Bridgette Andersen

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Bridgette Andersen
Born 1975/1976
Died 1997 (aged 21)
Los Angeles County,
California, USA
Cause of death Opioid overdose
Residence Malibu, California (1982)
Occupation Actress and model
Years active late 1970s –

Bridgette Andersen (1975/1976 – 1997) was a California-based child actress and child model in American media. She starred in 1982's Savannah Smiles, for which she received her first of four Youth in Film Award nominations.

Personal life

Born in 1975 or 1976, in April 1982, Andersen lived in Malibu, California[1] with her mother, father (Frank Andersen), younger sister,[2] and two brothers. Andersen's little sister was also in show business; as an infant, she was in television advertisements for Bank of America and Mervyn's.[3]

A reader since age two-and-a-half, the Havre Daily News reported that six-year-old Andersen had "a staggering IQ". Her favorite author was Ernest Hemingway, and her favorite book was The Old Man and the Sea.[2] In February 1983, Andersen enjoyed the TV series Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons. The seven-and-a-half-year-old planned to continue acting, and aspired to produce and direct films as well.[3]

Andersen died of an opioid overdose in 1997,[4] on Santa Monica Boulevard,[5] at the age of 21.[6]

Career

In a February 1983 interview with Johnny Carson on his late-night show, Andersen related a family anecdote of her trying to climb into the television set and play with Our Gang ("The Little Rascals") at age two. Caught by her father, she was taught about actors and acting, whereafter she secured a talent agent and began acting.[3] She spent three years fashion modeling and acting in television advertisements. She also appeared in television shows including King's Crossing and Washington Mistress.[1]

In 1982, Andersen starred as Savannah Driscoll in the 1982 film Savannah Smiles. Writer and co-star Mark Miller was inspired by[7]—and wrote the part for—his daughter, Savannah Miller. However, when the film was ready to shoot, Ms. Miller was too old for the part at age eleven,[2] so Mark Miller auditioned almost 150 children before discovering and choosing Andersen for the part.[7] In a contemporary interview, Andersen opined that she and the Driscoll character were "like twins! We do the same things."[2] According to The Cumberland Times, only three months after the release of Savannah Smiles, Miller was already writing another script to star Andersen.[7]

That same year, Andersen portrayed the six-year-old Mae West in the biographical television film, Mae West.[1] In 1983, Andersen explained that she preferred working in films versus television because they gave her more to do.[3] During the 1983–84 run of The Mississippi, Anderson was nominated for a Youth in Film Award ("Best Young Actress - Guest in a Television Series") for her work thereon.[8] Andersen went on to star in the short-lived CBS sitcom, Gun Shy; she portrayed Celia, one of two children won in a card game by Barry Van Dyke's Russell Donovan; six episodes were aired.[9]

In her teen years, Andersen had trouble finding acting work.[5][10]

Acting credits

Film performances
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Savannah Smiles Savannah Driscoll
1983 Nightmares [11] Brooke
1985 A Summer to Remember [12]
1985 Fever Pitch [13] Amy Taggart
Television performances
Year Title Role Notes
1982 King's Crossing
1982 Mae West Mae West (at age six) Television film
1983 Gun Shy Celia Six episodes
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre Gretel episode "Hansel and Gretel" [2]
1984 Remington Steele Angel episode "Blood Is Thicker Than Steele" [11]
1986 The Golden Girls Charley episode "The Truth Will Out" [11]
1986 The Parent Trap II [14] Mary Grand Television film

Awards nominations

Year(s) Award Category Title of work Result
1981–82 4th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Motion Picture Actress Savannah Smiles Nominated[15]
1982–83 5th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Actress in a Comedy Series Gun Shy Nominated[16]
1983–84 6th Youth in Film Awards Best Young Actress - Guest in a Television Series The Mississippi Nominated[8]
1984–85 7th Youth in Film Awards Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Television Special or Mini-Series A Summer to Remember Nominated[12]

Legacy

In 2015, actress Amber Tamblyn published her third book of poetryDark Sparkler—"featuring elegies to late actresses both legendary and unknown, all who suffered untimely deaths." Andersen is the subject of one such poem, as is pornographic film actor Shannon Michelle Wilsey (1970–1994), whose stage name "Savannah" was derived from Anderson's Savannah Smiles.[5] Wilsey's poem is written as "a meta-poem, where she's writing for Bridgette Andersen, and telling her how they're the same."[10]

When MVD Entertainment Group published Savannah Smiles on Blu-ray in 2018 as part of their MVD Rewind Collection, among the bonus materials included was "a featurette about the memories of Andersen".[17]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Andersen is precocious actress". Havre Daily News. 1982-04-23. p. 18.
  2. ^ a b c d e Triplett, Gene (1982-05-16). "Interview is almost too much for Gene". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. Archived from the original on 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  3. ^ a b c d The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Season 22. Episode 26. 1983-02-18. NBC.
  4. ^ Smetanka, Andy (2003-09-04). "Dead end kids". Colorado Springs Independent. Archived from the original on 2015-09-13. Retrieved 2018-08-18. Or, how Hollywood eats its child actors
  5. ^ a b c Turnbow, Tina (2015-04-07). "Amber Tamblyn Talks to Us About Her New Poetry Book Inspired By Dead Starlets". Paper. Paper Communications. ISSN 1073-9122. Archived from the original on 2018-08-20. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  6. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (2011-07-31). "'Savannah Smiles' child star dies young". Jacksonville Daily News. p. 31. OCLC 30050468. Bridgette Andersen, who played Savannah, worked at times following this movie, including in the TV comedy 'Gun Shy.'
  7. ^ a b c "All-American Country Music Stars Belie Typical Lyrics". The Cumberland News. 1982-06-26. p. 22.
  8. ^ a b "6th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1983–84. Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  9. ^ Leszczak, Bob (2016). "Gun Shy". Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s: A Complete Guide (illustrated ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7864-9958-8.
  10. ^ a b Smith, Zack (2016-02-23). "Interview: Actress and Poet Amber Tamblyn Surveys Hollywood's Toll on Women in Dark Sparkler". Indy Week. ISSN 0737-8254. Archived from the original on 2017-06-24. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  11. ^ a b c "Bridgette Andersen List of Movies and TV Shows | TV Guide". TV Guide. ISSN 0039-8543. Archived from the original on 2018-09-29. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  12. ^ a b "7th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1984–85. Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  13. ^ Brody, Richard (2016-10-13). "Richard Brooks's 'Fever Pitch' Never Got Its Due". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. ISSN 0028-792X. OCLC 320541675. Archived from the original on 2017-10-20. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  14. ^ Ferber, Taylor (2016-02-27). "Disney Child Stars Who Met With Incredibly Tragic Fates". VH1. Archived from the original on 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2018-08-23. Unfortunately, no one ever saw any of this coming.
  15. ^ "4th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1981–82. Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  16. ^ "5th Annual Awards". Youth in Film Association. 1982–83. Archived from the original on 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  17. ^ Barta, Preston (2018-05-18). "DVD reviews: 'Die Hard' turns 30 with high-definition explosions". Denton Record-Chronicle. Bill Patterson. Archived from the original on 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-08-21.

External links

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