Actor Amanda Peterson, briefly a star name in Hollywood following her turn as an Arizona cheerleader in the 1980s romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, has died at the age of 43.
The twice-married mother of two was found alone at her home, an apartment complex in Greeley, Colorado, on 5 July. Police do not suspect foul play and the actor’s father told TMZ Peterson suffered from sleep apnea, with pneumonia and sinusitis also cited among her recent health issues. However, there is no official cause of death.
Peterson starred as cheerleader Cindy Mancini in Steve Rash’s 1987 film, which emerged during the same period as similarly pitched John Hughes high-school classics Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful. The movie features Patrick Dempsey – still a Hollywood star in films such as Enchanted, Made of Honor and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – as a teenage “nerd” who pays a popular student at his high school $1,000 (£647,000) to act as his girlfriend for a month.
Peterson retired from acting more than two decades ago at the age of 23; her final screen credit was the 1994 film Windrunner. Her CV also includes a brief appearance, at nine, in 1982’s Annie, as well as turns in the 80s films Explorers, The Lawless Land and Listen to Me, and TV shows A Year in the Life and Doogie Howser, MD.
She is survived by her second husband, David Hartley, and her two children.
Actor Meredith Salenger, who appeared alongside Peterson in Annie, tweeted photographs of the pair together during the 1980s. “Rest in peace my dear old friend,” she wrote. “Amanda Peterson. I loved you.”