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Amanda Peterson

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Nationality  American
Name  Amanda Peterson
Years active  1982–95

Occupation  Actress
Other names  Mandy Peterson
Role  Actress
Amanda Peterson with a serious face, curly blonde hair, and wearing earrings.

Full Name  Phyllis Amanda Peterson
Born  July 8, 1971 (1971-07-08) Greeley, Colorado, U.S.
Cause of death  Accidental drug overdose
Alma mater  Middlebury CollegeUniversity of Northern ColoradoColorado State University
Died  July 3, 2015, Greeley, Colorado, United States
Spouse  Joseph Robert Skutvik (m. ?–1999)
Siblings  Ann Marie Peterson, Jimmy Peterson
Education  Middlebury College (1989–1990)
Movies  Can't Buy Me Love, Annie, Explorers, Listen to Me, Windrunner
Similar People  Patrick Dempsey, Tina Caspary, Darcy DeMoss, Seth Green, Courtney Gains

Amanda peterson s family struggles to deal with news of actress death

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


Amanda Peterson with a serious face, curly blonde hair, and wearing a white shirt.

can t buy me love actress amanda peterson died from accidental drug overdose

Early life

Peterson was born in Greeley, Colorado, the youngest of three children born to James Peterson, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and his wife Sylvia. She had two older siblings: a sister, Anne Marie and a brother, James, Jr. Peterson began acting as a child and used the name "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.


Young Amanda Peterson with a smiling face, blonde hair, and wearing a white shirt.

Peterson made her stage debut at age 7 as Gretl in the University of Northern Colorado's stage production of The Sound of Music. 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. She also appeared in more than fifty television commercials. During the 1983–84 television season, she co-starred as Squirt Sawyer on the NBC drama series Boone. Boone was canceled after one season.

Amanda Peterson with a sad face, blonde hair, and wearing an orange shirt.

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. It was later adapted into a television series of the same name that aired on NBC from 1987 to 1988. For her work on the series, Peterson won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series. Despite being critically acclaimed, A Year in the Life was canceled after one season.

Amanda Peterson was arrested in the years 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2012.

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. Released in the summer of 1987, Can't Buy Me Love received mixed reviews but became the sleeper hit of the summer. 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.

Amanda Peterson smiling, with curly blonde hair, and wearing a white and black shirt.

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. Later that same year, Peterson returned to Greeley where she graduated from University High School (while working in Los Angeles, she was privately tutored). Shortly after graduating, she starred in the television movie Fatal Charm. That fall, Peterson enrolled at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. While on semester break, she appeared in a guest spot on Doogie Howser, M.D. Later that year, Peterson dropped out of Middlebury College. In 1994, she returned to acting in the fantasy film WindRunner, starring Jason Wiles. It was Peterson's final onscreen role.

Later years

Amanda Peterson was arrested in the years 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2012.

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 to "...choose a new path in her life". After having briefly attended Middlebury College, she enrolled at Colorado State University for a year. Peterson later studied at the University of Northern Colorado. In 2012, she briefly modeled for a Colorado photographer.

Amanda Peterson with a serious face, wavy blonde hair, and wearing a sweatshirt.

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

Amanda Peterson with a serious face, curly blonde hair, and wearing a white shirt.

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. From September to December 2005, she spent nearly three months in jail. 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. 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". He also stated that, in recent years, Peterson had suffered from sleep apnea and bouts of pneumonia and sinusitis. 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.


Amanda Peterson was arrested in the year 2000.

On July 3, 2015, Peterson died at her home in Greeley, Colorado at the age of 43, five days before her 44th birthday. Her body was discovered on July 5 by police when her family became concerned after Peterson missed a scheduled family dinner. 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.

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight shortly after Peterson's death, her mother 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".

