The following is the pilot episode of the 1986 TV series entitled "Carly Mills," in which Amanda co-starred as the eldest daughter of the Mills' Family, Trisha.
In spite of a good cast and storyline the pilot was never picked up by ABC or aired on television.
Given that this pilot was never aired, few if any Amanda Peterson fans have ever seen it before. So this author has embedded the Carly Mills' pilot below.
Amanda would soon go on to play the role of Sunny Sisk in the award winning "A Year In The Life" three part TV mini series, and the spin off TV series of the same name a year later.
However, it was her breakout performance in the 1987 romantic comedy "Can't Buy Me Love," which would forever immortalize Amanda as the archetypal all American girl next door (Cheerleader Cindy Mancini), and give her international fame.
Carly Mills Pilot from Connie Bell on Vimeo.
Over The Past Few Decades "Can't Buy Me Love" Has Become The Iconic Romantic Comedy That It Has, Largely Due To The Exceptional Acting Talent Of Amanda Peterson, Whose Career Should Have Skyrocketed After This Movie's Success At The Box Office, Yet For Mysterious Reasons Did Not - What Actually Happened To Amanda Has Become A Matter Of Conjecture By Her Millions Of Fans; Those Whom To This Very Day Lament The Loss Of This Extraordinary Talent From The Acting Community
"I just love to act. I like to get away, totally play a different character, someone you can get really involved in knowing. I've gotten really involved in some characters and written down little summaries of where they live and what their families are like. You can really get into it -- especially in the movies, where you really have the time to get into your character and play her well."
"After all these years Amanda remained the sweetheart with whom we all fell in love after seeing "Can't Buy Me Love." Even though she's passed into the next world now, we can never forget that vulnerable look, her radiant smile, or those expressive, soulful eyes, which will ensure that this beautiful Angel remains in our hearts forever."
"Can't Buy Me Love" may have been an extremely low budget film *($1.8 million to produce and later purchased by Touchstone for $6 million after Tri-Star decided to pass on the movie) with relatively unknown actors at the time, however, it has since become a cult classic for fans of both Amanda Peterson and Patrick Dempsey, and leaves its viewer with that ever important "feel good" factor that will keep you coming back for more.
It still amazes me how many fans of this movie have stated that they routinely watch it when it is on TV, and enjoy it just as much as they did the first time they saw it.
One of the most wonderful aspects of this classic romantic comedy is just how beautiful composer Robert Folk's musical score is. And the music is always just perfect during those tender moments between Cindy and Ronald.
Someone recently uploaded the musical score to Can't Buy Me Love on the Internet so I have embedded it here so that you can listen to it while you are reading through this homage to teen-hood.
* Consider that in 1987, this movie earned more than $30 million at the box office, more than 20 times what it cost to produce. Not only was "Can't Buy Me Love" the third highest grossing film of 1987 (not bad when you consider that some terrific movies including "Wall Street" and "Project X" were produced that same year), it has since become one the most profitable Hollywood movies ever produced.
IMDB has "Can't Buy Me Love" ranked 55th of the top 100 highest grossing romantic comedies produced during the 1980s and '90s.
See:IMDB ranking for the highest grossing romantic comedies of the 1980s and '90s
Few movies in the history of Hollywood have ever earned such a substantial profit from such a minimal production cost. The key here was that both the writer as well as the co-stars of the movie were relative unknowns in Hollywood, so they worked cheap, while Touchstone profited handsomely from its shrewd investment.
The fact that the production quality as well as the lead actors in "Can't Buy Me Love" were as good as they were, only further served to ensure the success of what has since become a cult classic that is regularly shown on TV stations around the world.
Moreover, many fans of the movie consider "Can't Buy Me Love" to be the best "teen" romantic comedy that's ever been made, which might help to explain why 27 years after it first aired on the silver screen, this movie is still routinely shown in syndication, attracting an entirely new generation of fans every decade or so.
A year earlier, before she starred in "Can't Buy Me Love," *Amanda was cast in a supporting role in the TV mini series "A Year In The Life" - which not only won an Emmy Award for best TV drama of 1986, but was also so well received, that it would later spawn a TV series by the same name.
*By the time that she was only twenty, Amanda had appeared in more than fifty TV commercials, four TV series, one Emmy Award winning mini series, five made for TV movies, and five Hollywood feature films, including one of the three top grossing films of 1987 - which would ultimately serve to her immortalize her as a teenage heartthrob - "Can't Buy Me Love."
Amanda had also been nominated in the best young actress award category five times, including for "Can't Buy Me Love," and ultimately won the award in *1988 for her outstanding performance as "Sunshine (Sunny) Sisk" in the NBC TV series "A Year In The Life."
Melissa Brennan, "Days of Our Lives" NBC
Kristi Clark, "Days of Our Lives" NBC
Alyson Croft, "Dallas" CBS
Shannen Doherty, "Our House" NBC
Ami Dolenz, "General Hospital" ABC
Keri Houlihan, "Our House" NBC
Kimberly McCullough, "General Hospital" ABC
Amy Lynn, "The Young and the Restless" CBS
*Also See The Website:Young Artists Awards 1986/1987
This excellent series included veteran actors Richard Kiley and *Eva Marie Saint, who headed up a lesser known cast. It was just unfortunate that Saint's character was killed off in a car accident early on in the first part of this series, since she is ever so talented and could have continued to enhance the series as its producers developed new episodes.
