Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich

Born: July 30, 1939
Age: 84
Birthplace: Kingston, New York, U.S.
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Peter Bogdanovich (Serbian: Петар Богдановић, Petar Bogdanović, born July 30, 1939) is an American director, writer, actor, producer, critic and film historian. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors, which included William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola. His most critically acclaimed and well-known film is the drama The Last Picture Show (1971).

Bogdanovich also directed the thriller Targets (1968), the screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972), the comedy-drama Paper Moon (1973) and the drama Mask (1985). His most recent film, She's Funny That Way, was released in 2014.



Early life

Bogdanovich was born in Kingston, New York, the son of Herma (née Robinson)(1904-???) and Borislav Bogdanovich (1899-1970), a painter and pianist. His Austrian-born mother was Jewish, while his father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian; the two arrived in the U.S. in May 1939.

Film critic

In the early 1960s, Bogdanovich was known as a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. An obsessive cinema-goer, seeing up to 400 movies a year in his youth, Bogdanovich showcased the work of American directors such as Orson Welles and John Ford—whom he later wrote a book about, based on the notes he had produced for the MoMA retrospective of the director—and Howard Hawks. Bogdanovich also brought attention to such forgotten pioneers of American cinema as Allan Dwan. Bogdanovich kept a card file of every film he saw between 1952 and 1970, with complete reviews of every film.

Bogdanovich was influenced by the French critics of the 1950s who wrote for Cahiers du Cinéma, especially critic-turned-director François Truffaut. Before becoming a director himself, he built his reputation as a film writer with articles in Esquire. These articles were collected in Pieces of Time (1973).

Move to Los Angeles and Roger Corman

In 1968, following the example of Cahiers du Cinéma critics Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer who had created the Nouvelle Vague ("New Wave") by making their own films, Bogdanovich decided to become a director. With his wife Polly Platt, he headed for Los Angeles, skipping out on the rent in the process.

Intent on breaking into the industry, Bogdanovich would ask publicists for movie premiere and industry party invitations. At one screening, Bogdanovich was viewing a film and director Roger Corman was sitting behind him. The two struck up a conversation when Corman mentioned he liked a cinema piece Bogdanovich wrote for Esquire. Corman offered him a directing job which Bogdanovich accepted immediately. He worked with Corman on Targets, which starred Boris Karloff, and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, under the pseudonym Derek Thomas. Bogdanovich later said of the Corman school of filmmaking, "I went from getting the laundry to directing the picture in three weeks. Altogether, I worked 22 weeks - preproduction, shooting, second unit, cutting, dubbing - I haven't learned as much since."

Returning to journalism, Bogdanovich struck up a lifelong friendship with Orson Welles while interviewing him on the set of Mike Nichols's Catch-22 (1970). Bogdanovich played a major role in elucidating Welles and his career with his writings on the actor-director, most notably his book This is Orson Welles (1992). In the early 1970s, when Welles was having financial problems, Bogdanovich let him stay at his Bel Air mansion for a couple of years.

In 1970, Bogdanovich was commissioned by the American Film Institute to direct a documentary about John Ford for their tribute, Directed by John Ford (1971). The resulting film included candid interviews with John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda, and was narrated by Orson Welles. Out of circulation for years due to licensing issues, Bogdanovich and TCM released it in 2006, featuring newer, pristine film clips, and additional interviews with Clint Eastwood, Walter Hill, Harry Carey, Jr., Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and others.

Three hits

Much of the inspiration which led Bogdanovich to his cinematic creations came from early viewings of the film Citizen Kane. In an interview with Robert K. Elder, author of The Film That Changed My Life, Bogdanovich explains his appreciation of Orson Welles' work:

It’s just not like any other movie you know. It’s the first modern film: fragmented, not told straight ahead, jumping around. It anticipates everything that’s being done now, and which is thought to be so modern. It’s all become really decadent now, but it was certainly fresh then.

The 32-year-old Bogdanovich was hailed by critics as a "Wellesian" wunderkind when his best-received film, The Last Picture Show, was released in 1971. The film gained eight Academy Awards nominations, including Best Director, and won two statues, for Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson in the supporting acting categories. Bogdanovich co-wrote the screenplay with Larry McMurtry, and it won the 1971 BAFTA award for Best Screenplay. Bogdanovich cast the 21-year-old model Cybill Shepherd in a major role in the film and fell in love with her, an affair that eventually led to his divorce from Polly Platt, his longtime artistic collaborator and the mother of his two daughters.

