Peter BogdanovichFilmmaker / Actor / Writer
Born: 30 July 1939
Birthplace: Kingston, New York
Best known as: Director of The Last Picture Show
The small-town drama The Last Picture Show earned eight Oscar nominations and made Peter Bogdanovich the hottest young film director of 1971. Bogdanovich got his start as a critic, historian and eager film buff; he wrote about (and cultivated friendships with) Howard Hawks, Orson Welles and other leading directors before moving behind the camera himself. The screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972, with Barbra Streisand) and then Paper Moon (1973, with the father-daughter combo of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal) were hits, but a series of flops and financial disasters put Bogdanovich's career in turnaround. In the two decades that followed he directed only sporadically, his most successful film being Mask (1985, with Cher). Bogdanovich's romantic life was equally tumultuous: he left his first wife for Cybill Shepherd, his star in The Last Picture Show, and after their breakup he fell in love with the Playboy model-turned-actress Dorothy Stratten. Stratten was shot to death by estranged husband Paul Snider in a 1980 murder-suicide. (The incident was the basis of Bob Fosse's 1983 film Star 80). In 1988 Bogdanovich turned heads by marrying Stratten's 20-year-old sister Louise Hoogstraten; she filed for divorce in 2001. Bogdanovich's many books about film include The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock (1963), Pieces of Time (1973) and the Hollywood character studies Who the Devil Made It? (1997) and Who the Hell's In It? (2004).
Extra credit: His 1990 film Texasville was a sequel to The Last Picture Show; both films were based on novels by Larry McMurtry... His 2002 film The Cat's Meow was based on the mysterious death of Hollywood pioneer Thomas Ince... Bogdanovich's 1984 book about Stratten was titled The Killing of the Unicorn... Another famous critic-turned-director was Francois Truffaut... He took a recurring acting role in the TV series The Sopranos, playing a psychiatrist who treats psychiatrist Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco).
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