* I first became familiar with Eva Marie Saint when I was a child. My parents took me to see the movie Grand Prix when it first aired in theaters in 1966. Eva Marie portrayed a writer who was doing a story on Formula One racing, when she falls in love with the head driver of the Ferrari team, played by Yves Montand, and is ultimately devastated when he is tragically killed in the last race of the Formula One season.
The late James Garner, one of the finest and most underrated actors in the history of Hollywood, also gave a superb performance in this movie, as Formula One race car driver, Pete Aaron.
The fact that Garner was a first rate driver (who also did all of his own driving stunts in the 1970's TV series The Rockford Files) only added to the realism of Grand Prix.
The movie was filmed in Europe and much of its footage was actually taken from the 1966 Formula One Grand Prix series, which really helped to make this movie the classic that it has since become .
My favorite of Eva Marie's movies is as an undercover CIA agent playing opposite Cary Grant, in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 psychological thriller, North By Northwest.
** Diana Muldaur, another very talented actress, would ultimately replace Eva Marie as Richard Kiley's love interest in the third and final part of "A Year In The Life."
As for Amanda, she did not have much of a role in this mini-series, as her character is sent off to live with her father towards the end of part one, and aside from returning to attend her grandmother's funeral at the very end of part one, does not return until the third and final chapter of the series.
In spite of this, Amanda is memorable for her role as Sunshine (Sunny) Sisk, the daughter of two hippie parents, now divorced, whose radiant smile not only reminded this writer of a young Christie Brinkley, but that could also light up the proverbial room.
Moreover, if I had a dollar for every young man who has ever fallen in love with Amanda Peterson after seeing one of the performances that she did in a feature film or TV series once she'd entered adulthood, I'd be rich.
Fortunately, Amanda would be given more air time in the "A Year In The Life" TV series which aired two years after the mini-series, as her character (Sunshine "Sunny" Sisk) is developed, and the audience is treated to several very compelling performances by one of the most gifted and *beautiful young actresses of her day.
Since Amanda has passed away, the entire "A Year In The Life" TV Series has been uploaded to YouTube. This series followed the 1986 three part mini series of the same name, and Amanda's break out role as Cindy Mancini in the now cult classic Romantic Comedy "Can't Buy Me Love."
The A Year In The Life TV Series showcases Amanda's tremendous talent, and had this series lasted for a number of years as it should rightfully have - given its talented cast and superb scripts - Mandy may have reached the A List superstardom that she was worthy of.
As it is she still managed to become an international star with "Can't Buy Me Love."
One thing's for certain. Amanda was an incredibly talented and beautiful lady who had the type of magnetism that made her impossible to forget.
* There have been myriad posts on Internet Websites over the past several years in regard to the popularity of "Can't Buy Me Love," made by many of the then young males who remembered this movie from when it first aired in theaters around the United States in 1987 - describing how they'd had a "teen crush" on Amanda's character, Cindy Mancini. Many of them stating that the Colorado native was the most naturally beautiful young woman whom they had ever seen.
All this author can say in response to their astute observations, is that there was absolutely nothing wrong with their eyesight.
To put it quite simply, Amanda was beautiful. In fact, she had a natural beauty that was not just physical, but instead which radiated from her inner beauty; because Mandy was in fact a beautiful spirit.
And she had this incredible impish smile that was irresistible. I've never seen anyone with a more beautiful smile, or a more infectious laugh.
Moreover, if there has ever been a more beautiful and radiant looking woman than Amanda Peterson, this author has yet to see her, since Amanda had that rare combination of both physical as well as inner beauty, confidence, poise and grace, that defined her as a woman - who quite literally was so unique - that she was without equal.
Or as the French like to say: Sans Pareil.
As such, it was more than just Amanda's physical beauty that captivated her fans during her acting career, since she was also able to project her own internal strength as a person into the characters which she portrayed, while giving them a vulnerability, which would ultimately make Amanda, herself, irresistible to those of us who have since come to appreciate this immensely talented actress.
More specifically, there was an emotiveness to Amanda which reminds this writer of a great theatrical actor, whose depth could stir the very souls of their most ardent critics.
And that is because these types of actors are born, not created, since it is from within the very depths of their own psyches that they are communicating with us.
As for the "A Year In The Life" TV series, unfortunately, this excellent program, which in many ways reminds me of the Family TV drama of the 1970s, and talented actors like Sada Thompson, James Broderick, and Christy McNichol, lasted for only 22 episodes.
Like all too many of the more cerebral shows of the time, which actually challenged their viewers to think about social issues and other important topics, "A Year In The Life" was cancelled just as it was starting to build a loyal viewership.
A decade earlier the networks would have been more likely to give a new TV program a chance before they decided to cancel it. However, by the late '80s, there were a number of new TV shows which were cancelled after only a few episodes.
As such, had "A Year In The Life" aired a decade or two before it did, it may have actually become a major success, and like "Family," run for a number of years.
In reference to this, I remember veteran actor, Jack Klugman, once saying that had the "Odd Couple" TV series been produced a few decades after it had been, the series would have been cancelled before it had ever had the chance to build a loyal audience, because the sitcom got off to a slow start.
