Wednesday, February 28

‘Wonderful, great artist’: famous film author Peter Bogdanovich dies at 82


Peter Bogdanovich, the kerchief-clad movie buff and director of black-and-white classics from the 1970s like “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” has died. He was 82 years old.

Bogdanovich died early Thursday morning at this home in Los Angeles, his daughter, Antonia Bogdanovich, said. She said she died of natural causes.

Considered part of a generation of young “New Hollywood” directors, Bogdanovich was considered an author from the beginning, author of the chilling solo shooter film “Targets” and 1971’s “The Last Picture Show,” his evocative portrait of a Dying little town that garnered eight Oscar nominations, won two (for Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman), and catapulted him to stardom at the age of 32.

It followed “The Last Picture Show” with the wacky comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” Starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, and then the Depression-era road trip movie “Paper Moon,” which won Tatum O’Neal’s 10-year-old award was also an Oscar.

His turbulent personal life was also often in the spotlight, from his well-known romance with Cybill Shepherd that began during the making of “The Last Picture Show” while he was married to his close collaborator, Polly Platt, to the murder of his Playmate. . his girlfriend Dorothy Stratten and his subsequent marriage to his younger sister, Louise, who was 29 years his junior.

Reactions came quickly to the news of his death.

“Oh dear, a shock. I’m devastated. He was a great and wonderful artist, ”Francis Ford Coppola said in an email.

“I will never forget attending the premiere of ‘The Last Picture Show.’ I remember that at the end, the audience jumped around me and erupted in applause that easily lasted 15 minutes. “

“I will never forget, although I felt like I had never experienced a reaction like that, that Peter and his movie deserved it. May he sleep happily for eternity, enjoying the thrill of our applause forever, “said Coppola.

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Tatum O’Neal posted a photo of her with him on Instagram, writing “Peter was my heaven and my land. A father figure. A friend. From ‘Paper Moon’ to ‘Nickelodeon’ he always made me feel safe. I love you Peter. “

Guillermo del Toro tweeted: “He was a dear friend and a film champion. He gave birth to masterpieces as a director and was a most brilliant human being. He just interviewed and consecrated the lives and work of more classic filmmakers than almost anyone else of his generation. “

Born in Kingston, New York in 1939, Bogdanovich started out as a journalist and film critic, working as a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art, where through a series of retrospectives he endeared himself to a host of filmmakers from the old guard, including Orson Welles. , Howard Hawks and John Ford.

But his education in Hollywood began earlier: his father took him at the age of 5 to see Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton films at the Museum of Modern Art. He would later make his own Keaton documentary, “The Great Buster,” which premiered in 2018.

Bogdanovich and Platt moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, where they attended Hollywood parties and made friends with Corman and Frank Marshall, then an aspiring producer, who helped get the movie “Targets” off the ground.

And the career advancement only continued for the next few movies and years. But after “Paper Moon,” which Platt collaborated on after they broke up, he would never again capture the accolades of those first five years in Hollywood.

Bogdanovich’s relationship with Shepherd led to the end of his marriage to Platt, with whom he shared daughters Antonia and Sashy, and a fruitful creative partnership.

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The 1984 film “Irreconcilable Differences” was loosely based on the scandal.

He later questioned the idea that Platt, who died in 2011, was an integral part of the success of his early films.

He would go on to make two other films with Shephard, an adaptation of Henry James’s “Daisy Miller” and the musical “At Long Last Love,” neither of which were particularly well received by critics or audiences.

And he also missed great opportunities at the height of his successes. He told the Vulture that he rejected “The Godfather”, “Chinatown” and “The Exorcist”.

“Paramount called and said,“ We ​​just bought a new Mario Puzo book called The Godfather. We’d like you to consider directing it. “I said,” I’m not interested in the mob, “he said in the interview.

Headlines would continue to follow Bogdanovich for things other than his movies. He began an affair with his Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten while directing her in “They All Laughed,” a romantic comedy with Audrey Hepburn and Ben Gazzara, in the spring and summer of 1980.

Her husband, Paul Snider, murdered her in August.

Bogdanovich, in a 1984 book entitled “The Unicorn Slaughter: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980,” criticized Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire for its alleged role in the events that he claimed led to Stratten’s death.

Then, nine years later, at 49, he married his younger sister, Louise Stratten, who was just 20 at the time.

They divorced in 2001 but continued to live together.

In a 2020 interview, Bogdanovich acknowledged that his relationships had an impact on his career.

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“Everything about my personal life got in the way of people’s understanding of movies,” Bogdanovich said. “That is something that has plagued me from the first photos.”

Despite some failures along the way, Bogdanovich’s production remained prolific in the 1980s and 1990s, including a sequel to “The Last Picture Show” called “Texasville,” the romantic country music drama “The Thing Called Love. “, one of the last of River Phoenix. movies and, in 2001, “The Cat’s Meow,” about a party on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht starring Kirsten Dunst as Marion Davies.

His latest narrative film, “She’s Funny that Way,” a wacky comedy starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston that he co-wrote with Louise Stratten, debuted to mixed reviews in 2014.

Over the years, he authored several books on movies including “Peter Bogdanovich’s Movie of the Week,” “Who Made It the Devil: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors” and “Who the Hell in This: Conversations with legendary Hollywood actors. “

He also acted frequently, sometimes playing himself (in “Moonlighting” and “How I Met Your Mother”) and other people, such as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg in “The Sopranos”, and inspired a new generation of filmmakers, from Wes Anderson to Noah Baumbach.

“They call me ‘dad’ and I allow it,” he told Vulture.

Yet even with his Hollywood-sized ego, Bogdanovich remained respectful to those who came before him.

“I don’t judge myself on the basis of my contemporaries,” he told The New York Times in 1971.

“I judge myself against the directors I admire: Hawks, Lubitsch, Buster Keaton, Welles, Ford, Renoir, Hitchcock. I certainly don’t think I’m as good as they are, but I think I’m pretty good.”


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