Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich

American film director, screenwriter, actor, film producer, cinematographer, film critic and writer.
Date of Birth: 30.07.1939
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Peter Bogdanovich
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Breakthrough and Success
  4. Personal Life and Later Career

Biography of Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, film producer, cinematographer, film critic, and writer. He has been and remains one of the most authoritative directors of independent cinema in the United States. His film "The Last Picture Show," released in 1971, has stood the test of time, becoming a cult classic. Recently, the director announced the production of a new film, set to be released in 2015.

Peter Bogdanovich

Early Life and Career

Peter Bogdanovich was born on July 30, 1939, in Kingston, New York. His father was a Serbian pianist and painter, while his mother came from a wealthy Austrian Jewish family. When his parents decided to immigrate to the United States, they already knew they would have their first child. Peter developed a passion for cinema during his youth. At the age of 16, he studied acting with theater educator Stella Adler. To avoid any problems, Peter told everyone he was 18, which allowed him to combine his studies with work on television.

Peter Bogdanovich

During his youth, Bogdanovich was a big cinephile. He watched up to 500 films a year and wrote critical articles and screenplays for the magazine "Esquire." Additionally, Peter worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he curated film programs featuring the works of directors such as John Ford, Allan Dwan, Orson Welles, and Howard Hawks.

Peter Bogdanovich

In the 1960s, Bogdanovich became fascinated with French cinema. In particular, he was interested in the new approach to form and aesthetics proposed by critics from "Cahiers du Cinéma." In 1968, they established the main rules for this movement, which became known as the "New Wave." Inspired by the success of his French colleagues, Bogdanovich decided to become a film director. At that time, Peter was already married to Polly Platt and moved to Los Angeles with her.

Peter Bogdanovich

One day, Bogdanovich met producer and director Roger Corman in a movie theater. Corman expressed his admiration for Peter's screenplay for "Esquire" and offered him a collaboration. The result of their work together was the films "Targets" (1968) and "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women" (1968). The experience of working with Corman was crucial for Bogdanovich, as it taught him many technical aspects of film production.

Peter Bogdanovich

Returning briefly to journalism, Peter formed a friendship with director Orson Welles. He interviewed him multiple times, wrote critical notes on his films, directed a documentary about his life, and even published a book titled "This is Orson Welles." When Welles faced financial problems in the 1970s, Bogdanovich allowed him to live in his mansion in a prestigious neighborhood in Los Angeles. They remained good friends until Welles' death in 1985.

Breakthrough and Success

In 1970, Peter Bogdanovich received approval from the American Film Institute to shoot the documentary film "Directed by John Ford" (1971). The film included interviews with leading filmmakers and show business figures. In 2006, the director released a restored version of this film.

Peter Bogdanovich gained universal acclaim after the release of the film "The Last Picture Show" (1971). This cult classic was adapted from a novel by Larry McMurtry, who also co-wrote the screenplay. "The Last Picture Show" is considered a classic of American cinema. The film tells the story of a small town in Texas, where claustrophobia and despair dominate, and where people experience the same events generation after generation. The lives of best friends Duane and Sonny are also full of dissatisfaction and unfulfilled dreams. They love playing baseball and watching movies. They fall in love, argue, make new friends, but their lives do not change. And when the main characters go to the movie theater for the last screening, they realize that this phase of their lives has also come to an end. Before leaving for the Korean War, Sonny watches the film "Red River." "The Last Picture Show" pays tribute to director Orson Welles. It is no wonder that critics dubbed Bogdanovich a "Wellesian wunderkind." The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two: Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman received Oscars for Best Supporting Roles.

Following his success, Peter Bogdanovich solidified his career with the comedy "What's Up, Doc?" (1972). The film starred Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand and was a "screwball comedy" reminiscent of Howard Hawks' works. The film "Paper Moon" (1973), in which Ryan O'Neal was also involved, further increased his popularity. His ten-year-old daughter, Tatum O'Neal, received an Oscar for her supporting role, becoming the youngest winner of the award.

Personal Life and Later Career

After the dizzying success of his career, Peter Bogdanovich faced a decline. There were also personal changes in his life. During the filming of "The Last Picture Show," the director fell in love with the lead actress, Cybill Shepherd, and left his wife, leaving her with their two daughters. However, his romance with the actress was short-lived.

In 1980, Peter met Dorothy Stratten, a star of Playboy and aspiring actress. They began a romantic relationship, and he cast her in his film "They All Laughed" (1981). Thanks in part to the performances of actors Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, and Stratten herself, the film had success with audiences, although it received mixed reviews from critics.

Shortly after completing the film, shocking news broke: Dorothy Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband, photographer Paul Snider, who was deeply distraught over her relationship with Bogdanovich. This event deeply affected the director. In memory of Dorothy, he wrote the book "The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten."

Nevertheless, a few years later, Peter began dating Dorothy's sister, Louise Stratten. They married in December 1988 and remained married for 12 years.

Peter Bogdanovich has directed about 10 more films, but most of them were unsuccessful. The exception is the film "Mask" (1985), a touching story about a young man suffering from a degenerative bone disease. The film received several nominations and awards, and renowned singer Cher won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Peter Bogdanovich continues to work in the film industry. For a long time, he only appeared as an actor but recently announced the production of a new film. His self-written film, "Guilty Without Love," is set to be released in 2015. Hopefully, it will not be the "last picture show" of this talented director.