Monday, April 15, 2024
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“Paper Moon” director Peter Bogdanovich dies

Peter Bogdanovich, the silk scarf fanatic and director of 1970s black and white classics like “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon” is dead. He was 82 years old.

Bogdanovich died early Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles, his daughter, Antonia Bogdanovich, said. He noted that he died of natural causes.

Considered part of a generation of young “New Hollywood” directors, Bogdanovich was recognized as an author from the beginning of his career with the lurid “Targets” about a murderous sniper and “The Last Picture Show” , from 1971, his evocative portrait of a small town in decline that earned him eight Oscar nominations and catapulted him to fame at age 32 after winning statuettes for Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman.

After “The Last Picture Show,” Bogdanovich released the comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” (“What’s Wrong with Me, Doc?”) Starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, and the Great Depression-era road trip movie “Paper Moon,” which earned Tatum O’Neal a Oscar at age 10.

His turbulent personal life also used to be in the public eye, from his famous affair with actress Cybill Shepherd that began while filming “The Last Picture Show” when he was married to his close collaborator Polly Platt, to the murder of his model girlfriend. Playboy Dorothy Stratten and his subsequent marriage to her younger sister, Louise, who was 29 years his junior.

After knowing his death, the film community reacted quickly.

“It is a shock. I am devastated. He was a wonderful and great artist, ”Francis Ford Coppola said in an email. “I will never forget going to the premiere of ‘The Last Picture Show.’ I remember that at the end the audience stood around me in a standing ovation that easily lasted 15 minutes. I will never forget it although I felt that I myself had not experienced such a reaction, Peter and his film deserved it. May he rest in bliss for eternity, enjoying the enchantment of applause forever. “

Guillermo del Toro tweeted: “He was a dear friend and defender of cinema. He created masterpieces as a director and he was the coolest human being. He easily interviewed and praised the life and work of more classic filmmakers than almost anyone else in his generation. “

Tatum O’Neal posted a photo of herself with the director on Instagram. “Peter was my heaven and my earth. A father figure. A friend. From ‘Paper Moon’ to ‘Nickelodeon’ he always made me feel safe. I love you Peter ”, he wrote at the bottom of the image.

Born in Kingston, New York, in 1939, Bogdanovich began working as a journalist and film critic, as well as a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art, where through a series of retrospectives he won the affection of directors of the old guard like Orson Welles, Howard Hawks and John Ford.

“They’ve given me very important one-sentence clues, like when Howard Hawks turned to me and said ‘always cut on the move and no one will notice the cut,'” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It was a very simple phrase, but it profoundly affected everything I have done.”

His Hollywood education began earlier, his father taking him at age 5 to see Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton films at the Museum of Modern Art. Later, he made his own Keaton documentary “The Great Buster,” which was released in 2018.

Bogdanovich and Platt moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, where they attended Hollywood parties and befriended Corman and Frank Marshall, who was just an aspiring producer at the time and helped build the “Targets” project. . Bogdanovich’s career advancement continued with his subsequent films. But after “Paper Moon,” which Platt collaborated on after they had split, he would never get the recognition of those first five years in Hollywood again.

Bogdanovich’s relationship with Shepherd led to the end of his marriage to Platt, with whom he had daughters Antonia and Sashy, and a fruitful professional relationship. The 1984 film “Irreconcilable Differences” was loosely based on scandal. Then Bogdanovich came to dispute the idea that Platt, who died in 2011, was an integral part of the success of his early films.

The director made two other films with Shephard, an adaptation of Henry James’s “Daisy Miller” and the musical “At Long Last Love”, neither of which it was particularly well received by the public or critics.

He also missed great opportunities at the height of his success. He told the Vulture that he rejected “The Godfather” (“The Godfather”) “Chinatown” (“Chinatown”) and “The Exorcist” (“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 mafia,’ he said in the interview.

The headlines continued to follow Bogdanovich on issues other than his films. He began an affair with Playboy model Dorothy Stratten while directing her in “They All Laughed” in the spring and summer of 1980. Her husband, Paul Snider, murdered her in August. Bogdanovich, in a 1984 book titled “The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980,” criticized Hugh Hefner’s empire in Playboy for his alleged role in the events that he said led to Stratten’s death. Nine years later, at age 49, he married Dorothy’s younger sister, Louise Stratten, who was 20 at the time. They divorced in 2001, but continued to live together with her mother in Los Angeles.

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

“All that stuff about my personal life got in the way of people understanding the movies,” Bogdanovich said. “That is something that has plagued me since my first films.”

Despite a few failed films, Bogdanovich’s production remained prolific in the 1980s and 1990s, including a sequel to “The Last Picture Show” titled “Texasville,” the romantic country drama “The Thing Called Love” (“ A Thing Called Love ”), which was one of River Phoenix’s last films 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 comedy starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston that he co-wrote with Louise Stratten, received mixed reviews upon its 2014 release.

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

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

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

In her 2020 AP interview, which coincided with the launch of a podcast about her career with Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, she said she was working on a Dorothy Stratten-inspired TV series, and was not optimistic about the future. of the cinema.

“I just keep going, you know. Television is not dead yet, ”he laughed. “But movies could have a problem.”

Despite having an ego the size of Hollywood, Bogdanovich still recognized those who led the way before him.

“I don’t judge myself in comparison to my contemporaries,” he told The New York Times in 1971. “I judge myself in comparison to the directors I admire, Hawks, Lubitsch, Buster Keaton, Welles, Ford, Renoir, Hitchcock. I definitely don’t think I’m close to being as good as them, but I think I’m pretty good. “

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