Sadly, and despite her tremendous attributes as an actress, while Patrick Dempsey was able to go on to other films which helped to cement his role as both a solid Hollywood as well as TV actor - who'd been able to make the transition from child to adult actor in a fairly seamless way - Amanda Peterson was not nearly as fortunate.
That's not to say that Dempsey had it easy, because he has had his fair share of ups and downs in what may likely be the most precarious profession there is.
In fact, when interviewed on "Ellen" a few years back in regard to the upcoming 10Th Anniversary of the TV series that Patrick was starring in at the time (and remains in) entitled Grey's Anatomy, he was asked if he would like to see the show make it to its 20 year anniversary, and set a precedent by becoming the longest running TV series in history.
His *humble reply was that whether the show lasted that long or not, he was just glad to have the work.
*Patrick's streak of good fortune in the acting world hit a snag in 2014, when he was fired from the TV drama "Grey's Anatomy."
Unlike Patrick, and in spite of her considerable talent and charisma, the roles which Amanda was offered once "A Year In The Life" ended, *became very limited.
* Rumors abound in regard to why she left Hollywood, which range from being typecast, to drug abuse, to refusing to submit to the typical "Being Chased Around The Casting Couch" which so many young actresses are unfairly subjected to, yet which many eventually submit to, in an effort to remain employed in this industry.
It would not surprise this writer in the least if Amanda refused to compromise herself or to acquiesce to such dirty politics, and left the Hollywood scene just to get away from such underhandedness.
If so, Amanda has likely paid the price for it, since Hollywood does not take kindly to actors who have integrity, and refuse to be bullied by the oftentimes treacherous people who oversee this industry.
Her myriad fans have also paid the price; those who've missed seeing Amanda appear in new productions over the years, in which she could have continued to hone her acting skills and taken on various adult roles as she's aged.
Since like a fine wine, Amanda would have only gotten better with age.
Instead, we are left wondering what might have been, as well as whatever actually became of this charming young woman.
Moreover, Hollywood has always been a textbook example of supply and demand. And the fact is that there are far too many actors for the scant number of TV series and feature films which tinsel town turns out each year.
Combine this with the fact that many of the TV programs and feature films produced are at best mediocre, and you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do of actually finding work, much less having a long and successful career in Hollywood.
In this author's opinion, this has been the case for Amanda Peterson, as well as many other fine actors who were, in spite of their dedication to acting and hard work, never quite able to find the success that they truly deserved as artists.
In regard to Amanda this is particularly upsetting, as we recall how charming she was at the height of her career in 1987, in the process of segueing from child to adult actress, while doing *radio and TV interviews promoting "Can't Buy Me Love," as her fans wondered if the sky would truly be the limit for this Colorado born all American girl next door.
*As a bit of trivia, in 1987, Amanda did a radio **interview with Howard Stern and the late comedian, Steve Rossi, while promoting "Can't Buy Me Love," in which Stern is completely taken with her beauty and acting ability, and tells her how he thinks that she is going to become a big star.
Amanda was very gracious and easygoing during the interview, giggling at times while often acting as the foil to Howard's "Sternisms" yet overall, taking the interview in stride with a maturity well beyond her years.
Moreover, taking into account his giddiness during the interview, one might have wondered at the time if Howard, himself, had not secretly fallen in love with Amanda, citing since how actor Joe Piscoppo was romantically involved with a 19 year old girl, why couldn't he be with Amanda?
It is interesting to note that Howard would later divorce his wife of 23 years and marry actress Beth Ostrosky, who not only looks more than a bit like Amanda, but is now also in her early 40s.
Nearly three decades later, one can now only wonder where Amanda, with her radiant smile, earthy beauty, and down to earth personality would have been today, if she had only been given access to roles which would have allowed her to make the transition - not only from child to adult actor - but from B list to A list movies?
Moreover, if one considers some of the better movies which have been produced over the past few decades and imagines Amanda Peterson acting in place of some of the actresses who've made these movies famous, such as Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Camilla Belle, Rachael McAdams, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julia Roberts and a passel of other talented actresses, I believe that Amanda would have held her own against the best of them, while also bringing her own uniqueness to each role.
It may sound cliché, but as an actress who could make any part she played (whether it was in a Hollywood movie or TV production) her own, Amanda Peterson was one of a kind.
She just had that innate ability to not only make the character she was playing her own, but could steal a scene in much the same way that a talented actress like Meg Ryan (in Top Gun) could, even if she only had a small role in the production.
For this author, it was her combination of these characteristics which captivated me, and that I am certain made Amanda so memorable to her many fans.
Those who would ultimately appear to be as surprised as they were disappointed when they'd learned that this talented young woman had suddenly decided to give up acting by the midst of the 1990s, just when she was really starting to blossom as an actress.
And as one of those fans, I can certainly understand their frustration in regard to Amanda's career ending at the tender age of 24, because this beautiful lady most certainly had the talent to become an A-lister in Hollywood if she had ever been given the opportunity to do so.
