Rebecca began modeling at the age of 16, going off to New York on her own to begin her career. Four months later, she found herself in Japan, modeling there. Eventually, she landed her role on My Sister Sam (1986), for which she is best known. In 1989, she became a spokesperson for Thursday's Child, a charity for at-risk teens. In April of that same year, having missed a signing due to filming, she reluctantly went to a girl's shelter to sign autographs. "No one will recognize me", she insisted, "or want my autograph," but as it turned out all of them did. In fact, the girls were so in awe that they invited her to the Renaissance Fair in May. Rebecca accepted, though only two months later, she lay dead on the pavement in front of her new apartment in Hollywood, having been shot to death by a paranoid schizophrenic man around her age, who came to her apartment disguised as a flower delivery man with a gun, most likely to save her from whatever delusions he had. Unfortunately, after signing an autograph for him twenty minutes earlier, she abruptly told him she was busy, he, in a fit of irrational anger, took the gun from the brown bag where he had carried it and shot her once in the chest, the bullet directly hitting her heart. Rebecca screamed out, "Why?" then hit the walkway and, a few moments later, died on the scene. The killer fled, aghast at his own act and strode onto the freeway, walking blindly, hoping to be hit and killed by some car or truck. He was subsequently arrested and plea-bargained for a life sentence without the possibility of parole with a then young assistant district attorney named Marcia Clark, who later became famous for her failed attempt to convict O.J. Simpson of murder. There was never any trial in the Rebecca Schaeffer case. Rebecca loved Japan and space exploration. She had a cat named Katherine (after Katharine Hepburn) and possessed quite a bit of intelligence and erudition for someone who had not completed school.