Bridgette Andersen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bridgette Andersen
Born(1975-07-11)July 11, 1975
Died1997 (aged 21)
Los Angeles County,
California, U.S.
Cause of deathOpioid overdose
OccupationActress and model
Years activeLate 1970s – 1987

Bridgette Andersen (July 11, 1975 – 1997) was an American child actress and child model. She starred in 1982's Savannah Smiles, for which she received her first of four Youth in Film Award nominations.

Personal life[edit]

Andersen was born on July 11, 1975, to Frank and Teresa Andersen.[1] By April 1982, she lived in Malibu, California,[2] with her parents, younger sister Angelica,[1] and two brothers. As an infant, Angelica appeared in television advertisements for Bank of America and Mervyn's.[3]

A reader since age two-and-a-half, the Havre Daily News reported that six-year-old Andersen had "a staggering IQ". Her favorite author was Ernest Hemingway, and her favorite book was The Old Man and the Sea.[4] A fan of the TV series Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons, she decided to pursue acting, and aspired to produce and direct films as well.[3]

Andersen died of an opioid overdose in 1997,[5] in Los Angeles County, California,[6] at the age of 21.[7]


During a February 1983 interview with Johnny Carson on his late-night show, Andersen related a family anecdote of her trying to climb into the television and play with Our Gang ("The Little Rascals") at age two. Caught by her father, she was taught about actors and acting, whereafter she secured a talent agent and began acting.[3] She spent three years fashion modeling and acting in television advertisements. She also appeared in television shows including King's Crossing and Washington Mistress.[2]

In 1982, Andersen starred as Savannah Driscoll in the film Savannah Smiles. Writer and co-star Mark Miller was inspired by[8]—and wrote the part for—his daughter, Savannah Miller. However, when the film was ready to shoot, Ms. Miller was too old for the part at age eleven,[4] so Mark Miller auditioned almost 150 children before discovering and choosing Andersen for the part.[8] In a contemporary interview, Andersen opined that she and the Driscoll character were "like twins! We do the same things."[4] According to The Cumberland Times, only three months after the release of Savannah Smiles, Miller was already writing another script to star Andersen.[8]

That same year, Andersen portrayed the six-year-old Mae West in the biographical television film, Mae West.[2] In 1983, Andersen explained that she preferred working in films versus television because they gave her more to do.[3] During the 1983–84 run of The Mississippi, Anderson was nominated for a Youth in Film Award ("Best Young Actress - Guest in a Television Series") for her work thereon.[9] Andersen went on to star in the short-lived CBS sitcom, Gun Shy; she portrayed Celia, one of two children won in a card game by Barry Van Dyke's Russell Donovan.[10]

In her teenage years, Andersen had trouble finding acting work.[6][11]


Film performances
Year Title Role Citation(s)
1982 Savannah Smiles Savannah Driscoll [8]
1983 Nightmares Brooke Houston [12]
1985 A Summer to Remember Jill [12]
1985 Fever Pitch Amy Taggart [13]
1987 Too Much Suzy [12]
Television performances
Year Title Role Episode(s) Citation(s)
1982 Washington Mistress Jenny Reynolds [12]
1982 King's Crossing [2]
1982 Mae West Mae West (age six) Television film [2]
1983 Gun Shy Celia Six episodes [10]
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre Gretel episode "Hansel and Gretel" [4]
1984 Remington Steele Angel episode "Blood Is Thicker Than Steele" [14]
1984 The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. Alison Lattimer Television film [12]
1986 The Golden Girls Charley episode "The Truth Will Out" [14]
1986 Between Two Women Kate Petherton Television film [12]
1986 The Parent Trap II Mary Grand Television film [15]
1987 CBS Summer Playhouse Jamie Wilde episode "Doctors Wilde" [12]

Awards nominations[edit]

Year(s) Award Category Title of work Result
1981–82 4th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Motion Picture Actress Savannah Smiles Nominated[16]
1982–83 5th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Actress in a Comedy Series Gun Shy Nominated[17]
1983–84 6th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Actress - Guest in a Television Series The Mississippi Nominated[9]
1984–85 7th Youth in Film Awards Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Television Special or Mini-Series A Summer to Remember Nominated[18]


In 2015, actress Amber Tamblyn published her third book of poetry—Dark Sparkler—"featuring elegies to late actresses both legendary and unknown, all who suffered untimely deaths." Andersen is the subject of one such poem, as is pornographic film actor Shannon Michelle Wilsey (1970–1994), whose stage name "Savannah" was derived from Andersen's Savannah Smiles.[6] Wilsey's poem is written as "a meta-poem, where she's writing for Bridgette Andersen, and telling her how they're the same."[11]

When MVD Entertainment Group published Savannah Smiles on DVD in 2018 as part of their MVD Rewind Collection, among the bonus materials included was "a featurette about the memories of Andersen".[19]


  1. ^ a b Bledsoe, Gloria (August 30, 1984). "Child actress a TV and movie 'veteran' at age 9". Statesman Journal. p. 20. ISSN 0739-5507.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Andersen is precocious actress". Havre Daily News. April 23, 1982. p. 18.
  3. ^ a b c d The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Season 22. Episode 26. February 18, 1983. NBC.
  4. ^ a b c d Triplett, Gene (May 16, 1982). "Interview is almost too much for Gene". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Smetanka, Andy (September 4, 2003). "Dead end kids". Colorado Springs Independent. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2018. Or, how Hollywood eats its child actors
  6. ^ a b c Turnbow, Tina (April 7, 2015). "Amber Tamblyn Talks to Us About Her New Poetry Book Inspired By Dead Starlets". Paper. Paper Communications. ISSN 1073-9122. Archived from the original on August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (July 31, 2011). "'Savannah Smiles' child star dies young". Jacksonville Daily News. p. 31. OCLC 30050468. Bridgette Andersen, who played Savannah, worked at times following this movie, including in the TV comedy 'Gun Shy.'
  8. ^ a b c d "All-American Country Music Stars Belie Typical Lyrics". The Cumberland News. June 26, 1982. p. 22.
  9. ^ a b "6th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1983–84. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Leszczak, Bob (2016). "Gun Shy". Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s: A Complete Guide (illustrated ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7864-9958-8.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Zack (February 23, 2016). "Interview: Actress and Poet Amber Tamblyn Surveys Hollywood's Toll on Women in Dark Sparkler". Indy Week. ISSN 0737-8254. Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Filmography for Bridgette Andersen". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  13. ^ Brody, Richard (October 13, 2016). "Richard Brooks's 'Fever Pitch' Never Got Its Due". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. ISSN 0028-792X. OCLC 320541675. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Bridgette Andersen List of Movies and TV Shows | TV Guide". TV Guide. ISSN 0039-8543. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  15. ^ Ferber, Taylor (February 27, 2016). "Disney Child Stars Who Met With Incredibly Tragic Fates". VH1. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2018. Unfortunately, no one ever saw any of this coming.
  16. ^ "4th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1981–82. Archived from the original on March 10, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  17. ^ "5th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1982–83. Archived from the original on April 3, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "7th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1984–85. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Barta, Preston (May 18, 2018). "DVD reviews: 'Die Hard' turns 30 with high-definition explosions". Denton Record-Chronicle. Bill Patterson. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2018.

External links[edit]