I have also found it interesting to note what a number of her fans (as well as fans of "Can't Buy Me Love") have posted on message boards after having watched this movie nowadays, in regard to how we tend to become so immersed while watching "Can't Buy Me Love," that by the time the movie is over and we see Patrick and Amanda riding off into the sunset on his Snapper lawnmower (my favorite movie ending of all time), we've completely forgotten that nearly thirty years have passed since "Can't Buy Me Love" was produced.
As such, we find ourselves having to mentally shake off this momentary "time warp" as the reality that we are all decades older than we were back then returns to us.
We also tend to momentarily forget that the charming sixteen year old whom so many of her fans had had a teen crush on in those days, would now have been well into her forties, and with a life completely separate from the profession and persona that Amanda, for whatever reasons, decided to forego decades earlier.
Like it or not time marches on, even though this is one of the few feature films that has since its inception defined the concept of the "feel good" movie, and as such continues to stand the test of time.
Which makes her contribution in "Can't Buy Me Love" even more meaningful, since Amanda did not have the chance to make many other movies.
And given her talents as an actress, this is truly unfortunate.
Yet, a few of the movies that she did make - including "Can't Be Me Love" and "Explorers" - have become classics, and include other actors who've managed to leave their mark on Hollywood as well.
This includes the late River Phoenix as well as *Ethan Hawke (both of whom are said to have had a real life crush on Amanda - In fact, rumor has it that River Phoenix was actually upset that Amanda actually had a bit of a crush on Ethan Hawke at the time that they made Explorers).
* Of all of Ethan Hawke's movies the "Before Sunrise" trilogy in which he is paired with the lovely Julie Delphy, has truly become one of best independent film productions ever made. Given the role she played in "Can't Buy Me Love," Amanda would have also been an ideal choice for playing Julie Delphy's character in the "Before Sunrise" trilogy.
Picture Amanda with a French accent as she portrays Celine, strolling through downtown Paris with Ethan's character, Jesse, as the two pontificate about life in general, while flirting with each other, and we begin to understand how much we have missed since Amanda left Hollywood.
All of the first rate roles that she could have and should have been given access to, which would have ensured her status on Hollywood's coveted A list.
Moreover, if you have not seen these movies I would highly recommend doing so, since they are filmed on location in Europe, and about as appealing as any movie within the romance genre that has ever been produced.
When it comes to both a romantic atmosphere as well as an intoxicating chemistry between two actors, movies don't get any better than "The Before Sunrise" trilogy.
It's as simple as that.
This is especially true in regard to the first two movies (Before Sunrise & Before Sunset), since Julie and Ethan are in their early twenties in the first movie and their early thirties in the second, and are able to convey both a sense of sexual tension, yet at the same time a cerebral element to their conversations, that is truly palpable.
You wish these movies would never end.
However, by the time we get to the third installment of this trilogy (Before Midnight), Celine and Jesse are now a middle aged married couple with two young daughters, who are struggling to hold onto the magic that they had in their earlier years.
And while Before Midnight does not have quite the same impact as the earlier two movies in this trilogy do, it still manages to pass the acid test for being both provocative and entertaining.
In the earlier two movies, the dialogue between Delphy and Hawkes' characters is so typical of what goes on in the minds of many young people, that the introspective nature of "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" will not only entertain you, but also have you questioning life in general.
As for some of the lesser known movies in which Amanda Peterson has had either a supporting or major role, the 1992 psychological thriller, "Fatal Charm," illustrates how she was becoming typecast by the time that she was in her late teens and early twenties, often still playing high school roles.
Moreover, while in its day "Fatal Charm" was a good movie, yet, not nearly the box office success of "Can't Buy Me Love," in comparison to what is available today - where CGI special effects and poor scripts have become the standard for most of what Hollywood attempts to pass off as cinema - "Fatal Charm" is noticeably superior and entertaining.
And while "Fatal Charm" may not be "Can't Buy Me Love," this psychological thriller does keep you on the edge of your seat, and for awhile there, truly has you wondering if Christopher Atkins' character (Adam Brenner) might really be innocent, and that Amanda Peterson's character (Valerie Richter) is the only one who realizes it.
Overall, while it is strictly a B grade movie, due mainly to its limited budget, "Fatal Charm" is fast paced, fairly suspenseful, and contains a surprisingly good musical score.
In other words, the movie grows on you the further you get into it, and today serves as yet another of the gems made by Amanda, that continue to endear her to us.
"Can't Buy Me Love" (1987), "Fatal Charm" (1992), and "Windrunner" (1995) are all available on Amazon.com on DVD format.
"The Lawless Land" (1988) is extremely rare, and also available on Amazon.com, however, only in VHS format. The prices for this VHS range from about $4.95 for a used copy to $14.95 for a new one.
If you are an Amanda Peterson fan this movie is yet another collectible treasure.
As for "Fatal Charm," when one considers its limited budget, and the fact that it took nearly three years from the time it was produced to the time that the movie would actually be released, it is a wonder that "Fatal Charm" ever even made it to the silver screen at all.
In any event, Peterson's acting here is as always, excellent.
And as previously stated, she has this natural ability to act and plays her roles so convincingly, that Amanda, quite literally, becomes the character she is portraying.
This has never been more true than with the Cindy Mancini character that Amanda played in "Can't Buy Me Love," since she captured this character in such an emotive way, that to this very day Cindy Mancini remains the ultimate stereotype of the All American girl.