Bogdanovich followed up The Last Picture Show with the popular comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972), starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, a screwball comedy indebted to Hawks's Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940). Despite his reliance on homage to bygone cinema, Bogdanovich solidified his status as one of a new breed of A-list directors that included Academy Award winners Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin, with whom he formed The Directors Company. The Directors Company was a generous production deal with Paramount Pictures that essentially gave the directors carte blanche if they kept within budget limitations. It was through this entity that Bogdanovich's Paper Moon (1973) was produced.

Paper Moon, a Depression-era comedy starring Ryan O'Neal that won his 10-year-old daughter Tatum O'Neal an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, proved the high-water mark of Bogdanovich's career. Forced to share the profits with his fellow directors, Bogdanovich became dissatisfied with the arrangement. The Directors Company subsequently produced only two more pictures, Coppola's The Conversation (1974), which was nominated for Best Picture in 1974 alongside The Godfather, Part II, and Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller, which had a lackluster critical reception.

Three flops

Daisy Miller (1974) was a disappointment at the box office. At Long Last Love (1975) and Nickelodeon (1976) were critical and box office disasters, severely damaging his standing in the film community. Feeling against Bogdanovich began to turn. "I was dumb. I made a lot of mistakes," he said in 1976. He took a few years off then returned to directing with a lower budgeted film, Saint Jack (1979) which was a critical success, although not a large hit. The making of this saw the end of his romantic relationship with Cybill Shepherd.

Dorothy Stratten and They All Laughed

Bogdanovich's next film was the romantic comedy They All Laughed (1980), which starred Dorothy Stratten, a former model who began a romantic relationship with Bogdanovich. Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband. Bogdanovich took over distribution of the film himself.

Bogdanovich turned back to writing as his directorial career sagged, beginning with The Killing of the Unicorn - Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980, a memoir published in 1984. Teresa Carpenter's "Death of a Playmate" article about Dorothy Stratten's murder was published in The Village Voice and won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize, and while Bogdanovich did not criticize Carpenter's article in his book, she had lambasted both Bogdanovich and Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner, claiming that Stratten was a victim of them as much as of her husband, Paul Snider, who killed her and himself. Carpenter also criticized Bogdanovich for his "puerile preference for ingenues". Carpenter's article served as the basis of Bob Fosse's film Star 80 (1983), in which Bogdanovich, for legal reasons, was portrayed as the fictional director "Aram Nicholas," a sympathetic but possibly misguided and naive character.

Bogdanovich took over distribution of They All Laughed himself. He later blamed this for why he had to declare bankruptcy in 1985. He declared he had a monthly income of $75,000 and monthly expenses of $200,000.

On December 30, 1988, the 49-year-old Bogdanovich married 20-year-old Louise Stratten, Dorothy's younger sister, whom he had begun dating when she was only 14, two years after Dorothy's death. The couple divorced in 2001. The marriage was viewed as a scandal because of his previous engagement to her sister.

Mask and Texasville

Though he achieved success with Mask in 1985, Bogdanovich's 1990 sequel to The Last Picture Show, called Texasville was a critical and box-office disappointment. Both films occasioned major disputes between Bogdanovich, who still demanded a measure of control over his films, and the studios, which controlled the financing and final cut of both films. Mask was released with a song score by Bob Seger against Bogdanovich's wishes (he favored Bruce Springsteen), and Bogdanovich has often complained that the version of Texasville that was released was not the film he had intended. A director's cut of Mask, slightly longer and with Springsteen's songs, was belatedly released on DVD in 2006. A director's cut of Texasville was released on laserdisc, and the theatrical cut was released on DVD by MGM in 2005. Around the time of the release of Texasville, Bogdanovich also revisited his earliest success, The Last Picture Show, and produced a slightly modified director's cut. Since that time, his recut has been the only available version of the film.

Bogdanovich directed two more theatrical films in 1992 and 1993, but their failure kept him off the big screen for several years. One, Noises Off..., based on the Michael Frayn play, has subsequently developed a strong cult following, while the other, The Thing Called Love, is better known as one of River Phoenix's last roles before his untimely death.

In 1997 he declared bankruptcy again.

