Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was born November 6, 1967 in Eugene, Oregon, the only child of parents Benson and Danna Schaeffer. Growing up Rebecca was a curious and spirited child who loved horseback riding and being outdoors. In high school she was an honor student and served on student council. Rebecca loved writing poetry and was deeply immersed in her jewish faith.
The Rebecca Schaeffer Website - In Memoriam went online February 14, 2015    -     contact: markwbrenner@yahoo.com
In 1982 Rebecca began to pursue modeling and signed with local talent agent Nannette Troutman. She soon appeared in department store catalogs and on television commercials. In August 1984 her parents gave Rebecca permission to move to New York City by herself to continue pursuing a career in modeling. It was soon after arriving that she signed with Elite Model Management. Rebecca eventually landed an acting role on the ABC daytime soap ‘One Life to Live’. During the same time she continued looking for modeling jobs. She struggled to find work and soon realized that at 5’7 she just wasn’t tall enough to be a fashion model. In 1985 she moved to Japan hoping her height would not be an issue - but she still struggled.
During the second season ratings for the show began to tumble due in large part to the show being moved to a Saturday night time slot. After airing only ten episodes CBS pulled the plug (eventually the remaining 12 episodes were broadcast on the USA Network). While the cancellation was disappointing Rebecca was determined to continue to make her mark on Hollywood. She also decided it was time to find her own place to live. She found a tudor-style apartment in the Fairfax District of West Hollywood
After ‘My Sister Sam’ was cancelled in 1988 Rebecca was cast in the TV movie ‘Out of Time’ followed by the satirical film ‘Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills’ and ‘The End of Innocence’ (directed by Dyan Cannon). In the spring of 1989 Rebecca had returned from Egypt having just completed filming the television movie ‘Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair’. It was soon after her return to Los Angeles that a tragic and senseless act would end Rebecca’s career… and her life.
On July 18, 1989 Rebecca was preparing to audition for a role in ‘The Godfather Part III’. She was awaiting the delivery of a script prior to her meeting with director Francis Ford Coppola. At approximately 10:00AM the buzzer to her apartment rang and Rebecca went to the door (the intercom was not working that day). When she opened the door a man, who had been at her residence earlier that morning, appeared suddenly from hiding and shot her once in the chest. She collapsed in the doorway while the assailant fled the scene. Thirty minutes later Rebecca was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her assailant* (later determined to be an obsessed fan) was arrested by police in Tucson, Arizona after motorists reported a man, possibly suicidal, running through traffic. Upon his arrest he confessed to the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer.
Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was laid to rest on July 23, 1989 at the Ahavai Sholom Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Rebecca’s death prompted changes to the law including the prevention of someone’s personal address from being disclosed through the Department of Motor Vehicles (which is how the killer was able to find Rebecca). It also helped create the LAPD’s Threat Management Unit in 1989, the first police team in the United States to focus on stalking cases. Positive changes that undoubtedly have prevented similar tragedies, but unfortunatley it all came at such a terrible price.
* Although the name of Rebecca’s killer (assailant) has been published in the media his name/identity will not be mentioned anywhere on this website. This site (and the Facebook page) are both meant to honor the memory of Rebecca Schaeffer. Criminals sometimes crave having their name forever connected to a person or event, a satisfaction that will not be given here. There are numerous published newspaper and magazine articles about this terrible crime and the individual who commited it. Links to those news stories can be found in the 'Links' section of this website. Thank you for your understanding. Mark Brenner (admin).
Rebecca’s Poetry
Upon returning to NYC her agent advised her to pursue acting instead of modeling and in 1986 she landed small roles in the film ‘Radio Days’ (directed by Woody Allen) and on the Steven Spielberg series ‘Amazing Stories’. She then received a phone call from her agent that television producers in Hollywood were interested in casting her in a new sitcom ‘My Sister Sam’. Rebecca flew out to Los Angeles where she tested and won the part of Patricia “Patti” Russell, a free-spirited teenager who moves in with her older sister, played by Pam Dawber (of ‘Mork & Mindy’)
While working on the show Rebecca lived with Dawber and her then boyfriend (and future husband) Mark Harmon. In the beginning ‘My Sister Sam’ was a hit show. It tied for 21st highest rated show in it’s first season. Due to her new found success and fame she landed the March 1987 cover of Seventeen Magazine. She also began receiving a large amount of fan mail which she would respond to herself. Throughout this all Rebecca remained humble and down to earth.
Rebecca’s killer* was brought to trial in 1991. He was successfully prosecuted by former deputy district attorney Marcia Clark (who would eventually become well known three years later during the O.J. Simpson murder trial). Two months after being convicted of capital murder he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Rebecca’s parents were present throughout the trial and during sentencing. Rebecca’s killer is currently serving his sentence at Ironwood State Prison in California.

