Film News: Iconic Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich Dies at 82

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CHICAGO – The work of filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich – who passed away on January 6th, 2022, at age 82 – was inspired by the cinematic language of American movies, which he interpreted through his many classic films. His most fertile and imaginative period were three movies from 1971 through 1973, which began with his masterpiece, “The Last Picture Show.”

Bogdanovich’s personal life was also the stuff of legend, and contributed to to a less inspired creative period after 1973, but he made a major comeback with “Mask” (1985) and didn’t stop there … he directed six more narrative feature films thereafter, two documentaries and seven TV movies.

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In 2016: Peter Bogdanovich at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Peter Bogdanovich was born in Kingston, New York, the son of Serbian immigrants. An early adapter of film scholarship, Bogdanovich kept a meticulous record of every film he ever saw from the age of 13 to his early 30s. He began his career as a film writer, seeking out the titans of the early studio era in their old age, and revived scholarship on John Ford, Howard Hawks and Orson Welles. A chance encounter with producer Roger Corman led to his first directing job, “Targets” (1968), and his association with Ford and Welles influenced the creation of “The Last Picture Show” (1971).

His follow ups were the hilarious “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972) and the rambunctious “Paper Moon” (1973). It was during this period that he divorced his first wife and collaborator Polly Platt, and had a long time relationship with actress Cybil Shepard, who appeared in “Last Picture Show,” and subsequently “Daisy Miller” (1974) and “At Long Last Love” (1975), which weren’t as well received as his previous films. His next three films, “Nickelodeon,” “Saint Jack” and “They All Laughed” (1981, with then-lover Dorothy Stratton) finished his 1970s era in a critical and box office downturn. Stratton was then tragically murdered by her ex-husband, a further spiral in Bogdanovich’s life.

After Mask, he revisited his “Last Picture Show” roots with “Texasville” (1990), a critical and box office flop, but had good notices for “The Cat’s Meow” in 2001. “She’s Funny That Way” was his last narrative feature film, and his last film of any kind was the documentary “The Great Buster: A Celebration” (2018) about silent film era actor Buster Keaton. He also acted in film and television, including a recurring role on “The Sopranos.” Peter Bogdanovich died of natural causes in Los Angeles. He is survived by his two children through his marriage to Polly Platt, Antonia and Alexandra, and three grandchildren.

Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com talked with Peter Bogdanovich when he attended the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival in 2016, where he received a Career Achievement Award. The interview begins on PAGE TWO.

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