Phyllis Amanda Peterson known professionally as Amanda Peterson, was an American actress known for her role as Cindy Mancini in the 1987 comedy film Can't Buy Me Love. Peterson made her stage debut at age 7 as Gretl in the University of Northern Colorado's stage production of The Sound of Music. At the age of 8, she won a role in the musical film Annie, where she appeared as a dancing extra. Peterson went on to land guest spots on Father Murphy and Silver Spoons. She also appeared in more than fifty television commercials. During the 1983–84 television season, she co-starred as Squirt Sawyer on the NBC drama series Boone. Boone was canceled after one season.
In 1985, Peterson won her first starring role in the feature film Explorers. The following year, she co-starred as "Sunny Sisk" in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries A Year in the Life. The miniseries was highly acclaimed and was third-highest rated miniseries of the 1986–87 U.S. television season with a 16.9/27 rating/share. It was later adapted into a television series of the same name that aired on NBC from 1987 to 1988. For her work on the series, Peterson won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama Series. Despite being critically acclaimed, A Year in the Life was canceled after one season.
In 1986, 15-year old Peterson was cast in the teen comedy Boy Rents Girl, opposite Patrick Dempsey. The film was shot on location in Tucson, Arizona. The title was later changed to Can't Buy Me Love after producers secured the rights to The Beatles' 1964 song of the same name. Released in the summer of 1987, Can't Buy Me Love received mixed reviews but became the sleeper hit of the summer. After its release, Peterson and Dempsey obtained teen idol status and subsequently appeared on the covers of teen magazines such as Tiger Beat and Teen Beat.
In 1988, Peterson co-starred in the Roger Corman-produced post-apocalyptic film The Lawless Land, followed by a role in the 1989 teen drama Listen to Me. Later that same year, Peterson returned to Greely where she graduated from University High School (while working in Los Angeles, she was privately tutored). Shortly after graduating, she starred in the television movie Fatal Charm. That fall, Peterson enrolled at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. While on semester break, she appeared in a guest spot on Doogie Howser, M.D. Later that year, Peterson dropped out of Middlebury College. In 1994, she returned to acting in the fantasy film WindRunner, starring Jason Wiles. It was Peterson's final onscreen role.