An autopsy to determine the cause of Peterson's death was scheduled by the Weld County coroner for July 6 with the results of the autopsy and toxicology tests released on September 2, 2015. The medical examiner determined that Peterson died of an accidental drug overdose. According to the coroner's report, Peterson had undergone a hysterectomy shortly before her death and was prescribed Gabapentin for post-surgical pain management. Peterson was taking morphine at the time of her death; according to the report, she obtained the drug from a friend a week before she died. The report noted Peterson had prescription medications present in her system when she died that included drugs for treating lung and heart disease, anti-psychotics, and an anti-anxiety medication. Opiates and marijuana were also detected in her system. The coroner's report concluded Peterson experienced a "morphine effect" that triggered respiratory failure leading to her death.

In a September 2015 interview with talk show The Doctors, Peterson's family revealed that she was raped at age 15 and had not disclosed it at the time.


Windrunner as
Julie Moore
Jack's Place (TV Series) as
Elodie Rayburn
- True Love Ways (1993) - Elodie Rayburn
- Faithful Henry (1993) - Elodie Rayburn
- Gypsies, Champs and Thieves (1993) - Elodie Rayburn
- Who Knew? (1993) - Elodie Rayburn
Posing: Inspired by Three Real Stories (TV Movie) as
Abigail Baywood
Hell Hath No Fury (TV Movie) as
Michelle Ferguson
Fatal Charm (Video) as
Doogie Howser, M.D. (TV Series) as
Bernadette Callen
- Vinnie's Blind Date (1990) - Bernadette Callen
Listen to Me as
Donna Lumis
Love and Betrayal (TV Movie) as
A Year in the Life (TV Series) as
Sunny Sisk
- Love Mother (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Peter Creek Road (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- The Politics of Being (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Glory Days (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Common Ground (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Fathers and Other Strangers (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- The Go-Between (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Goodbye to All That (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- The Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- Sometimes It's Hard to Remember (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- The Little Disturbance of Man (1988) - Sunny Sisk
- While Someone Else Is Eating or Opening a Window (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- So Much Water So Close to Home (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- I Think You Know Something I Don't Know (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- In Dreams Begin Responsibilities (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- Acts of Faith (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- EM7, Raiders Minus 3 and a Half for a Nickel (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- Dixie Chicken (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- What Do People Do All Day? (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- What Do You Think Love Is? (1987) - Sunny Sisk (credit only)
- Things You Should Know Before and After (1987) - Sunny Sisk
- Don't I Know You from Somewhere? (1987) - Sunny Sisk
The Lawless Land as
Can't Buy Me Love as
Cindy Mancini
Carly Mills (TV Movie) as
Trisha Mills
A Year in the Life (TV Mini Series) as
Sunny Sisk
- Christmas '86 (1986) - Sunny Sisk
- Springtime/Autumn (1986) - Sunny Sisk
- The First Christmas (1986) - Sunny Sisk
Explorers as
Lori Swenson
And the Children Shall Lead (TV Movie) as
Boone (TV Series) as
Squirt Sawyer
- The Runaway (1984) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Front Line (1984) - Squirt Sawyer
- Hard to Get (1984) - Squirt Sawyer
- Words and Music (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Auction (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- Chance of a Lifetime (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Graduation (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Decision (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- Second Fiddle (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Trial (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- Banjo (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Last Dance (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
- The Monument (1983) - Squirt Sawyer
Best Kept Secrets (TV Movie) as
Silver Spoons (TV Series) as
Sally Frumbel
- Takin' a Chance on Love (1982) - Sally Frumbel
Annie as
Dancer (as Mandy Peterson)
Father Murphy (TV Series) as
- Matthew and Elizabeth (1982) - Elizabeth
Archive Footage
Entertainment Tonight (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 28 December 2015 (2015) - Self
- Episode dated 11 July 2015 (2015) - Self
- Episode dated 7 July 2015 (2015) - Self
The Doctors (TV Series) as
- Actress Amanda Peterson's Family Addresses Rumors Surrounding Her Untimely Death/Music Superstar Tim McGraw (2015) - Self
E! True Hollywood Story (TV Series documentary) as
Cindy Mancini in 'Can't Buy Me Love'
- Patrick Dempsey (2007) - Cindy Mancini in 'Can't Buy Me Love'


Amanda Peterson Wikipedia