Hollywood Golden Girl: Amanda Peterson's Troubled Past Before Her Death at Age 43". people.com. 
  21. ^ a b Child, Ben (July 7, 2015). "Amanda Peterson, star of Can’t Buy Me Love, dies aged 43". theguardian.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  22. ^ Cummings, William (July 7, 2015). "'Can't Buy Me Love' star Amanda Peterson dies at 43". usatoday.com. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  23. ^ Ungerman, Alex (July 7, 2015). "Amanda Peterson's Mom Remembers Their Last Day Together: She Was in 'Very Good Spirits'". etonline.com. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 

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