IN MEMORIAM   REBECCA SCHAEFFER   (BIOGRAPHY)

The Rebecca Schaeffer Website - In Memoriam went online February 14, 2015 contact: markwbrenner@yahoo.com

Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was born November 6, 1967 in

Eugene, Oregon, the only child of parents Benson and

Danna Schaeffer. Growing up Rebecca was a curious and

spirited child who loved horseback riding and being outdoors.

In high school she was an honor student and served on

student council. Rebecca loved writing poetry and was

deeply immersed in her jewish faith.

In 1982 Rebecca began to pursue modeling and signed with

local talent agent Nannette Troutman. She soon appeared in

department store catalogs and on television commercials. In

August 1984 her parents gave Rebecca permission to move

to New York City by herself to continue pursuing a career in

modeling. It was soon after arriving that she signed with Elite

Model Management. Rebecca eventually landed an acting

role on the ABC daytime soap ‘One Life to Live’. During the

same time she continued looking for modeling jobs. She

struggled to find work and soon realized that at 5’7 she just

wasn’t tall enough to be a fashion model. In 1985 she moved

to Japan hoping her height would not be an issue - but she

still struggled.

Upon returning to NYC her agent advised her to pursue

acting instead of modeling and in 1986 she landed small

roles in the film ‘Radio Days’ (directed by Woody Allen) and

on the Steven Spielberg series ‘Amazing Stories’. She then

received a phone call from her agent that television

producers in Hollywood were interested in casting her in a

new sitcom ‘My Sister Sam’. Rebecca flew out to Los

Angeles where she tested and won the part of Patricia “Patti”

Russell, a free-spirited teenager who moves in with her older

sister, played by Pam Dawber (of ‘Mork & Mindy’).

While working on the show Rebecca lived with Dawber and

her then boyfriend (and future husband) Mark Harmon. In the

beginning ‘My Sister Sam’ was a hit show. It tied for 21st

highest rated show in it’s first season. Due to her new found

success and fame she landed the March 1987 cover of

Seventeen Magazine. She also began receiving a large

amount of fan mail which she would respond to herself.

Through it all Rebecca remained humble and down to earth.

During the second season ratings for the show began to

tumble due in large part to the show being moved to a

Saturday night time slot. After airing only ten episodes CBS

pulled the plug (eventually the remaining 12 episodes were

broadcast on the USA Network). While the cancellation was

disappointing Rebecca was determined to continue to make

her mark on Hollywood. She also decided it was time to find

her own place to live. She found a tudor-style apartment in

the Fairfax District of West Hollywood.

After ‘My Sister Sam’ was cancelled in 1988 Rebecca was

cast in the TV movie ‘Out of Time’ followed by the satirical

film ‘Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills’ and

‘The End of Innocence’ (directed by Dyan Cannon). In the

spring of 1989 Rebecca had returned from Egypt having just

completed filming the television movie ‘Voyage of Terror: The

Achille Lauro Affair’. It was soon after her return to Los

Angeles that a tragic and senseless act would end Rebecca’s

career… and her life.

On July 18, 1989 Rebecca was preparing to audition for a

role in ‘The Godfather Part III’. She was awaiting the delivery

of a script prior to her meeting with Francis Ford Coppola. At

approximately 10:00AM the buzzer to her apartment rang

and Rebecca went to the door (the intercom was not working

that day). When she opened the door a man, who had been

at her residence earlier that morning, appeared suddenly

from hiding and shot her once in the chest. She collapsed in

the doorway while the assailant fled the scene. Thirty

minutes later Rebecca was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai

Medical Center. Her assailant* (later determined to be an

obsessed fan) was arrested by police in Tucson, Arizona

after motorists reported a man, possibly suicidal, running

through traffic. Upon his arrest he confessed to the murder of

Rebecca Schaeffer.

Rebecca’s killer* was brought to trial in 1991. He was

successfully prosecuted by former deputy district attorney

Marcia Clark (who would eventually become well known

three years later during the O.J. Simpson murder trial). Two

months after being convicted of capital murder he was

sentended to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Rebecca’s parents were present throughout the trial and

during sentencing. Rebecca’s killer is currently serving his

sentence at Ironwood State Prison in California.

Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was laid to rest on July 23, 1989 at

the Ahavai Sholom Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Rebecca’s

death prompted changes to the law including the prevention

of someone’s personal address from being disclosed through

the Department of Motor Vehicles (which is how the killer

was able to find Rebecca). It also helped create the LAPD’s

Threat Management Unit in 1989, the first police team in the

United States to focus on stalking cases. Positive changes

that undoubtedly have prevented similar tragedies, but

unfortunatley it all came at such a terrible price.

* Although the name of Rebecca’s killer (assailant) has been

published in the media his name/identity will not be

mentioned anywhere on this website. This site (and the

Facebook page) are both meant to honor the memory of

Rebecca Schaeffer. Criminals sometimes crave having their

name forever connected to a person or event, a satisfaction

that will not be given here. There are numerous published

newspaper and magazine articles about this terrible crime

and the individual who commited it. Links to those news

stories can be found in the ‘Links’ section of this website.

Thank you for your understanding. Mark Brenner (admin)