As such, it is easy to see why given her innate abilities as an actress, her earthy beauty and gregarious charm, that Amanda was able to earn such high praise and such a significant following during her relatively brief career in Hollywood; being nominated for awards on several occasions, and receiving an award as best young actress in a TV series in *1988, for her portrayal of Sunny Sisk in the 1988 TV series "A Year In The Life."
*Amanda also co-starred in another movie in 1988 entitled "The Lawless Land."
As a bit of trivia here, Amanda's older sister, Ann Marie, who is five years her senior, and like Amanda, also a fair haired, blue eyed beauty, who actually shares much of Amanda's Scandinavian DNA, had a supporting role in The Lawless Land - one of the many post apocalyptic "Orwellian type" movies which were produced during the 1980s.
When being interviewed by Howard Stern in August of 1987, Howard asked Amanda about her experiences performing in "The Lawless Land," which she filmed in Chile, and she described how she was asked to star in the movie by a producer friend of hers from New York, named John Hess.
When asked if she made any real money doing "The Lawless Land" Amanda said that she didn't think so, and instead stated how she just did the movie to gain more acting experience. She also described how when they needed someone to play another character in the movie named Venus, that her older sister, Ann Marie, was chosen for the role.
Amanda's appearance on Howard Stern's radio show lasted about a half hour, and was very enjoyable, since we gain some insights into the lady herself; whom we find is not only a Grateful Dead fan, but also a fan of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.
This is especially important, since to this author's knowledge, it is only one of two interviews that Amanda has ever done with the mainstream media in the United States; the other being her interview with news anchor, Sue Simmons on a the NBC news program "Live At Five." Both of these interviews took place in August of 1987 while Amanda was visiting Manhattan to promote "Can't Buy Me Love."
In fact, they may have actually taken place on the same day.
Also of note here is that while she was being interviewed by Howard Stern, Howard had mentioned that Amanda was going to appear on MTV that evening as a video jockey. However, he didn't say whether she was hosting the program or not.
Perhaps Amanda was going to be playing clips from "Can't Buy Me Love" for the MTV audience, given how the movie had become the sleeper hit of 1987.
In any event, Amanda's fans would certainly find a copy of her MTV appearance to be of great interest (especially if she actually hosted the show), so if any of her fans have a copy of it, they might want to consider uploading it to YouTube.
Especially since Amanda was at the height of her career by this time, and as such, had recently established a following as a teen icon that included millions of adoring fans.
She did a few made for TV movies in the late '80s and early '90s, all of which were well received.
However, by 1993 Amanda would only play a small role in the TV series Jack's Place, in which she would only appear in four episodes: "Faithful Henry," "Who Knew," "Gypsies, Champs And Thieves," and the final episode the series "True Love Ways."
Once again, Amanda would have been excellent in the lead role which actress Finola Hughes was cast in, which serves as yet another example of her tremendous talent being under-utilized. After that, she would appear in her last movie, "Windrunner" (1994) which was a fairly decent movie, yet, went directly to DVD.
So why did this extraordinarily talented actress disappear from the Hollywood scene by the mid 1990s?
This is a question that millions of her fans continue to ask themselves.
Professional jealousy, perhaps?
Given the petty jealousy that exists within this profession, it would not surprise this writer in the least if Amanda was also discriminated against by the agents of some of the more established young actresses whom she would have been competing with by the late 1980s, because her considerable talents may have threatened their ability to get work.
If so, this would have also greatly limited her ability to get better acting roles, or even eventually resulted in her being quietly driven out of the industry altogether.
As another piece of trivia, if you are an Amanda Peterson fan you will find that "Fatal Charm" is probably the only movie that she has made in which her character has as much screen time as that of her co-star, Christopher Atkins, who also plays her love interest in the 1989 movie "Listen To Me."
Even in "Can't Buy Me Love," *Patrick Dempsey's character had a bit more time on screen than Amanda's character did.
* For those who appreciate Dempsey's one liners and his athletic prowess (Patrick is a superb athlete and first rate skier), you'll probably enjoy the 1991 action movie "Run" in which he has a starring role as a law student who ends up being hunted by the mob, after he is blamed for the accidental death of a mob bosses' son. This is a very underrated movie which was not very successful at the box office. However, in this writer's opinion the movie should have been more warmly received than it was, since it was a suspenseful cliffhanger in which actress Kelley Preston also gives a credible performance in a supporting role to Dempsey's.
As for her career winding down prematurely, having worked *sporadically between the time that she did "Fatal Charm" and her last movie role in 1994's "Windrunner," in the latter, Amanda would again find herself being typecast, with a small yet significant role in this movie, while managing to use her considerable talent to make the few scenes that she actually appeared in seem memorable.
In this author's experience, when I watch any of the movies in which Amanda did not have a starring role, I find myself asking why she did not have a larger part in the movie, since she draws her audience in in such a way that really captivates them.
For instance, in "Listen To Me" Amanda would have done an excellent job playing the character that Jamie Gertz portrayed. Not that there was anything wrong with how Gertz played her character. I just felt that Amanda would have brought a greater depth to this character.