Bogdanovich, drawing from his encyclopedic knowledge of film history, authored several critically lauded books, including Peter Bogdanovich's Movie of the Week, which offered the lifelong cinephile's commentary on 52 of his favorite films, and Who The Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors and Who the Hell's in It: Conversations with Hollywood's Legendary Actors, both based on interviews with directors and actors.

Later career

In 2001, Bogdanovich resurfaced with The Cat's Meow. Returning once again to a reworking of the past, this time the supposed murder of director Thomas Ince by Orson Welles's bête noire William Randolph Hearst, The Cat's Meow was a modest critical success but made little money at the box office. Bogdanovich says he was told the story of the alleged Ince murder by Welles, who in turn said he heard it from writer Charles Lederer.

In addition to directing some television work, Bogdanovich returned to acting with a recurring guest role on the cable television series The Sopranos, playing Dr. Melfi's psychotherapist. Bogdanovich directed a fifth-season episode of the series. He also voiced the analyst of Bart Simpson's therapist in an episode of The Simpsons, and appeared as himself in the "Robots Versus Wrestlers" episode of How I Met Your Mother along with Arianna Huffington and Will Shortz. Quentin Tarantino also cast Bogdanovich as a disc jockey in Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2. "Quentin knows, because he's such a movie buff, that when you hear a disc jockey's voice in my pictures, it's always me, sometimes doing different voices," said Bogdanovich. "So he called me and he said, 'I stole your voice from The Last Picture Show for the rough cut, but I need you to come down and do that voice again for my picture...'"

Bogdanovich hosted The Essentials on Turner Classic Movies, but was replaced in May 2006 by TCM host Robert Osborne and film critic Molly Haskell. Bogdanovich is also frequently featured in introductions to movies on Criterion Collection DVDs, and has had a supporting role as a fictional version of himself in the Showtime comedy series Out of Order. He will next appear in The Dream Factory.

In 2006, Bogdanovich joined forces with ClickStar, where he hosts a classic film channel, Peter Bogdanovich's Golden Age of Movies. Bodganovich also writes a blog for the site. In 2003 he appeared in the BBC documentary, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and in 2006 he appeared in the documentary Wanderlust.

In 2007, Bogdanovich was presented with an award for outstanding contribution to film preservation by The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In 1998, the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress named The Last Picture Show to the National Film Registry, an honor awarded only to culturally significant films.

In 2010, Bogdanovich joined the directing faculty at the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. On April 17, 2010, he was awarded the Master of Cinema Award at the 12th Annual RiverRun International Film Festival. In 2011, he was given the Auteur Award by the International Press Academy, which is awarded to filmmakers whose singular vision and unique artistic control over the elements of production give a personal and signature style to their films.

In 2012, Bogdanovich made news with an essay in the Hollywood Reporter, published in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, in which he argued against excessive violence in the movies:

Today, there’s a general numbing of the audience. There’s too much murder and killing. You make people insensitive by showing it all the time. The body count in pictures is huge. It numbs the audience into thinking it’s not so terrible. Back in the ’70s, I asked Orson Welles what he thought was happening to pictures, and he said, “We’re brutalizing the audience. We’re going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum.” The respect for human life seems to be eroding.

Bogdanovich's most recent film, She's Funny That Way, was released in theaters and on demand in 2015.


Directing credits


Year Film Other notes Rotten Tomatoes
1968 Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women Alternative Title: The Gill Women of Venus and The Gill Women
Credited as Derek Thomas
Targets Alternative Title: Before I Die
Also Writer/Producer/Editor
1971 Directed by John Ford Documentary
The Last Picture Show Also Writer
BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated - Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing - Feature Film
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated - Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
1972 What's Up, Doc Also Writer/Producer 91%
1973 Paper Moon Also Producer
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Director
1974 Daisy Miller Also Producer 100%
1975 At Long Last Love Also Writer/Producer 17%
1976 Nickelodeon Also Writer
Nominated - Golden Bear
1979 Saint Jack Also Writer
Venice Film Festival for Best Film
1981 They All Laughed Also Writer 33%
1985 Mask Nominated - Palme d'Or 93%
1988 Illegally Yours Also Producer 0%
1990 Texasville Also Writer/Producer 55%
1992 Noises Off Also Executive Producer 57%
1993 The Thing Called Love 57%
2001 The Cat's Meow 75%
2007 Runnin' Down a Dream Documentary 100%
2014 She's Funny That Way Alternative title: Squirrels to the Nuts
Also Writer


