Amanda Peterson, the actor who played the love interest of the geeky Patrick Dempsey character in the ‘80s flick Can’t Buy Me Love, has passed away at the age of 43.
According to the Associated Press, Peterson was found dead in her home in Greeley, Colorado. The cause of death has not been confirmed, but some sources suggest that she had previously struggled with medical issues ranging from sleep apnea to sinusitis and pneumonia that may have been contributing factors in her death. No official statement has been released, however, from the police or family.
Peterson left the acting scene behind more than 20 years ago, last appearing in the movie Windrunner back in 1994. However, the romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), in which Peterson plays the lead character Cindy Mancini opposite Dempsey (as nerdy Ronald Miller) made her a household name, and a solidified teen crush. In the film, the lanky Ronald makes a deal with Cindy, the popular cheerleader, to pretend she’s his girlfriend. And of course, as typical ‘80s romantic comedy formula would suggest, the two end up really falling in love, ending with that iconic lawn mower scene, with the two riding into the sunset together.
While the movie wasn’t an initial huge box office hit surprising in an era that spawned similar films like Sixteen Candles – it was considered a sleeper hit through its summer release, and catapulted both lead actors onto the covers of major teen magazines. And while Peterson has been out of the spotlight for some time, her role in that film has inspired nostalgia for the ’80s generation that has lasted decades.
Also to Peterson’s credit is a role in Annie at the age of nine, guest spots on Father Murphy and Silver Spoons, a lead role in Boone, an early ‘80s sitcom that only ran for one season, and a guest appearance on Doogie Howser, M.D. in 1990.
Peterson leaves behind her husband, David Hartley and two children.