I have also envisioned her acting in many of the more famous roles made in Hollywood movies by other well known actresses, knowing that Amanda would have been able to bring her own internal strength and artistry to these characters.
As for "Windrunner," while it was a decent movie that reminded this author of the 1984 movie "The Karate Kid," it was another low budget film that was well beneath Amanda's tremendous talent, and which would end up going straight to DVD.
A few years earlier in 1990, Amanda guest starred in an episode of Doogie Howser M.D. entitled "Vinnie's Blind Date," which is embedded below.
*Link To Amanda Peterson's Guest Starring Role In The Doogie Howser Episode "Vinnie's Blind Date
This would be one of the last TV appearances that she would make in the 1990s as Amanda's career in Hollywood was coming to a close.
During the time that Amanda made this guest appearance, she was a student at the prestigious Middlebury College in Vermont, and had appeared at the request of producer, Michael Swerdlick - who also wrote and produced Can't Buy Me Love.
* As stated earlier, Amanda also had a small role in the short lived TV series "Jack's Place" (a poorly received attempt at mimicking the 1980's award winning sitcom "Cheers"), playing the character Elodie Rayburn; the girlfriend of one of the main characters in the series played by the late actor John Dye.
In spite of a talented cast, which in addition to Amanda included Hal Linden and Finola Hughes, the series only lasted for one season.
Actor Patrick Macnee, also made a guest appearance in the episode entitled "Faithful Henry," as a British butler who was bequeathed to Finola Hughes' character, Chelsea, after a member of her family passes away. Macnee, one the finest actors of his generation, does a find job of portraying a butler who later works at Jack's Place for a brief time, while charming the restaurant's customers with his British mannerisms.
Decades earlier, Macnee and his co-star, the lovely Diana Rigg, would become international TV icons after they starred in the 1960s' TV Series "The Avengers," where the two would battle a cast of diabolical masterminds in each episode.
The Avengers' series also served as an example of art imitating life, since it showcased many of the arcane technologies which were being used by the British Military Intelligence complex at the time, including an episode on "Broadcast Power," which was directly related to the research done by the brilliant scientist Nikola Tesla decades earlier; technologies which are classified in the modern day, yet used by the global military industrial intelligence complex under the cover of national security. Broadcast power is just another name for the type of directed energy weapons illegally used by many governments in the modern day against their own citizenry.
Finding Internet photos from Jack's Place is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. That is to say that they are scarce.
However, I did manage to find two episodes of Jack's Place on YouTube, including the final episode of the series entitled: "True Love Ways," which I have embedded below.
In this episode, Amanda's character, Elodie Rayburn (not much of a name for such a beautiful lady), is competing in a 24 hour dance marathon with her boyfriend, Greg Toback, played by the late actor John Dye, and their relationship is on the rocks, as he seems more interested in rekindling a former romantic relationship that he'd once had with Finola Hughes' character, Chelsea.
The episode is decent, however, lacks realism if for only one reason. While Finola Hughes is very attractive, it is extremely difficult to imagine any man with excellent eyesight turning Amanda Peterson down for her.
And I could have seen Amanda starring in the role that Finola Hughes' played, which may have perhaps been able to make the series more successful given her beauty, charm and the depth to which Amanda is capable of portraying her characters.
Amanda was in two other TV series, in which she became a regular cast member: "Boone" and "A Year In The Life."
She was also cast to play the character Trisha Mills in the 1986 TV series entitled "Carly Mills," starring actress Kate Mulgrew, except that the pilot - in spite of a good cast and storyline - was never picked up by ABC.
Given that this pilot was never aired, few if any Amanda Peterson fans have ever seen it before. So this author has embedded the Carly Mills' pilot below.
Amanda would soon go on to play the roles of Sunny Sisk in the award winning A Year In The Life three part TV mini series, and the spin off TV series of the same name a year later.
However, it was her breakout performance in the 1987 romantic comedy Can't Buy Me Love, which would forever immortalize Amanda as the archetypal all American girl next door (Cheerleader Cindy Mancini), and give her international fame.
Carly Mills Pilot from Connie Bell on Vimeo.
Amanda played the role of Squirt Sawyer in "Boone," and Sunshine (Sunny) Sisk, in the 1988 "A Year In The Life" TV series.
Each of these were well produced TV series (A Year In The Life was the best TV drama of the 1980s and much like the Family TV drama of the 1970s), with excellent casts and story plots, that should have enabled them to survive much longer than they did.
In fact, when I was researching "A Year In The Life" I found that the show actually had strong ratings in its first year, however, NBC executives had said that they had a problem in finding a new time slot for the show during the following season, so it was cancelled.
According to at least one person, A Year In The Life did very well in its original time slot, however, was moved to another time in order to compete with the Olympics, which hurt its initially strong ratings.
Why not have left this excellent series in the same time spot that it was already in, rather than attempting to move it to another one, since "A Year In The Life" had already earned strong ratings during its initial 1987 run?
One thing that I have noticed in regard to Amanda that remained truly impressive throughout her career is that for such a demure young lady, she had a very strong and inviting personality which can be seen in virtually every character she has ever played.
Her characters are often highly principled and ethical, and she portrays them with tremendous conviction, which is certainly one of the reasons why Amanda remains so well thought of after all of these years.
