Rebecca Schaeffer

Rebecca Schaeffer

Infobox actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Rebecca Schaeffer

imagesize = 200px
caption = Actress Rebecca Schaeffer
birthname = Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer
birthdate = birth date|1967|11|6
location = Eugene, Oregon
deathdate = death date and age|1989|7|18|1967|11|6
deathplace = Los Angeles, California, U.S.
spouse =

Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer (November 6, 1967July 18, 1989) was an American actress who was stalked and then murdered, prompting the passage of anti-stalking laws in California. Schaeffer was best known for her role in the sitcom "My Sister Sam".

Early life

A former teenage model, Schaeffer co-starred with Pam Dawber in "My Sister Sam", a CBS sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1988. During her early life in Portland, Oregon, she was active with her synagogue, in which she was instrumental in expanding a Jewish youth organization to nationwide prominence. Schaeffer lived alone and owned one pet, a cat named Katharine, named after her favorite actress, Katharine Hepburn.

In 1989, she became a celebrity spokesperson for Thursday's Child, a charity for at-risk teens.


Schaeffer began her career in New York as a model, where she appeared in numerous magazines, including "Seventeen". From New York, she went to Japan for modeling work. She had a short stint on the soap opera "One Life to Live" before landing her role as Patti Russell on "My Sister Sam". Other credits include the films "Radio Days" (in which much of her appearance was edited out), "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills", "The End of Innocence" and the TV movie "Out of Time".


Schaeffer was murdered by Robert John Bardo on July 18, 1989. Bardo was fixated on Schaeffer after his previous fixation, child peace activist Samantha Smith, was killed in an airplane crash.

Bardo had written several letters to Schaeffer (one of which was answered) and twice attempted to gain entry to the "My Sister Sam" set, but was turned away by CBS Television City security. Bardo, who had read in a magazine that Theresa Saldana's stalker, Arthur Richard Jackson, had obtained her address through a private investigator, used that approach to get to Schaeffer. He paid $250 to a Tucson, Arizona detective agency to obtain her home address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) [cite web
publisher=E! Online
Cache from the Internet Archive.
] [cite web
date=April 13, 2005
title=Testimony of Robert Douglas, CEO of Privacy Today, before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee
publisher=Privacy Today
] . After viewing her film "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills", in which Schaeffer appeared in bed with a male actor, Bardo became intent upon murdering her for her perceived "loss of innocence,"cite web
title=The Stalking Death that Changed the Law: Rebecca Schaeffer Never Lived to Realize Her Success
] traveled to Los Angeles and buzzed her apartment, requesting her autograph when she came down to answer the door.

Schaeffer, who was preparing for her audition for "The Godfather Part III" and was expecting him to be the man delivering her script, [ [ Rebecca Schaeffer at ] ] gave him an autograph, [ [ CANOE - JAM! - 'Shocking gifts' after Schaeffer murder ] ] then retreated back to her apartment. Bardo returned about 20 minutes later and buzzed a second time. Schaeffer once more came down, again believing it was the delivery man. [ [ Rebecca Schaeffer - Biography ] ] At his trial, Bardo stated, "She had this kid voice... sounded like a little brat or something... said I was wasting her time!... Wasting her time!" Bardo pulled out a gun from a brown paper bag, and shot her once at point-blank range in the chest, in the doorway of her apartment building. [ [ Print Article: Death on main street ] ] .

A neighbor phoned paramedics, who quickly arrived to transport her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Schaeffer was pronounced dead 30 minutes after her arrival. The following day, Bardo was arrested in Tucson, after motorists reported a man darting through traffic on Interstate 10. He confessed immediately to the murder.

Bardo was tried by prosecutor Marcia Clark, who later became famous for her role in the O.J. Simpson trial. Convicted of capital murder in a bench trial, Bardo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on December 20, 1991.


Following Schaeffer's murder and Saldana's assault, California laws regarding the release of personal information through the DMV were drastically changed. The Driver's Privacy Protection Act was enacted in 1994, which prevents the DMV from releasing private addresses. The law's effect has subsequently been diminished by online address search services.

Schaeffer's life and death became the topic of the first "E! True Hollywood Story", which originally aired on March 29, 1996.

Shortly before her death, Schaeffer began dating director Brad Silberling. Her death would serve as the inspiration for Silberling's 2002 film "Moonlight Mile".

Schaeffer's story is recounted in the true crime book "True Stories of Law & Order" by Kevin Dwyer and Juré Fiorillo. (Berkley/Penguin 2006. ISBN-10: 0425217353)


External links

*imdb name|id=0769726|name=Rebecca Schaeffer
* []
* [ Thursday's Child] The site contains long biographies and her complete credits.
* [ Find A Death - Rebecca Schaeffer]
* [ Find A Grave - Rebecca Schaeffer]
* [ Stalking: Legal Aspects of Stalking by Rhonda Saunders] , includes Rebecca Schaeffer's stalking case and death
* [ Schaeffer obituary]
* [ "Rebecca Schaeffer Always Remembered"] Yahoo group dedicated to Rebecca Schaeffer's memory.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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