Peter Bogdanovich was one of the most promising young filmmakers of the 1970s. He had directed a string of critically acclaimed films, including The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and What’s Up, Doc?. But in the early 1980s, Bogdanovich’s career came to a crashing halt. He was accused of statutory rape and married the underage sister of his murdered lover. The public backlash was swift and severe, and Bogdanovich was exiled from Hollywood.
Bogdanovich’s Rise to Fame
Bogdanovich was born in Kingston, New York, in 1939. He developed a love of film at a young age and began writing about movies for magazines and newspapers in the early 1960s. In 1966, he published a book on Orson Welles, which helped to revive Welles’s career.
Bogdanovich made his directorial debut in 1968 with the film Targets. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it established Bogdanovich as a rising star in Hollywood.
In 1971, Bogdanovich directed his breakthrough film, The Last Picture Show. The film was a coming-of-age story set in a small Texas town in the 1950s. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Bogdanovich followed up The Last Picture Show with a string of other successful films, including Paper Moon (1973), What’s Up, Doc?* (1972), and Nickelodeon (1976).
The Stratten Affair
In 1979, Bogdanovich met Dorothy Stratten, a young Playboy Playmate. Bogdanovich was immediately smitten with Stratten, and they began a relationship.
Stratten was not an actress, but Bogdanovich was determined to make her a star. He cast her in his next film, They All Laughed (1981). The film was a critical and commercial failure, but Stratten’s performance was praised by critics.
In August 1980, Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider. Bogdanovich was devastated by Stratten’s death, and he blamed himself for her murder.
Bogdanovich’s Fall from Grace
In the aftermath of Stratten’s murder, Bogdanovich began to unravel. He started drinking heavily and using drugs. He also began a relationship with Louise Stratten, Dorothy’s younger sister.
In 1983, Bogdanovich was accused of statutory rape after it was revealed that he had been having sex with Louise when she was underage. Bogdanovich denied the allegations, but he was eventually arrested and charged with felony statutory rape.
Bogdanovich pleaded no contest to reduced charges of misdemeanor child sexual abuse. He was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to undergo counseling.
In 1988, Bogdanovich married Louise Stratten. The marriage was controversial, and it led to further public backlash against Bogdanovich.
After his arrest and marriage to Louise Stratten, Bogdanovich found it difficult to find work in Hollywood. He was blacklisted by many studios, and he was unable to secure financing for his films.
Bogdanovich also struggled with personal problems during this time. He divorced Louise Stratten in 1990, and he continued to abuse drugs and alcohol.
In 1992, Bogdanovich directed the film Noises Off. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it helped to revive Bogdanovich’s career. However, he never regained his former prominence in Hollywood.
Despite his exile from Hollywood, Bogdanovich remains a respected filmmaker. His films The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and What’s Up, Doc? are considered classics of American cinema.
Bogdanovich also had a significant influence on other filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg.
Why Bogdanovich’s Exile Matters
Bogdanovich’s exile from Hollywood is a cautionary tale about the dangers of fame and the power of the media. Bogdanovich was a talented filmmaker who made some of the best films of the 1970s. But his career was derailed by a series of personal scandals.
Bogdanovich’s exile also highlights the double standards that exist in Hollywood. Many male filmmakers have been accused of sexual misconduct, but they have been able to continue their careers without facing the same level of public scrutiny as Bogdanovich.
In recent years, Bogdanovich has made a comeback. He has directed several films and documentaries, and he has written several books. He has also taught film at several universities.
Bogdanovich’s story is a reminder that it is possible to redeem oneself after making mistakes. Bogdanovich has acknowledged his past transgressions, and he has worked hard to rebuild his career and his life.
Lessons from Bogdanovich’s Story
Bogdanovich’s story teaches us several important lessons:
- Fame can be dangerous, and it is important to stay humble.
- The media can be unforgiving, and it is important to be careful about what you say and do.
- It is possible to redeem oneself after making mistakes.
- It is important to have a strong support system of friends and family.
Peter Bogdanovich’s story is a complex one. He was a talented filmmaker who made some of the best films of the 1970s. But his career was derailed by a series of personal scandals.