Andropov's Pen Pal Samantha Gets Role in Television Pilot

Associated Press

Samantha Smith, the schoolgirl whose letter to former Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov won her VIP treatment from Moscow and worldwide fame, has been cast in a television series.

Samantha, 12, who is in the seventh grade, is scheduled to begin filming a pilot show next month with actor Robert Wagner for a weekly adventure series, her father said. The Columbia Pictures show is slated for ABC-TV next fall, he said.

The girl toured the Soviet Union in 1983 as a guest of the Soviet government after writing a letter to Andropov about her fears of nuclear war.

She has since appeared on talk shows, traveled to Japan to address a children's symposium and written a book about her trip.

Her father, Arthur Smith, who teaches English at the University of Maine at Augusta, said Samantha will play Wagner's daughter on the show. Wagner will play a wealthy insurance investigator living on a Virginia thoroughbred horse farm.

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