Year Work Other notes
1994 Picture Windows Television series
Episode: "Song of Songs"
1996 To Sir, with Love II Television film
1997 The Price of Heaven Television film
Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women Television film
1998 Naked City: A Killer Christmas Television film
1999 A Saintly Switch Television film
2004 The Mystery of Natalie Wood Television film
Hustle Television film

Acting credits

Year Title Role Notes
1966 The Wild Angels Townsman in Fight at Loser's Funeral Uncredited
1967 The Trip Townsman in Fight at Loser's Funeral Uncredited
1968 Targets Sammy Michaels
1968 Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women Narrator (voice) A.K.A. The Gill Women of Venus
and The Gill Women
1971 The Last Picture Show Disk Jockey (voice) Uncredited
N/A The Other Side of the Wind Brookes Otterlake Unreleased
Filmed between 1970-6
1977 Opening Night Himself Uncredited
1979 Saint Jack Eddie Schuman
1981 They All Laughed Disk Jockey Uncredited
1986 Moonlighting Himself Uncredited
1993 Northern Exposure Himself 1 episode
1994 Picture Windows Lucca Episode: "Song of Songs"
1995 Cybill Himself Uncredited, 1 episode
1997 Mr. Jealousy Dr. Howard Poke
1997 Bella Mafia Vito Giancamo Television film
1997 Highball Frank
1998 54 Elaine's Patron
1998 Lick the Star The Principal Short film
1999 Claire Makes it Big Arturo Mulligan Short film
1999 Coming Soon Bartholomew
2000 Rated X Film Professor
2000-2007 The Sopranos Dr. Elliot Kupferberg 15 episodes
2001 Festival in Cannes Milo
2003 Kill Bill: Volume 1 Disc Jockey (voice) Credited with "Special Thanks"
2003 Out of Order Zach 6 episodes
2004 Kill Bill: Volume 2 Disc Jockey Credited with "Special Thanks"
2004 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter Dr. Lohr Episode: "Daddy's Girl"
2005-2007 Law and Order: Criminal Intent George Merritt 2 episodes
2006 Infamous Bennett Cerf
2007 The Simpsons Psychologist (voice) Episode: "Yokel Chords"
2007 Dedication Roger Spade
2007 The Dukes Lou
2007 The Fifth Patient Edward Birani
2007 Broken English Iriving Mann
2007 The Doorman Peter
2008 Humboldt County Professor Hadley
2010 Abandoned Dr. Markus Bensley
2010 How I Met Your Mother Himself Episode: "Robots Versus Wrestlers"
2010 Queen of the Lot Pedja Sapir
2011 Rizzoli & Isles Arnold Whistler Episode: "Burning Down the House"
2013 The Between Man
2013 Cold Turkey Poppy
2013 You Are Here Judge Harlan Plath
2014 While We're Young Speaker
2014 The Good Wife Himself
2014 The Tell-Tale Heart The Old Man
2015 Pearly Gates Marty


  • Great Performances- episode - James Stewart: A Wonderful Life - Himself (1987)
  • Great Performances - episode - Bacall on Bogart - Himself (1988)
  • John Wayne Standing Tall - TV Movie - Himself (1989)
  • Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right - Documentary - Himself (1996)
  • Howard Hawks: American Artist - TV Movie documentary - Himself (1997)
  • Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary: No Guts, No Glory - TV Movie documentary - Himself (1998)
  • John Ford Goes to War - Documentary - Himself (2002)
  • Karloff and Me - Documentary - Himself (2006)
  • American Masters - episode - John Ford/John Wayne: The Filmmaker and the Legend - Himself (2006)
  • Stagecoach: A Story of Redemption - Video Documentary - Himself (2006)
  • Commemoration: Howard Hawks' 'Rio Bravo' - Video short - Himself (2007)
  • The Size of Legends, The Soul of Myth: 7 Part Documentary (2009)
  • Ride, Boldly Ride: The Journey to El Dorado: 7 Part Documentary (2009)
  • Dreaming the Quiet Man - Documentary - Himself (2010)
  • Peter Bogdanovich - Stagecoach Criterion Collection Edition Special Feature (2010)
  • A Film of Firsts: Peter Bogdanovich on Red River - Red River Criterion Collection Edition Special Feature (2014)
  • Hawks and Bogdanovich - Red River Criterion Collection Edition Audio excerpts Special Feature (2014)