However, from this author's perspective, it would appear that Amanda, in spite of her talent, had a run of bad luck in Hollywood which would have jaded any actor to this industry, regardless of their age.
So is it any wonder why she appeared so jubilant on the TV and radio interviews which she did in 1987, promoting "Can't Buy Me Love," when with the financial success of this movie and having secured a role in an upcoming series on prime time TV ("A Year In The Life"), Amanda must have thought that her run of bad luck was over, and that all of her hard work as a child actress was finally starting to pay off?
The bottom line here is that if you are a fan of Amanda Peterson's, the few TV series and Hollywood movies that she appeared in will have to suffice.
Moreover, since many of these works are not readily available on VHS or DVD, there are very few in which Amanda has appeared that actually are available for sale.
And this has only served to make them highly prized and sought after by her fans.
Of course there's always Internet video sharing sites like YouTube, since you never know who may upload one of the movies or TV programs which she's appeared in, as someone did with "Can't Buy Me Love" sometime ago.
Another of her movies that's certainly worth seeing (and that is presently uploaded on YouTube) is called "Listen To Me," in which Amanda gives a rousing performance as she portrays a courageous teenage girl named Donna Lumis, who is partially crippled at the age of eight, after falling off her *horse, learning to get on with her life, as she takes part in a national college debating team competition.
In what in this author's opinion is one of the two best scenes in this movie, (both of which Amanda uses her talent to make unforgettable), after her character finishes making a brief speech on the death penalty, Roy Scheider's character tells her that even though she had some success on her high school debate team, she should not expect any sympathy at the college level for her handicap.
She answers him by describing the pain and suffering that she endured having fallen off her horse at the age of eight, and shattering her hip, and the subsequent years that it took for her to be able to regain feeling in her hip, and to be able to walk again.
Here we see, not so much the Donna character that Amanda is playing, but rather the inner strength that Amanda herself imbues in this character, as she stares Roy Scheider's character down, by describing how she does not consider herself to be handicapped, and warns her audience that may God help anyone who attempts to pity her.
The audience's applause to her warmth and candor in this scene could not have been more palpable, had Amanda herself been speaking in regard to a real physical disability that she had been afflicted with.
This is the kind of authority that Amanda Peterson has always displayed as an actress, and why she would have been just as at home on a theater stage as she was both on the Silver and Television screen.
Perhaps I am just being biased here as one of her many fans, however, I think that this movie would have been even better if Amanda's character had been the central figure in "Listen To Me," instead of one of the supporting cast.
I say this since not only is her character both extremely likeable and courageous, but as an actress, Amanda, herself, has in the past also proven that she is more than talented enough to play lead characters with tremendous conviction, while giving a depth to these characters that many lesser actresses are simply incapable of doing.
And from her portrayal as Donna Lumis, Amanda manages to prove this once again.
Moreover, in spite of the relatively small role that she had in this movie, Amanda still managed to make the scenes she was in some of the most memorable parts of "Listen To Me," since her performance is extremely compelling, and makes one realize how deserving she was of the accolades which she had received as an actress by the time that she was only seventeen.
And this makes the fact that she was not given roles in better movies even more frustrating to the myriad of us who've recognized just how talented Amanda really was.
*In a case of art imitating life, when Amanda was younger, one of her passions was horseback riding, and she was actually a member of the Greeley Saddle Club in her home town of *Greeley, Colorado.
In a scene from "Can't Buy Me Love," where she and Patrick Dempsey's characters are finishing up their "contractual agreement" and heading out for their last date, she asks Patrick's character "Ronald" where they are going? She says a picnic or horseback riding? Here the horseback riding comment is interesting, since Amanda was an equestrian during the time that she made this movie.
Hopefully, unlike her character in "Listen To Me," Amanda was able to avoid being thrown from her horse during her equestrian days.
** Greeley is named after Horace Greeley, the first editor of the Tribune newspaper.
*** If you Google Greeley, Colorado, you will find that Wikipedia also lists Amanda Peterson as one of their notable residents.
"It is funny you know, you spend 12 years of your life learning about things and about life, but they never really tell you how hard life really is."
In summary, all this writer can say is that it has been somewhat frustrating researching Amanda Peterson's career as an actress, because she had such enormous talent, yet appears to have been intentionally shortchanged by those within this industry who should have been looking out for her best interests.
And with all of the mediocre talent in Hollywood who went on to more successful careers, I find this to be truly disturbing.
Moreover, while I have never written anything in the way of an in depth review of a movie, actor, or actress until now, and while I doubt that I will ever do so again, I penned this review in both tribute to and in support of a woman whom I personally consider to be one of the most talented and beautiful ladies who has ever appeared on the silver screen.
A gregarious, down to earth, fun loving, and extraordinarily gifted human being, who in this writer's estimate, was denied her ability to reach her full potential as an actress.
However, in spite of this, Amanda has still left us with a number of pure gems which will continue to be treasured for years to come, including "Can't Buy Me Love," and the "A Year In The Life" TV series.
I only wish, given both her passion for acting as well as her witty sense of humor, that Amanda had been given a leading role in a well written and produced sitcom such as Family Ties or Cheers, while she was still in Hollywood, because I am certain that it would have ultimately led to the superstardom that she so richly deserved.
