Amanda Peterson, who starred in the 1987 romantic comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, has died from an accidental overdose from a deadly combination of drugs. She was 43.
According to TMZ, the actress disappeared just before the 4th of July. Greeley police responded to Peterson’s home about 6 p.m. on July 5, after it was reported she had missed an appointment. Police discovered Peterson dead in her apartment.
The Weld County Coroner in Colorado said in his report that Peterson had a variety of prescription drugs in her system, including benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety meds), opiates, and phenothiazines (an anti-psychotic medication). She also had marijuana in her system.
— E! Online (@eonline) September 3, 2015
The medical examiner also reports that he found six times the normal level for Gabapentin, a drug prescribed to the actress for pain.
The report claims Peterson was “naive to opiates.”
The Greeley Tribune reports that the toxicology report says a week before her death, Amanda Peterson told someone she ingested morphine medication she got from friends. The reports says she was self-medicating to control pain.
Peterson was reportedly prescribed multiple medications for lung and heart disease, as well as the Gabapentin for postsurgical pain following a recent hysterectomy. According to the Tribune, doctors could find no recent prescriptions for morphine in Peterson’s medical history.
— TMZ (@TMZ) September 3, 2015
The cause of death is listed as “morphine effect,” which is respiratory failure as a result of overdose, according to Ward.
“We can’t say she has never been prescribed morphine, but we couldn’t find any recent prescriptions in her medical history, so she wasn’t a veteran (knowledgeable) opiate user. The amount of morphine she ingested coupled with her heart and lung disease resulted in a fatal event.”
Born Phyllis Amanda Peterson, the former actress was a native of Greeley, Colorado, and was one of three children born to Sylvia and Dr. James Peterson. She began her acting career at age 9 when she earned a supporting role in the 1982 film Annie, according to her IMDb.com profile.
She would later star in the television series Father Murphy, Silver Spoons, and Boone.
— Variety (@Variety) September 3, 2015
In 1985, she returned to film, acting alongside River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke, in Explorers. By the age of 14, Peterson had appeared in more than 35 television commercials, three television series, and four movies.
Amanda Peterson is best known for her role in the 1987 comedy Can’t Buy Me Love, alongside Patrick Dempsey. A year later she would win the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series for her work on the Emmy Award-winning series A Year in the Life.
[Image via Twitter / The Wrap]