Can’t Buy Me Love, from 1987, was one of the original “cool kid helps nerd become popular” high school movies, or maybe it just felt that way to me because the love interest and I shared a last name. In any case, Amanda Peterson, who played popular cheerleader Cindy Mancini opposite Patrick Dempsey’s nerd who pays her to get popular in the sleeper hit, was surely many a young boy’s first movie crush. She died sometime this week.
We spoke with Peterson’s father who tells us … the family hadn’t heard from 43-year-old Amanda since July 3rd and became concerned. Her body was finally discovered in her home on July 5.
As for cause of death, Peterson’s father tells us they don’t know the official cause of death — but notes, “She had some illness and a sleep apnea problem that may have contributed.”
We’re also told Peterson had been dealing with several medical issues over the past 2 years — including pneumonia, sinusitis and sleep apnea.
We’re told she went back to school several years ago — but dropped out around 2010. Recently, we’re told she had been trying to make it as a writer.
Peterson was only 43, making her one of the only stars of a high school movie to actually be high-school aged in the movie. She was 16 at the time of shooting, as captured in a Pittsburgh Press article that included Peterson’s photo above the incredible (and sadly ironic now) caption “No tough times yet.”
Can’t Buy Me Love was filmed in Tucson, Ariz., last winter under the title “Boy Rents Girl,” but changed in post-production when the rights to use the Beatles’ song were obtained.
“I haven’t seen the whole film put together, Miss Peterson says. “It’s very hard for me to watch myself. My feelings are a mixture because, I don’t know, it’s just, I was working with raw talent because I never trailed with anyone. I’m a little self-conscious. Any actor always feels he could achieve a little more.”