Had "A Year In The Life" been successful as a long running TV series, in this writer's opinion, Amanda Peterson would have become a household name, and been offered many superior acting roles in feature films and TV series.
She came so close to becoming a superstar during the height of her career in 1987, that it's frustrating for those of us who've recognized Amanda's tremendous talent, to know that her career should have been so much longer, and with quality roles that were worthy of her ability.
While researching this article, I was also truly amazed to find how many Internet Websites have been created by Amanda's myriad loyal fans, and as a tribute to a lady whose acting talent and natural beauty has still managed to captivate them, even decades after she last performed in a feature film or TV series.
The following is a superbly done tribute to Amanda, made by another of her many adoring fans:
This is wonderful news, since Amanda must have been comforted in the knowledge that from the time that she first came to Hollywood, until the day that she decided to leave, she had already succeeded in establishing herself as a first rate actress, while leaving us with some very enjoyable works that will continue to be treasured for generations to come.
For it is actors like Amanda Peterson, whose raw talent, magnetic personality and charm, both entertain as well as inspire us.
Amanda truly was as gifted and beautiful an actress as this author has ever seen, with a talent which made her vastly superior to that of most of the actresses who are making millions of dollars in the modern day.
Sadly, she would ultimately become yet another of the myriad child actors whom for one reason or another was not allowed to make the transition to adult entertainer, even though "Can't Buy Me Love," "Listen To Me," and "A Year In the Life" showed us that Amanda truly had the kind of promise that would have enabled her to eventually make Hollywood's coveted A-list.
That is, if only she had been given the chance to, by being offered better roles in movies and TV shows.
In closing, I'd like to say *PEAC2U dear lady. I only wish that your acting career had been much longer for the benefit of both yourself as well as your many fans, since we really have missed seeing you in new productions all these years.
As an actress, but even more importantly as a person, you accomplished something that few people either in Hollywood, or for that matter in life, have ever managed to do.
As such, even though you are gone now, we will always remember that radiant smile of yours and how you graced both the silver and TV screen.
May you find peace and happiness in the next life and the satisfaction of knowing that your inner beauty and emotiveness as an actress has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world.
In fact, you've left so much of an impression on us, that there are quite literally millions of your fans from virtually every country on every continent, still lamenting your leaving Hollywood nearly twenty years after you did, as well as mourning your recent passing.
You probably never thought that you would touch lives of so many people in a positive way, yet you did.
And as many of your fans have already concluded, Amanda, not only were you unforgettable during your brief time here on earth, you truly were one of a kind.
*When she was in high school, Amanda drove a white BMW with the license plate PEAC2U (Peace To You). When she was being interviewed by Howard Stern on his radio program back in 1987 (listed earlier in this article), Howard asked Amanda what kind of a car she drove. She was hesitant at first to tell him, but then said that it was a BMW.
She also said that while it was a nice car, when she drove it out to Hollywood she found that newer BMWs like her own were "a dime a dozen," and that because of this she was thinking about getting an older classic BMW like a 2002 or 3.0 (both very popular models of BMW from the early 1970s), because she really liked them.
* Update: In 2012 Amanda Peterson would surface for the first time since the late 1990s when she appeared at an autograph signing convention in California. This time her appearance involved a photo shoot for a local photographer in her home town of Greeley, Colorado. It would be the last time that Amanda would appear in a professional capacity before her tragic and untimely passing on July 3RD, 2015
In the following photo Amanda looked well in spite of being 25 years older than she was when she performed in "Can't Buy Me Love." It was wonderful to see this charming lady again after so many years out of the public eye. Moreover, a woman who actually saw Mandy at this photo shoot said that not only was she still a beautiful person, but that she was also very down to earth and easy to talk to. It is amazing how many of the fans who actually met Amanda before and even after she left Hollywood, have said the same thing. How kind and beautiful a lady she remained, in spite of a number of difficulties in her life after having left Hollywood. After all these years Amanda remained the sweetheart with whom we all fell in love after seeing "Can't Buy Me Love." How can we ever forget that vulnerable look, her radiant smile, or those beautiful, soulful eyes, which will ensure that Mandy remains in our hearts forever.
Also See The Following Filmography Credits For Amanda:
Filmography Amanda Peterson
1994 Windrunner (Feature Film)
1993 Jack's Place (TV Series)
1991 Posing: Inspired by Three Real Stories (TV Movie)
1991 Hell Hath No Fury (TV Movie)
1990 Fatal Charm (Feature Film)
1990 Doogie Howser, M.D. (TV Series)
1989 Listen to Me (Feature Film)
1989 Love and Betrayal (TV Movie)
1987-1988 A Year in the Life (TV Series)
1988 The Lawless Land (Feature Film)
1987 Can't Buy Me Love (Feature Film)
1986 Carly Mills (TV Short)
1986 A Year in the Life (TV Mini-Series)
1985 And the Children Shall Lead (TV Movie)
1985 Explorers (Feature Film)
1983-1984 Boone (TV Series)
1984 Best Kept Secrets (TV Movie)
1982 Silver Spoons (TV Series)
1982 Annie (Feature Film)
Dancer (as Mandy Peterson)
1982 Father Murphy (TV Series)
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