Rebecca Schaeffer, The Actress Killed By A Fan Who Could Star In ‘Pretty Woman’ Before Julia Roberts

Let’s talk about Pretty Woman, that iconic romantic comedy classic that still continues to wreak havoc on television reruns. It was the starting gun for Julia Roberts’ career, but did you know that there were other actresses who could have fulfilled the same dream before her? Especially one in particular, who was murdered at home when she was one of director Garry Marshall’s favorites. It’s about Rebecca Schaeffer.

Rebecca Schaeffer en 1987. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

The script of Pretty Woman It was in development since the early 80s, when it was conceived as a drama about prostitution in the city of Los Angeles. Over the years it was retouched more than six times, and its new version of Cinderella starring an almost unknown Julia Roberts in the role of prostitute who falls in love with the rich man on duty (that is Richard Gere), dislodged us all. The stars agreed and everything fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, granting its protagonist the famous title of the Bride of America. Julia triumphed, it is clear, although she was not among the first on the list for the character. To the Oscar winner for Erin Brockovich It was preceded by other names that also pointed to manners.

First it was another redhead, Molly Ringwald known from the movie The club of five O Sixteen candles, who turned down the role of Vivian Ward. The same was expressed by the actress years later. Despite the resounding success of the film, the iconic interpreter of the 80s did not regret having rejected $3000, as the acclaimed film was initially titled. When he saw her on the big screen, he knew that the role was destined for Julia and that no one could have done it better. “Julia Roberts is what that movie does. It was hers. Every actor hopes one day to have a character that allows them to shine that way.”, He told as he collects Business Insider. But Ringwald’s rejection leads us to next on the candidate list: Rebecca Schaeffer.

Her kinky curls and her innocent and wild beauty at the same time had nothing to envy that of Julia. The television public had fallen in love with her after starring in the series My sister sam, which brought him fame when he was just 21 years old. Her career and enthusiastic personality promised golden roles, Hollywood romances, and a legion of fans spellbound by her charm. Unfortunately, the obsession of one of them kept us from enjoying it forever. A 19-year-old man named Robert Bardo shot her point-blank in the chest, killing her. One of those terrifying stories more typical of a fictional script that, much to our regret, was a real event.

Impressed by her beauty and innocence, as he himself expressed at the trial, he began to collect images of the actress in his room, where he had a shrine dedicated to Rebecca, “since then I became an atheist and only adored her”, He confessed. He wrote him an innocent letter as a fervent admirer that was immediately responded to when his assistant sent him a signed photo. He thought his love was reciprocated and from there, madness.

It was after seeing her sharing a bed with a man in the movie Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, that Bardo acted on his impulses. He hired a private detective to find out where he lived, got a gun, and went looking for it. He traveled to Los Angeles three times until he managed to locate her, asking neighbors and passersby to verify the address. He knocked on her door and Rebecca answered as she was getting ready to attend a casting for The Godfather III. The young man showed him the letter and the photo he had received, and after a brief conversation, the actress asked him to leave. But an hour later, Bardo returned. And this time, opening the door, Rebecca was shot at point-blank range that ended her life in a matter of minutes.

It happened on July 18, 1989, when Rebecca was just 21 years old and with a promising future ahead of her. In addition to My sister sam, had appeared in other productions such as the movie Radio Times (1987) u Out of time (1988), as well as The end of innocence, which was released posthumously. And just as she died, she was not only preparing to surprise Francis Ford Coppola, but she had been one of Garry Marshall’s favorites for the role of Vivian. Had he succeeded, it would have been his first starring role on the big screen.

The story is little known and there are no details about her casting, if she turned down the role or if the director ultimately discarded her. It is known that she was one of the candidates with the same age as Julia Roberts at the time, although Marshall also offered the role to Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daryl Hannah, who discarded it because they were not satisfied with the story. Filming began a week after the murder, so we assume that Marshall would have ruled it out or Rebecca would have rejected the offer before she died.

Rebecca’s crime marked a turning point in United States legislation that led to a tightening of laws regarding the protection of people’s identity. Too late for Rebecca whose future was cut short.

Bardo was arrested the day after the murder and sentenced to life in prison. He is currently 49 years old and serving his sentence in Avenal State Prison, California.

We will never know if she would have finally agreed to become Vivian and if she would have done just as well as Julia.
. After all, if we are honest, the protagonist of Notting Hill embroidered the paper. She was a bit ‘skinny’ according to director Garry Marshall, looking for a model to impersonate the scenes where she looks great. For the rest, we do not get a but a but. Another point in his favor was the explosive chemistry he had with Gere. The camera wanted them together so it was nice to see them in action. So much so that they repeated almost ten years later with Runaway bride, a story that did not hit the same but served as a romantic reunion for the fans.

Although it seems incredible, Pretty woman will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. The passage of time has not made a dent in that love and the film is already a classic in our homes and, of course, in Hollywood it continues to be one of their darlings. Today, the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the famous hotel where its protagonists lived their passionate romance, continues to offer its guests the “Pretty woman” experience, with a spa, a service that makes a Rolls Royce car available to them. for two people and tickets for the opera, whose price is around 90 thousand euros. But as in any relationship, nothing is rosy and on his way to success he also suffered the odd disappointment. For instance, car brands Ferrari and Porche refused to have their cars featured in this prostitute movie.

And it is precisely the good decisions that can change life or destiny in just one second. That’s why we will be Eternally grateful to Marshall and Disney for giving a chance to a script that initially had a much darker ending with its protagonist abandoned in an alley. Because if they don’t know, the movie was about to not be made. The studio that made the juicy offer to Julia went bankrupt and three days after landing the role she returned to the ranks of the strike as she herself confessed in a recent interview to the magazine Variety.

Months later the miracle took place and the forgotten story in a drawer, yes, something better with makeup, finally saw the light and swept every corner of the globe, making a box of almost 500 million euros in collection. The key to your success? There were many, but the idea that love can do everything and dreams come true were partly to blame. This is how the beggar of the film proposes it in his famous final sentence: “It’s always time to dream so keep dreaming”. We will listen to him, and if it is to the rhythm of Roy Orbison, responsible for the central theme, all the better.

More Hollywood Stories:

Catherine Zeta-Jones was about to change the course (and sex) of James Bond

The reason why Liza Minnelli does not want to see ‘Judy’ is more understandable than we would think

Demi Moore’s confession: she was raped at 15 by a man who paid her mother

Rebecca De Mornay, the villain of ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ who lost her place in Hollywood when she reached 40