Peter Bogdanovich dead at 82: Director controversially married younger sister of murdered girlfriend

Bogdanovich’s girlfriend was Dorothy Stratten, who was killed by her estranged husband in 1980, after which the iconic director took a break


                            Peter Bogdanovich dead at 82: Director controversially married younger sister of murdered girlfriend
Peter Bogdanovich attends 'A Conversation with Peter Bogdanovich' during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM)

Oscar-nominated director Peter Bogdanovich has died at the age of 82. The iconic writer who also gave hits, like ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ and ‘Paper Moon,’ breathed his last at his Los Angeles home late on Thursday night, January 6, his daughter Antonia Bogdanovich told The Hollywood Reporter.

His family released a statement after his demise that read, “Our dearest Peter passed away today from complications of Parkinson’s disease. The Bogdanovich/Stratten family wishes to thank everyone for their love and support in this most difficult time.”

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Bogdanovich, renowned for his technical mastery, made a name for himself with his second film, 1971’s ‘The Last Picture Show’. The black and white movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Admiring the drama, which was set in a Texas town, Stefan Kanfer had written at the time, “Bogdanovich, 31, has achieved a tactile sense of time and place. More, he has performed that most difficult of all cinematic feats: he has made ennui fascinating. Together, that is enough to herald him as possibly the most exciting new director in America today.”

The Other Side of the Wind Actor Peter Bogdanovich attends "The Other Side of the Wind"/"They'll Love Me When I'm Dead" Cocktail Reception during the NYFF on September 29, 2018, in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Netflix)

Bogdanovich also appreciated his work during an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune by saying: “It spoke to a lot of people. People have told me that it reminds them of their hometown, so I think it has a certain universality to it. Young love, and sex and all that, is pretty universal.” But his next few films – ‘Daisy Miller’ (1974) and ‘At Long Last Love’ (1975) –  failed, and many of his admirers suddenly became his critics.

Recalling that time in a 2019 interview with Vulture, Bogdanovich said: “They were pissed off that I was having an affair... I’ve seen pictures of us; I look like an arrogant, attractive guy, and she looks like a sexy girl. And we were rich and we were famous and we did movies together. Sometime in the mid-’70s, when we were getting terrible press, Cary Grant called me. He says, ‘Peter, will you for Christ’s sake stop telling people you’re happy? And stop telling them you’re in love.’ I said, ‘Why, Cary?’ ‘Because they’re not happy and they’re not in love.’ He was right.”

Director Peter Bogdanovich speaks onstage during the Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards presented by Los Angeles Confidential Magazine at Exchange LA on November 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. at Exchange LA on November 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for LA Confidential)

Around that time, Bogdanovich faced a personal tragedy. His girlfriend Dorothy Stratten, a Canadian Playboy Playmate, was killed by her estranged husband Paul Snider in 1980, which affected him deeply and he went on a four-year break. He also  In 1984 he wrote a book in 1984 – ‘The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980’ – on the incident and held Hugh Hefner responsible for Dorothy’s death.

“If I had to confront my own responsibility, there could be no way to ignore his. She could not handle the slick professional machinery of the Playboy sex factory, nor the continual efforts of its founder to bring her into his personal fold, no matter what she wanted,” he noted in the book. In retaliation, Hefner later blamed Bogdanovich for seducing Dorothy’s younger half-sister, Louise, and marrying her in 1988 when she turned 20. The film historian received a lot of flak at the time with Louise’s mother telling PEOPLE, “I feel he wants her because of a guilt trip. This happened to my other daughter, who got her head shot off, and it’s gonna happen to this one. He didn’t do it, but he was involved. If he is in love with one daughter, how can he be in love with the other daughter?”

Producer Louise Stratten and director Peter Bogdanovich wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch (not seen) attend the 'She's Funny That Way' during the 71st Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on August 29, 2014 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Jaeger-LeCoultre)

Bogdanovich also addressed his controversial marriage while speaking with The New York Times and stated: “She was like a contact with Dorothy, as far as I was concerned. There was garbage talk that I made Louise have facial surgery — to look like Dorothy. ‘Vertigo’ stuff.” However in 2001, the two divorced each other.

In the past few decades, Bogdanovich had not been quite active in filmmaking. The last movie he directed was 2014’s ‘She’s Funny That Way’. He was also the co-writer of the film. He once spoke with the Los Angeles Times and told the publication, “I’ve learned one thing: Every movie you make can’t be life or death. Bogdanovich is survived by his two daughters – Antonia and Sashy Bogdanovich – whom he had with first wife Polly Platt, and grandkids Maceo, Levi, and Wyatt.

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