American actress Rebecca Schaeffer was famous for her role as Patti Russel in the CBS sitcom “My Sister Sam”. Her career as a TV personality began at an early age, as she did modeling and appeared in TV commercials during her teen years. However, the great actress was murdered on the day of July 18, 1989, by none other than an obsessed fan who stalked her for years. Schaeffer’s death would later prompt the anti-stalking laws of Arizona.
Robert John Bardo lived in Tucson, Arizona, and became very fixated on Rebecca Schaeffer. The man wrote plenty of fan mails to the actress, and stalked Schaeffer for three years before causing Schaeffer’s death. Robert Bardo attempted twice to enter the sets of “My Sister Sam”, but was denied in both instances. He had soon given up, but after watching the actress in a bed scene in the television show “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills”, he thought it was time for Schaeffer’s death to come, as the actress had turned to another Hollywood whore. Bardo learned that private detectives could find people’s addresses and whereabouts, so he sought the services of one native detective agency to find the address of Schaeffer for the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars. Information was gathered through the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Bardo, who was 19 then, had his brother provide him with a gun, the murder weapon in Schaeffer’s death. On the day of Schaeffer’s death, Bardo had travelled back to Los Angeles and found the neighborhood where Rebecca Schaeffer was said to reside in. After asking passers-by, Robert Bardo rang the doorbell of the home of Rebecca Schaffer. Schaeffer answered the door, and the two had a short conversation, after which Schaeffer would ask Bardo to leave and never come back to her home. Robert Bardo had breakfast on a local diner before deciding that it was indeed already time for Schaeffer’s death. Bardo went back to the apartment of Rebecca Schaeffer, rang the door bell, and as Schaeffer answered the door, Bardo recounted that Schaeffer had a cold look on her face. Bardo then shot the actress in the chest and fled. Neighbors phoned for paramedics, but 30 minutes after the actress was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Schaeffer’s death was pronounced. Bardo was caught the next day, and was prosecuted by Marcia Clark. Bardo was soon sentenced to life imprisonment for capital murder, without the possibility of a parole.
At an early age of 21, Schaeffer’s death halted the career of what would have been a promising actress in Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer. What was shocking was that Rebecca Schaeffer’s death was caused by a very avid fan. Schaeffer’s death, however, together with the murder of Theresa Saldana, also caused by a stalker, brought up the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, and anti-stalking laws in California. Rebecca Schaeffer’s death became the first story of “E! True Hollywood Story”. Schaffer’s death also served as an inspiration for the film “Moonlight Mile”, directed by Brad Silberling, who dated the actress before Schaeffer’s death.