Can’t Buy Me Love, Amanda Peterson‘s friends remember her as having a down-to-earth demeanor and kindness. The Greeley, Colorado native was known for her role as Cindy Mancini in the hit movie, but according to her friends she preferred to be known as Mandy.
The forty-three-year old’s Greeley friends, many who knew her as a child, described her as a down-to-earth girl who never liked being recognized as a movie star. She preferred to be known as a loving friend and family member.
On Sunday, such sad news came out as she was found in her apartment no responsive, and now Greeley Police and the Weld County Coroner’s Office are both investigating the cause,
and no new information was released Tuesday.
She was just nine-year-old when she started acting and she was one of three children, and at the age of fourteen she got her big break in the 1987 hit “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
She made enough of an impact for the nation to react to her death, including other well-known actors such as Wil Wheaton, another who got his start as a child. Wheaton said on Twitter last night:
“I knew Mandy a little bit when we were kids. She was kind and wonderful to be around.” Sarah Michelle Gellar on Twitter, “When I was younger, I used to want to be Amanda Peterson.”
According to a report from Fox News, Sharon Peterson said her daughter died on Friday morning.
“It’s such a big loss,” Sharon Peterson said in the Fox News story. “Such a loveable person. She had some medical problems with her heart, but we don’t know the cause yet.”
A friend, Rosalee Simon, said she met Peterson through working in her father’s Greeley doctor’s office and remembers Peterson’s friendly demeanor. Everyone she met noticed her abundant kindness.
“She didn’t like to be the big Amanda Peterson,” Simon said. “She was very down-to-earth, and she would just say, ‘Oh, I’m just Mandy.’”
Simon and her cousin, April Varela, last saw Peterson on Thursday in the bleachers at the rodeo at the Greeley Stampede after Varela came back to visit from her home in Virginia Beach.
Varela described Peterson as “very sweet” and said she was someone who wouldn’t hesitate to make you smile after a difficult day.
Childhood friend Tawnya Bowie remembers Peterson’s sense of humor. Bowie said Peterson would come into Bowie’s salon after dyeing her hair from a box that didn’t quite come out right.
“She got a box of color from King Soopers and she’d come in and I would fix it,” she said. “I have those messages that I’m never going to erase off my phone. She was really funny.”
Bowie said along with Peterson’s sense of humor she was caring without expecting anything in return.
“My daughter had spinal meningitis. She was in the hospital for six days, and my husband would leave and Mandy would just stay in the hospital with me, she would just stay there and be by my side,” Bowie said. “She had a heart of gold.”
After moving to Greeley from Colorado Springs, childhood friend Ursula Wilson easily made friends with Peterson and was able to keep that friendship even as they got older.
“She never treated us any different,” Wilson said, “and it was reciprocal because she never wanted to be treated any different. We still felt connected on a level even though we weren’t always together. It never mattered how much time went by between seeing each other, we would always pick up where we left off.”
Peterson’s friends described having a movie star friend as being nothing out of the ordinary because of Peterson’s demeanor and her desire to be recognized as a friend first.
“We were overly excited and, of course, wanted to support her in what she was doing,” Wilson said. “She would come back and she was still very down-to-earth. She was just Mandy to us.”