October 27, 2021

‘Savannah Smiles’ Star Bridgette Andersen Liked Making People Happy but Died Tragically in 1997

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Bridgette Andersen from "Savannah Smiles" was truly an "angel" who loved making people happy on- and off-screen. Sadly, the young beauty died at the early age of 21, in 1997.

Like many child stars, Andersen picked up a flair for acting at a young age. She was a toddler when she first appeared onscreen with great features in productions like "Savannah Smiles" and "Hansel and Gretel."

Anderson brought smiles to the faces of many, something the actress admitted made her a fulfilled actress. Apart from the joys she brought by appearing on TV, she had a charming personality and great wits, all of which made her a bundle of happiness. 


Pictures of Bridgette Andersen as a child star | Photo: Getty Images

Andersen was also an adorable little girl and fun to be with; during interviews, the journalists were impressed at how she conducted herself, dished out answers, and just how she made it a memorable procedure altogether. 


Although Andersen did not live long enough to enjoy her success and bask in the glory of her high IQ and uniqueness, due to her tragic exit in 1997, she was blessed to have those who genuinely supported her and applauded her works and personality.

Her achievements stand out; even though the "Savannah Smiles" star was not around for long, many remember her distinct nature fondly and how she made people happy.

Actress Bridgette Andersen on set of the movie "Savannah Smiles" in 1982. | Photo: Getty Images



The former child star was born in Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA, in 1975, to parents (Frank and Teresa) who appreciated and spotted her intelligence before the world knew of her existence.

Although it is normal for parents to claim their kids are special, with everyone wanting to associate with a genius child, for the Andersen family, it was not a cliche statement to make; their little girl was indeed special.

According to her father, Frank, a writer, she developed a sharp mind at a rather young age. She soon began making history in the neighborhood as many residents knocked on their door to see the toddler who reasoned and spoke like an adult.


Bridgette Andersen and Ann Jillian sighted on April 21, 1982 | Photo: Getty Images

Before becoming an actress, she had a knack for reading and adding to her knowledge repository; at age two and a half, Anderson could pick up a book and make sense of its content. She had a favorite piece titled "The Old Man and the Sea."


Andersen approached her dad with overwhelming confidence during that same period that she would love to become an actress. Thankfully he did not refuse; after all, he was not an alien to movie content.

Frank sought a way to include his daughter in his scripts, and they proceeded to make a film together. Before reaching 10, she had starred in a few onscreen productions, one of which was "Savannah Smiles," where she played a little girl, Savannah.

Actor James Brolin, actress Bridgette Andersen and actress Ann Jillian attend the Screening of the ABC Made-for-Television Movie "Mae West" on April 21, 1982 | Photo: Getty Images


In the film, Andersen feels neglected by her parents and decides to run away from home, but she ends up in the company of two convicts. It was a role she loved playing, and during an interview, she confessed that there is not much difference between Savannah and Andersen. 

The youngster added that she felt neglected and unloved at some point by her dad, who was often busy with work, and decided to copy Savannah but had a rethink after reaching the end of their block.

The "Savannah Smiles" alum loved her time on the movie. However, getting the part onscreen was unexpected as the writer, Mark Miller, intended to give it to his daughter, Savannah.


The entire procedure took quite some time, and by the time they were ready to produce, Miller's daughter had outgrown the role. When asked how she got the part, the child star said,

"Well, they probably chose me because of the way I said a story about Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox, which they put in the movie."


While Andersen seemed confident in herself, she also had a driving force that motivated her love for the craft. When asked why she loved the onscreen job, the young girl told a reporter that movies make people happy (especially the unhappy and poor).

A picture of Bridgette Andersen smiling lovingly | Photo: Youtube/Most Actor & Actress Hollywood



Undoubtedly, the former child star was everybody's favorite during her reigning days, but as she grew older, she began to withdraw and soon succumbed to peer pressure.

As a teenager, Andersen did not have a close bond with her family, as she did as a child, and soon became reckless with the company she kept. The young lady embarked on a journey of alcohol and drug abuse, which ultimately ended her life.

A picture of Bridgette Andersen from a movie scene | Photo: Youtube/Most Actor & Actress Hollywood


Sadly, before her untimely end, she battled with her demons, had enrolled in a theatre school, and worked at the Erewhon Health Food Store in Los Angeles but could not strip herself of bad friends.

In May 1997, she overdosed on some drinks and drugs and was admitted to the Queens of Angels hospital. A few days later, the "Savannah Smiles" star was declared dead after suffering from brain damage and disconnected from the life support machine keeping her alive.

A picture of Bridgette Andersen from a movie scene | Photo: Youtube/Most Actor & Actress Hollywood



Hollywood allows many to experience fame on a great platform, but their talents must be the driving force, and for a few unique ones, they get their start early in life. This does not mean that those who venture into acting at an adult age never top the celebrity list or make it big in the industry.

Sometimes, child stars are at a disadvantage because they are mostly confined to their roles as child actors, and it takes extra effort to reign as an adult.

Madylin Sweeten with brothers Sawyer Sweeten and Sullivan Sweeten of Everyone Loves Raymond arrives at the HBO Emmy after party held atThe Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on September 18, 2005 | Photo: Getty Images


Amid these struggles, many overcome the child star jinx. Some leave for a different career or battle with minor roles, and sadly, a few die tragically, never really accomplishing their full potential.

The answer to the heading above is that many have reached an untimely end following a drug overdose like Bridgette Andersen, while some died from murder or suffered a health problem.

For example, child star Rob Knox from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was murdered by Karl Bishop in 2008 while defending his brother outside a bar.

Actors Sullivan Sweeten (R) and Sawyer Sweeten attend the Everybody Loves Raymond Series Wrap Party at Hanger 8 on April 28, 2005 | Photo: Getty Images


Sawyer Sweeten, who starred in "Everybody Loves Raymond," committed suicide. He was believed to have abused cannabis and suffered a mental breakdown. "Poltergeist" alum Heather O' Rourke suffered a cardiac arrest and septic shock while trying to relieve her bowel blockage.

These child stars might not have lived for a long time, but TV lovers would never forget their sacrifices in show business that gave many people hope by watching these mini-geniuses. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.


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