Amanda Peterson, who was best known for starring opposite Patrick Dempsey in the 1980s romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, died Sunday. She was 43.
People confirmed that the actress, who played teen Cindy Mancini, was found dead in her home in Greeley, Colorado on Sunday. Joseph Tymkowych of the Greenley Police Department stated that the “reporting party” tried to contact Peterson when she did not show up “for an arranged meeting.” Peterson’s father told TMZ that the family had not heard from her since Friday.
Investigators went to her home, and after Peterson failed to respond to a knock, they entered to find her lifeless. The official cause of death is still unknown. Peterson’s mother, Sylvia, said that the cause could be linked to her sleep apnea.
Sylvia was shocked by her death. She added that her daughter had a “wonderful day” and the two were planning to go to dinner the next night. “It was just a very, very big surprise,” Sylvia said.
Peterson’s latest appearance on screen was as Julie Moore in the 1994 family film Windrunner. She also starred alongside Ethan Hawke and the late River Phoenix in the 1985 film Explorers, and she appeared in the 1982 musical film Annie and the 1989 drama Listen to Me.
Peterson also had some TV time during her career. She played in NBC’s miniseries A Year in the Life in 1986 and paved the way for a show of the same title that ran from 1987-1988. She played Sunny Sisk. She also guest starred on Doogie Howser, MD.
Several celebrities and loved ones took to Twitter to express their condolences. Sarah Michelle Geller tweeted Monday that when she was young, she wished she was Amanda Peterson. “I even asked my mom for a white leather fringe jacket #RipAmandaPeterson,” Geller wrote.
Donald Fiason also tweeted “RIP Amanda Peterson.” He also wrote that Cindy Mancini was his very first crush.
Fellow orphan in the 1982 version of Annie Meredith Salenger, Lance Bass, Dane Cook, Will Friedle, Scott Foley, Michael Rosenbaum and Neil Patrick Harris were among others who gave Peterson a nod. “When I first came to L.A. and started auditioning, Amanda Peterson gave me advice, tips, friendship,” Harris tweeted.
Peterson retired from the entertainment industry in 1994, but during her time, her talent positively affected millions. Peterson is survived by her second husband David Hartley, her two children and her parents.