Bridgette Andersen

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Bridgette Andersen
Bridgette Andersen.jpg
Andersen in Savannah Smiles in 1982
Born 1975/1976
Died 1997 (aged 21)
Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles County, California
Cause of death Opioid overdose
Residence Malibu, California (1982)
Occupation Actress and model
Years active late 1970s –
  • Frank Andersen (father)

Bridgette Andersen (born 1975 or 1976)[1] was an actress and model.

Personal life[edit]

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. In April 1982, Andersen lived in Malibu, California[1] with her mother, father (Frank Andersen), older brother, and younger sister.[2]

Andersen died of an opioid overdose in 1997[3], on Santa Monica Boulevard,[4] at the age of 21.[5]


Andersen began her career at age two,[2] and spent three years fashion modeling and acting in television advertisements. She also appeared in television shows including King's Crossing and Washington Mistress.[1]

In 1982, Andersen starred as Savannah Driscoll in the 1982 film Savannah Smiles. Writer and co-star Mark Miller was inspired by[6]—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,[2] so Mark Miller auditioned almost 150 children before discovering and choosing Andersen for the part.[6] In a contemporary interview, Andersen opined that she and the Driscoll character were "like twins! We do the same things."[2] According to The Cumberland Times, only three months after the release of Savannah Smiles, Miller was already writing another script to star Andersen.[6]

That same year, Andersen portrayed the six-year-old Mae West in the biographical television film, Mae West.[1] 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; six episodes were aired.[7]

In her teen years, Andersen had trouble finding acting work.[4][8]

Acting credits[edit]

Film performances
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Savannah Smiles Savannah Driscoll
1985 Fever Pitch [9] Amy Taggart
Television performances
Year Title Role Notes
1982 King's Crossing
1982 Mae West Mae West (at age six) Television film
1983 Gun Shy Celia Six episodes
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre Gretel episode "Hansel and Gretel" [2]
1986 The Parent Trap II [10] Mary Grand Television film


In 2015, actress Amber Tamblyn published her third book of poetryDark 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 Anderson's Savannah Smiles.[4] Wilsey's poem is written as "a meta-poem, where she's writing for Bridgette Andersen, and telling her how they're the same."[8]

When MVD Entertainment Group published Savannah Smiles on Blu-ray in 2018 as part of their MVD Rewind Collection, among the bonus materials included was "a featurette about the memories of Andersen".[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "Andersen is precocious actress". Havre Daily News. 1982-04-23. p. 18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Triplett, Gene (1982-05-16). "Interview is almost too much for Gene". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. Archived from the original on 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2018-08-24. 
  3. ^ Smetanka, Andy (2003-09-04). "Dead end kids". Colorado Springs Independent. Archived from the original on 2015-09-13. Retrieved 2018-08-18. Or, how Hollywood eats its child actors 
  4. ^ a b c Turnbow, Tina (2015-04-07). "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 2018-08-20. Retrieved 2018-08-20. 
  5. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (2011-07-31). "'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.' 
  6. ^ a b c "All-American Country Music Stars Belie Typical Lyrics". The Cumberland News. 1982-06-26. p. 22. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b Smith, Zack (2016-02-23). "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 2017-06-24. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  9. ^ Brody, Richard (2016-10-13). "Richard Brooks's 'Fever Pitch' Never Got Its Due". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. ISSN 0028-792X. OCLC 320541675. Archived from the original on 2017-10-20. Retrieved 2018-08-23. 
  10. ^ Ferber, Taylor (2016-02-27). "Disney Child Stars Who Met With Incredibly Tragic Fates". VH1. Archived from the original on 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2018-08-23. Unfortunately, no one ever saw any of this coming. 
  11. ^ Barta, Preston (2018-05-18). "DVD reviews: 'Die Hard' turns 30 with high-definition explosions". Denton Record-Chronicle. Bill Patterson. Archived from the original on 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-08-21. 

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