Rebecca Shaeffer Murdered By Stalker – 7/19/1989

US History |


Roughly 27 years ago, Rebecca Shaeffer was found murdered inside her home. The 21-year-old actress was the victim of a stalker that took it too far. Found in her home in Los Angeles, it was concluded that she was killed by Robert John Bardo, who was a mentally unstable man that was reported as stalking her. It started a campaign to help prevent stalking and definitely avoid the consequences that stalkers leave behind. 

Born on November 6, 1967, Shaeffer was born in Eugen, Oregon. Starting her modeling career off at a young age, Shaeffer took part in teenage modeling and even had a small gig on the soap opera “One Life to Live.” She would later become most known for her role as a co-star on the TV sitcom “My Sister Sam” with Pam Dawber. She was a well-known actress by the time she was murdered on this day in 1989.

Bardo, who had showed up to her apartment on this day, had reportedly tried gaining access to the set of My Sister Sam to see Rebecca, but was denied. He also reached out to Shaeffer numerous times via letters. An obsessed fan, Bardo obtained Rebecca’s address via a detective agency that found it in her Department of Motor Vehicles records. It was also reported that she had agreed to give an autograph to Bardo when he arrived, but had also asked him to leave after.

It wasn’t long after he left that Bardo returned to the actress’ apartment. With Rebecca Shaeffer waiting on someone to drop her off a script, she opened the door thinking it was them. When she opened, she saw Bardo standing in front of her with a gun. Bardo proceeded to shoot her and she was later pronounced dead.

The following day, in Tucson, Arizona, Bardo was found and arrested immediately for the killing of Rebecca. Marcia Clark, a district attorney in the Los Angeles County, would later help prosecute the murderer in Los Angeles. In 1991, Bardo’s fate was decided. He was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of capital murder. He was also given no possibility of parole for his actions.

Three years later, the state of California passed a law that prevented the DMV from releasing private addresses to people. That law would become known as the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. Marcia Clark, the district attorney behind the prosecution, would also become known as the prosecutor in the famous O.J. Simpson trial. 

Rebecca Shaeffer’s story would inspire the film industry to make a movie in her honor. In 2002, Moonlight Mile was written and directed by Brad Silberling. Silberling was reportedly dating Rebecca Shaeffer when she was suddenly shot by Bardo on July 19th, 1989.

The movie would star Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Pompeo and Holly Hunter with music by Mark Isham. It wasn’t a box-office hit, but it did hit the hearts of those that were close to Rebecca. It just goes to show that you can’t put your trust into everyone. 

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