The Actress Whose Murder Prompted America’s First Anti-Stalking Laws

Starlet Rebecca Schaeffer was stalked and killed by an obsessive fan.

Pranshu "Maverick" Dwivedi


Rebecca Schaeffer | CBS Network, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

With the glitz and glamour that comes with stardom, there is always another facet to fame — the privacy invasion and the constant limelight of paparazzi. However, it is often the same fans that shower their love and affections on the stars, that becomes the biggest danger to their lives, when that love turns into a dangerous obsession.

This is exactly what happened with budding star — American model and actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who was murdered by an obsessed 19-year old fan, at the young age of 21 even before her career could completely take flight.

However, her murder paved the way for legislative changes that possibly have safeguarded many lives since.

Rebecca’s Teenage Success & Early Stardom

Rebecca was born to a Jewish family in Oregon on November 6, 1967, and was the only child of Danna and Dr. Benson Schaeffer. With her Jewish upbringing, she initially had aspirations to become a rabbi but ended up entering the world of modeling in her junior year of high school. The start, as with most aspiring models and actors, was modest as she appeared in department store catalogs, some local TV commercials, and similar small appearances.

Her serious pursuit of a career in the field of modeling began when in August 1984, she was allowed by her parents to move to NYC all by herself. While working in New York, she attended Professional Children’s School.

After a couple of smaller roles and cameos including one in the soap opera Guiding Light, it was in late 1984 that Schaeffer landed the role of Annie Barnes on ABC’s One Life to Live for a stint that lasted six months. Her attempts to succeed in the world of fashion modeling hit a roadblock when at 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), she wasn’t tall enough to be a successful model. She soon made a decision to pursue a career in acting and gave up her modeling aspirations.

It was her appearance on the cover of Seventeen magazine, that caught the eye of television producers and landed her arguably her most famous part in the comedy My Sister Sam starring Pam…



Pranshu "Maverick" Dwivedi

Thinker, finance professional, loving husband, a doting dad, fitness enthusiast! MBA in Finance & Marketing and Comp. Science Engineer.