Unmade films

  • The Criminals (1966) - a World War Two film for Roger Corman
  • Lonesome Dove (1972) - a Western from a script by Larry McMurtry who turned it into the best selling novel
  • The Apple Tree (early 1970s) from a script by Gavin Lambert based on the story by John Galsworthy
  • The Girl with the Silver Eyes (1974) based on novel by Dashiell Hammett
  • Twelve's a Crowd (early 1980s) with Keith Carradine and Colleen Camp
  • I'll Remember April with Colleen Camp, John Cassavetes and Charles Aznavour
  • remake of Detour (1945)
  • remake of Brewster's Millions (early 1980s) with John Ritter
  • The Lady in the Moon (early 1980s) from a script by Larry McMurtry
  • Private Lives with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from the play by Noël Coward (early 1980s - they later appeared in it on stage)
  • Paradise Road (late 1980s) from a novel by David Scott Milton to star Frank Sinatra set in Las Vegas
  • Turn of the Century (2013) based on Kurt Anderson novel

Bogdanovich was also fired off Duck, You Sucker! and Another You (1991), the latter while during filming. He turned down directing A Glimpse of Tiger, The Getaway (1972), King of the Gypsies (1978), Heaven Can Wait (1978), The Hurricane (1979) and Popeye (1980). He also turned down the role played by Dabney Coleman in Tootsie (1982). He also directed some scenes of the John Cassavetes film Love Streams (1984).


Targets The Last Picture Show What's Up, Doc? Paper Moon Daisy Miller At Long Last Love Nickelodeon Saint Jack They All Laughed Mask Illegally Yours Texasville Noises Off She's Funny That Way
Cybill Shepherd (actress)
Eileen Brennan (actress)
Randy Quaid (actor)
John Hillerman (actor)
Ryan O'Neal (actor)
Madeline Kahn (actress)
John Ritter (actor)
Harry Carey, Jr. (actor)
George Morfogen (actor, producer, dialogue coach)
László Kovács (director of photography)
Robby Müller (director of photography)
Polly Platt (production designer)


Books by Peter Bogdanovich:

  • 1961: The Cinema of Orson Welles
  • 1962: The Cinema of Howard Hawks
  • 1963: The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock
  • 1967: John Ford (expanded 1978)
  • 1969: Fritz Lang in America
  • 1970: Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer
  • 1973: Pieces of Time (expanded 1985)
  • 1984: The Killing Of The Unicorn - Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980. William Morrow and Company; ISBN 0-688-01611-1.
  • 1992: This is Orson Welles. HarperPerennial; ISBN 0-06-092439-X.
  • 1995: A Moment with Miss Gish. Santa Barbara: Santa Teresa Press.
  • 1997: Who The Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors. Alfred A. Knopf; ISBN 0-679-44706-7.
  • 1999: Peter Bogdanovich's Movie of the Week.
  • 2004: Who the Hell's in It: Conversations with Hollywood's Legendary Actors. Alfred A. Knopf; ISBN 0-375-40010-9.

Audio commentaries

Director's commentaries

  • Targets
  • The Last Picture Show (one solo commentary, and one with actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman and Frank Marshall)
  • The Sopranos (TV series) (episode "Sentimental Education")
  • What's Up, Doc?
  • Paper Moon
  • Daisy Miller
  • Nickelodeon
  • Saint Jack
  • They All Laughed
  • Mask
  • The Thing Called Love
  • The Cat's Meow

Scholarly commentaries

  • Bringing Up Baby
  • Citizen Kane
  • Clash by Night, with audio interview excerpts of director Fritz Lang
  • El Dorado
  • Fury, with audio interview excerpts of director Fritz Lang
  • The Lady from Shanghai
  • Land of the Pharaohs, with audio interview excepts of director Howard Hawks
  • M, with digital transfer supervisor Torsten Kaiser and restoration supervisor Martin Koerber, plus audio interview excerpts of director Fritz Lang
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Othello, with Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel
  • The Rules of the Game, reading commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske
  • The Searchers
  • The Sopranos (TV series) (episode "Pilot") with Sopranos creator David Chase
  • Strangers on a Train, with Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano, Patricia Highsmith biographer Andrew Wilson and other participants
  • To Catch a Thief, with film historian Laurent Bouzereau
  • The Third Man, on the Criterion Edition of the film
  • Make Way for Tomorrow, on the Criterion Edition of the film

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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