The sad story of aspiring actress Rebecca Schaeffer (8 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
1 December 2023

When you are young and beautiful, have promising career prospects ahead and the delight of your fans, what else do you need to be happy?

Rebecca Schaeffer has been pretty since childhood and dreamed of becoming a fashion model. But growth let us down. And the girl became interested in theatrical art and began to attend the studio. After moving to New York, Schaeffer tried her hand at film. And a couple of years later she became the star of the comedy series “My Sister Sam.”

Rebecca Schaeffer

The young actress began appearing on the covers of magazines and participating in television shows. Naturally, the appearance of a new star did not go unnoticed by the public.

Still from the film "My Sister Sam"

Although small, the army of the girl’s fans grew. One of them, a reserved and shy guy Robert John Bardo, among others, began writing letters to her. Schaeffer responded. A standard letter with words of gratitude and an autographed photo. But Bardo took it as a sign, as something more - a response to feelings. And he went to Hollywood to see the object of his dreams.

Robert John Bardo

On July 18, 1989, he knocked on Rebecca's door. He found out the address using the services of a private detective, who obtained information from the driver's license database.

The actress was at home, pacing around the apartment, preparing to audition for a role in the film “The Godfather: Part III.” She opened the door without questions, as she was waiting for a company representative. But instead I saw an unknown person on the threshold. He, without saying a word, shot Rebecca in the chest and ran away, managing to throw the book he was holding in his hands onto the roof of the house. It was Jerome Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye. The fan borrowed the technique from Mark David Chapman. John Lennon's killer held the same book before the fatal shot.

The killer was arrested the next day. During the investigation, lawyers tried to use the client's mental insanity. But this fact did not make an impression on the court, and it sentenced the criminal to life imprisonment without the right to parole. And at the moment, the killer is still in custody - in the Avenal prison in California.

Robert John Bardo at trial

The sad case of Rebecca prompted the authorities to change legislation to protect not only celebrities, but also ordinary non-public citizens from persecution. California became the first state to pass laws protecting women in similar situations from compulsive stalkers.

Still from the movie Moonlight Mile

The victim's boyfriend, Brad Silberling, made a semi-autobiographical film in 2002, Moonlight Mile, about the story of a guy whose fiancee died and his subsequent life.

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