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25 Years Gone: Rebecca Schaeffer of My Sister Sam

I am so wise to think love will prevail. I am so wise. — Rebecca Schaeffer, 1989

Rebecca Shaeffer SEventeen

Tomorrow, July 18, 2014, is the 25th anniversary of the death of Rebecca Schaeffer. Schaeffer was a 21-year-old Hollywood actress and model who was gunned down in the doorway of her apartment by a crazed stalker. She died of a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.

Rebecca L Schaeffer

Rebecca Schaeffer

My Sister Sam

Schaeffer starred in the 1980s sitcom My Sister Sam (fall 1986 to Spring 1988) alongside Pam Dawber of Mork and Mindy fame. Her death rocked not only Hollywood, but her young fans including me. I remember feeling so devastated for her parents because she was their only child. Schaeffer and I were practically the same age. We were both born in 1967 just a few weeks apart. I have never forgotten her or her extraordinary smile. She will always be remembered as one of the first Generation X icons we lost when we were still young.

Missing Rebecca

In 2009, an online tribute, Missing Rebecca Schaeffer, was created in recognition of the 20th anniversary of her death. The site includes rare pictures of the actress with her family as well as some of Schaeffer’s thoughtful poetry.

Big Hair 90sI thought Rebecca Schaeffer was absolutely gorgeous. I loved her giant mound of brown curly hair. An entire generation of girls tried to emulate her look. Here was my attempt. This was my college senior picture taken in September 1988.

Anti-Stalking Laws

When it comes to Schaeffer, I can’t help but wonder what might have been had she lived. Life is unpredictable and all of our days are numbered. One thing is for certain; Schaeffer did not die in vain. Her death resulted in anti-stalking laws that protect famous people today. Read the Associated Press article distributed earlier this week: Stars Safer Because of Actress’ Murder.

In closing, here is a poem Schaeffer wrote less than a year before she died.

Maybe you think the sound of banging your

head against the wall

is the only way people can hear you. It isn’t, for

your human voice and the little life you own for a

while is far more powerful.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Dana

    Hi there Jennifer—I too am a HUGE Rebecca Schaeffer fan. I was actually leaving on a trip with some classmates to Europe on the day she died (I had just graduated from high school that June) I didn’t learn of her death until the middle of August when I was back….wow, such a shock. I try to collect everything I can of Rebecca; I have a scrapbook dedicated to her, even with a little autographed card she sent to someone that I got off of EBAY. What a beautiful, talented wise=beyond-her years girl, I still can’t believe what a life she had, leaving her home at 16 to go to NYC and Japan to model, then living in Hollywood on her own at such a young age. She inspires me and makes me want to do good things. I really wish there would be a book about her, as I just want to know everything I can about her. To this day, I am still so sad she was taken away as she was, at the hands of a delusional madman. Like you, I wonder what could have been with Rebecca and her life. Thanks for this post, she is still remembered with love! Dana

    • Jake

      hello i am making a video about rebecca schaeffer, and wondering where i can find some pics and movies, i am looking for OUT OF TIME, with her and Bill Maher, it was a tv movie, and like other pics and good footage if u can help me out it would be appreciated

  2. jen

    I’m so glad you shared this, Mari. I couldn’t have known when I wrote this that you had such a memorable connection to that show or her life. Our lives are so intertwined. Did you see that article about being linked genetically to your friends? I think we’re linked, too!

  3. Mari

    Man, I remember her. During this time, I was very close w/my older sister Tami and we felt a connection to this show and the sister relationship shared by Schaeffer & Pam Dawber.
    Our own relationship changed irrevocably because of a brain injury sustained by my sister in a car accident, which happened not long before Schaeffer’s senseless death. Those two events are forever linked for me.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!



  1. How Rebecca Schaeffer's Horrific Murder Led to the Nation's First Anti-Stalking Law - […] electric fan base grew exponentially. Throughout that date and time, she was the covergirl for Seventeen’s March 1987 challenge,…

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