News

Greeley's Amanda Peterson, Can't Buy Me Love Star, Died of Accidental Overdose


Back in July, we told you about the tragic death in Greeley of Amanda Peterson, co-star of the iconic '80s teen movie Can't Buy Me Love alongside future Grey's Anatomy heartthrob Patrick Dempsey.

In the days that followed, we shared tributes to the former starlet from celebrities who admired her work on film and documented Peterson's numerous post-fame run-ins with the law.

But incidents like the latter don't appear to have played a part in Peterson's demise.

Earlier this month, the Weld County coroner's office determined that she died of an accidental morphine overdose.



As we've reported, Peterson lived in an apartment on the 5100 block of 11th Street.

On July 4, three days before her 44th birthday, Greeley police were called to the location on a well-being check. Peterson had missed an appointment.

Upon their arrival, officers discovered the door unlocked and Peterson was found inside.


She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Months later, the coroner's office shared autopsy information with the Greeley Tribune. A blood test revealed that Peterson had ingested an excessive amount of Gabapentin, a morphine medication typically prescribed for pain.


She had six times beyond typical therapeutic levels in her bloodstream, the Tribune reports.

However, her death appears to have been caused by the interaction of the morphine with other medication Peterson was taking for lung and heart disease.

Peterson didn't have a prescription for Gabapentin. She's thought to have borrowed the medication from a friend. As for why she needed pain relief, the Tribune notes that she had recently had a hysterectomy. Hence the determination that the overdose was accidental.

Fortunately, Peterson will be remembered less for the way she died than her efforts on the big screen. Look below to see the trailer from Can't Buy Me Love, followed by a YouTube tribute assembled shortly after her death. In the meantime, our condolences to the friends, family, loved ones and fans of Amanda Peterson.



KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts