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1980s / Rebecca Schaeffer Murder 1989
Pretty Rebecca Schaeffer (pictured below) had an all-too-brief acting career. After she appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine, she landed the role of Patti Russell on the short-lived CBS sitcom My Sister Sam. (The show ran from October 1986 to November 1987). During the show's run, an obsessed fan, Robert John Bardo, began writing letters to Schaeffer which were answered by CBS employees. Bardo twice tried to see Schaffer on the set but was turned away by security. After the show was cancelled, Bardo found Schaeffer's home address with the help of a private investigator who, for a $250 fee, obtained the information from California's Department of Motor Vehicles. On July 18, 1989, Bardo knocked on Schaeffer's apartment door and had a brief conversation with the actress. She asked him not to return. A little while later Bardo did return and fatally shot Schaeffer in the chest after she opened the door. She was 21. Bardo was apprehended a short time later, quickly confessed, and was sentenced to life in prison. Schaeffer's murder led to the first anti-stalker legislation in California (which has been widely copied in many jurisdictions). Among the celebrities who have benefitted from it or similar laws have been David Letterman and Madonna. The state of California also toughened its security policies regarding residents' personal information.