Peter Bogdanovich (Serbian: Петар Богдановић, Petar Bogdanović, born July 30, 1939) is a Serbian American director, writer, actor, producer, critic and film historian. He is 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.
Bogdanovich was born in Kingston, New York, the son of Herma (née Robinson) (1904–1978) and Borislav Bogdanovich (1899–1970), a painter and pianist. His Austrian-born mother was Jewish (her family moved from Vienna to Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1932), while his father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian; the two arrived in the U.S. in May 1939.
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).
In 1966, 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[clarification needed] film clips, and additional interviews with Clint Eastwood, Walter Hill, Harry Carey, Jr., Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and others.
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 earned eight Academy Award 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 lacklustre critical reception.
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.
In 1975, he sued Universal for breaching a contract to produce and direct Bugsy.
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 box office hit. The making of this film marked the end of his romantic relationship with Cybill Shepherd.
Bogdanovich's next film was the romantic comedy They All Laughed (1981), which featured Dorothy Stratten, a former model who began a romantic relationship with Bogdanovich. Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband shortly after filming completed.
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'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. The couple divorced in 2001. The marriage was viewed as a scandal because of the age gap and his previous relationship with her sister.
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.
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, also later directing a fifth-season episode. 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 has hosted 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 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 2014.
|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
|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% |
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
|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|
|1966||The Wild Angels||Townsman in Fight at Loser's Funeral||Uncredited|
|1967||The Trip||Townsman in Fight at Loser's Funeral||Uncredited|
|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
|1979||Saint Jack||Eddie Schuman|
|1981||They All Laughed||Disk Jockey||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|
|1998||Lick the Star||The Principal||Short film|
|1999||Claire Makes it Big||Arturo Mulligan||Short film|
|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 & Order: Criminal Intent||George Merritt||2 episodes|
|2007||The Simpsons||Psychologist (voice)||Episode: "Yokel Chords"|
|2007||The Fifth Patient||Edward Birani|
|2007||Broken English||Iriving Mann|
|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||You Are Here||Judge Harlan Plath|
|2014||While We're Young||Speaker|
|2014||The Good Wife||Fictionalized version of Himself|
|2014||The Tell-Tale Heart||The Old Man|
|2017||Get Shorty||Giustino Moreweather||TV series; Episode: "Turnaround"|
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 a scene in 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:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter Bogdanovich.|