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Eugene, Oregon
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Eugene, Oregon

American actress and model Rebecca Schaeffer were assassinated by a stalker. She started out as a young model before deciding to pursue acting. In the television sitcom “My Sister Sam,” Patricia (Patti) Russell is her most well-known character. Rebecca, who was well-known for being both attractive and down to earth, had also starred in a number of films, including “Radio Days,” “Out of Time,” “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills,” and others. In 1989, Rebecca had the saddest and most devastating event of her life when she was shot by a devoted fan at the door of her apartment in “West Hollywood.” Only 21, she was. Robert John Bardo, the murderer, pursued Rebecca for three years before fatally shooting her. Her murderer was found guilty and given a life sentence. In 1990, the USA passed its first anti-stalking laws as a result of Rebecca’s passing. In order to stop the “DMV” from disclosing private addresses, the Californian government altered the stalking laws. It was carried out after Rebecca’s murderer admitted that he had used the “DMV” to locate the late actress’ address.

Early Childhood & Life

The date of Rebecca’s birth is November 6, 1967. Despite being reared in Portland, she was raised in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. She was the only child of Dr. Benson Schaeffer and Dana Schaeffer. Dr. Benson was a child psychologist, and Dana was a writer and professor at “Portland Community College.”

She attended Portland’s “Lincoln High School.” When she received her first modeling offer, she was in her junior year of high school.

She was a teenage model, but her dream had always been to become a rabbi. She began modeling by appearing in a number of TV advertisements and department store catalogs.

In August 1984, Rebecca relocated to New York City. She attended the “Professional Children’s School” while looking for work.

Given that she was much shorter than most models in the industry (5 feet 7 inches), it was difficult for her to find employment as a model.

She persisted in her efforts and traveled to Japan in search of additional modeling gigs since she was determined to succeed as a model. Due to her height, she didn’t receive many, so she made the decision to return to New York to pursue her acting career.

Career of Rebecca Schaeffer

She landed her first role in the ABC drama “One Life to Live” in 1984, playing the part of “Annie Barnes.” It was before she traveled to Japan to work as a model.

After the long-running series came to an end, she made her film debut in 1986 as an extra in Woody Allen’s “Radio Days.” Her short part was edited to the point where it was almost undetectable in the film.

She kept working as a server and took on additional jobs to support herself while pursuing an acting career. She also appeared in the 1986 film “Amazing Stories” as “Miss Crowningshield.”

Her breakthrough performance was in the comedy “My Sister Sam” the same year. She portrayed Patricia “Patti” Russell, a teenager who relocated from Oregon to San Francisco to live with her sister Samantha “Sam” Russell, who was portrayed by Pam Dawber.

She applied for the part after being featured on the cover of “Seventeen” magazine, and the show’s producers thought she was ideal for the part.

The show was popular with viewers in its first season but was canceled midway through its second. From 1986 through 1988, the program aired.

She portrayed “Pam Wallace” in the 1988 television movie “Out of Time.” She began filming for the 1989 film “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills” at about the same time in her role as a supporting actor.

Rebecca Schaeffer was affected by the tragedy following the film’s premiere. After her passing in 1990, her other two films, “The End of Innocence” and “Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair,” were released.

Death of Rebecca Schaeffer

On the morning of July 18, 1989, Rebecca was murdered by a stalker who was driven by obsession. She was residing in her brand-new Los Angeles residence at the time.

Robert John Bardo was stumbling about the streets looking for Rebecca’s address while wearing a yellow polo shirt. In disguise as a delivery man, he went to her flat and gave her the letters he had written to her. Rebecca signed his book and told him never to come back to her place.

Nearly 30 minutes later, Bardo returned and shot her in the heart as she was getting ready for her audition for “The Godfather Part III.” Why, were Rebecca’s final words before she collapsed on the porch? She passed away after 30 minutes.

Bardo escaped the scene but was captured the following day. He quickly admitted to the crime, was put on trial, and was ultimately given a life sentence.

John was Rebecca’s fervent admirer who insisted he fell in love with her at first sight. Additionally, it was asserted that he suffered from schizophrenia and resented Rebecca for her intimate scene in “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.”

He tried to meet Rebecca several times before he killed her, but her security guards always stopped him. He even frequently carried a knife, but he was unable to get to her.

In addition to being enamored with Samantha Smith, a young crusader for peace, he had previously attempted to meet Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Tiffany. He conceded that Rebecca was the only one of his subjects with whom he had ever been as madly in love.

Her passing prompted a reassessment of the US anti-stalking legal framework. The “Driver’s Privacy Protection Act,” passed by the state of California in 1994, forbade the release of private addresses from the “DMV.”

Personal Legacy & Life

When Rebecca passed away, she was seeing director Brad Silberling. In Rebecca’s life, his 2002 film “Moonlight Mile” is supposed to be based.
At the “Ahavai Sholom Cemetery,” she is buried.

‘E! True Hollywood Story’s’ debut program, which aired on March 29, 1996, featured Rebecca’s murder. She was mentioned in “E! Television’s” 20 Most Horrifying Hollywood Murders” as well.

On November 6, 2017, “Investigation Discovery” featured her tale as part of the documentary series “The 1980s: The Deadliest Decade” (Season 2 Episode 4). The copycat killer was the title of the episode.

Estimated Net Worth

In 2022, Rebecca Schaeffer’s estimated net worth is $18 million USD.