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'The Playboy Murders': The horrifying slaying of Dorothy Stratten

'The Playboy Murders', executive produced by former Playboy model and Hugh Hefner's ex-girlfriend Holly Madison, premieres on January 23
UPDATED JAN 22, 2023
In August 1980, Dorothy Stratten, the Playmate of the Year, was brutally murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider (@morbidpodcast/Instagram)
In August 1980, Dorothy Stratten, the Playmate of the Year, was brutally murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider (@morbidpodcast/Instagram)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: As 'The Playboy Murders' - a six-part true-crime series that sheds light on the tragedies associated with the publication - is all set to premiere on January 23, one of the most horrifying incidents linked to the Playboy magazine is back in public memory. The brutal slaying of former Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten in 1980 is one of the cases covered in the show. The show, which has been executive produced by Holly Madison, a former Playboy model and ex-girlfriend of the magazine's founder Hugh Hefner, will premiere on ID and will be available on Discovery+ the same day.

Madison has told ET that each part of the series is about a different murder that somehow involved someone linked to the Playboy world. She even mentioned the names of some of the models, including Carole Gold, Christine Carlin-Kraft, Jasmine Fiore, Stacy Arthur and others who will be the focus of the episodes. Madison said, "I think these stories are really important stories to tell," while noting that not all of them have been covered before. Madison also believes that Hefner "would have wanted people to know about the truth of what happened."


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The horrifying slaying of Dorothy Stratten

In August 1980, Dorothy Stratten, the Playmate of the Year, who was just 20 years old then, was brutally murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider. Stratten came across Snider, a local pimp, when she was a teenager working at Dairy Queen in Vancouver, as per ABC News. In 1978, Snider began grooming Stratten and persuaded her to pose for a nude photo shoot. In the next two years, Stratten went on to become the Playmate of the Year, with a budding acting career. 

Snider and Stratten got married in June 1979, but the relationship unraveled after some time. On August 14, 1980, when Stratten went over to the house that she once shared with Snider, she was brutally raped and murdered by Snider, who then shot himself. Both of them were found naked and police later determined that Snider had raped Stratten and shot her in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun before turning the gun on himself. Stratten was buried in the same Los Angeles cemetery as actress Marilyn Monroe.

'Secrets of Playboy', a series comprising of archival footage and exclusive interviews with the insiders from the Playboy world, was released on January 24, 2022. Miki Garcia, who was the brand's director of promotions at the time and responsible for arranging public appearances by Playmates, said in the series, "Dorothy Stratten's death was the final straw. That did it. It was so shocking to me," as reported by People magazine.

Garcia, who had been the Playmate of the Month in January 1973, made her way into Playboy's corporate office over the next nine years. When Stratten died, Garcia said she could no longer ignore the culture of toxic objectification and sexual abuse that permeated Playboy at every level. Garcia even tried to personally intervene on Stratten's behalf when she discovered Snider had been "arrested in Vancouver for dope peddling and pimping." Those are the words she wrote in a memo to Hefner on August 24, 1979, a year before Stratten's murder. "I wanted to warn Hef that Dorothy Stratten was with a very dangerous man," added Garcia.

The new series 'The Playboy Murders' is expected to untangle the murders, rape accusations, and conspiracies that have left a stain on Playboy's legacy. While speaking to ET, Madison added that "these were real people, some of whom worked for him and they deserve justice and they deserve to have their stories told."