Peter Bogdanovich Dies at 82

Peter Bogdanovich Dies at 82

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich has died at age 82 of natural causes, according to Variety. Bogdanovich grew up in Kingston, New York.

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His career started as an acting student of Stella Adler. He then became a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art and wrote books on some of his foremost cinematic influences, including Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and Fritz Lang, before moving to Los Angeles.

Bogdanovich’s directorial debut came in 1968 with Targets, and three years later, he encountered tremendous success with his follow-up, The Last Picture Show. Just thirty-one years old at the time, Bogdanovich received acclaim and two Oscar nominations for his work as director and co-writer of the film. It also won prizes for stars Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman, and helped to launch the careers of Cybill Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Ellen Burstyn, in addition to earning a Best Picture nomination.

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Bodganovich’s next films, What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon, were also heralded as hits, with the latter winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for ten-year-old Tatum O’Neal. The deal he had arranged with Paramount Pictures for almost unlimited creative control of his projects was undone by subsequent failures, including Daisy Miller, At Long Last Love, and Nickelodeon. He also earned negative press for his very public affair with frequent collaborator Shepherd, which ended his marriage to production designer Polly Platt. He was later involved with Dorothy Stratten, who was violently killed by her husband and manager before the release of her film debut, Bogdanovich’s They All Laughed.

Though he did have some hits throughout the later part of his career, such as Saint Jack, The Mask, and Cat’s Meow, he never returned to the same early level of prominence. He did, however, appear in front of the camera in a number of roles, including as Dr.

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Melfi’s psychotherapist on The Sopranos and in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. Bogdanovich’s influence continues to be felt on a generation of cinema. As David Thomson wrote in his book, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, “Bogdanovich was a valuable, French-inspired critic who insisted on the director as auteur, so much so that many Americans began to take directors more seriously because of what he wrote.” His is survived by his two children, Antonia and Sashy.

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