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Rebecca Schaeffer thought it was sweet that a fan was sending her stuffed animals and other little gifts at the studio lot where her sitcom My Sister Sam was filmed.
The CBS show, on which she played a spunky teen who goes to live with her photographer sister in San Francisco, was her big break after just a few acting jobs, and she had quickly become a favorite of the Seventeen-reading set. (Not to mention, the fresh-faced brunette had been on the magazine's March 1987 cover.)
My Sister Sam ended in 1988 after two seasons, but the work kept coming. Schaeffer co-starred in the racy big-screen farce Scenes From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, which hit theaters in June 1989. She had wrapped the TV movie Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair, about the real-life 1985 hijacking of a cruise liner, with screen legends Eva Marie Saint and Burt Lancaster. Dyan Cannon had just directed her in a movie, The End of Innocence, in which Schaeffer played a younger version of Cannon's character.
She was even said to be in the running for the lead in an upcoming romantic comedy called Pretty Woman.
And on the morning of July 18, 1989, the 21-year-old from Oregon was waiting for a delivery that, if all went well, could change her life.