Peter Bogdanovich Biography

Theater Actor, Producer, Film Actor, Screenwriter, Film Critic, Director, Actor (1939–)
American film historian, author and director Peter Bogdanovich is best known for writing and directing the critically acclaimed film, The Last Picture Show (1971).


American film historian, author and director Peter Bogdanovich is best known for his critically acclaimed film, The Last Picture Show. He began his career on stage under the tutelage of famed acting teacher Stella Adler. He went on to direct, produce and act in a number of films including What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. He is an accomplished author of film criticism and analysis.

Early Career

Director, actor, producer, screenwriter and author Peter Bogdanovich was born on July 30, 1939, in Kingston, New York. Bogdanovich grew up in New York City and started acting as a teenager and studied with the famed acting teacher Stella Adler. He even directed a few off-Broadway plays before making the switch to films.

In 1966, Bogdanovich worked as an assistant to director Roger Corman on the film The Wild Angels. Corman then offered Bogdanovich his first chance to write and direct his own film. Bogdanovich created 1968's Targets, which starred horror film star Boris Karloff. But it was his next film that launched Bogdanovich's career into the stratosphere.

Breakthrough Film

Based on the Larry McMurtrey novel of the same name, The Last Picture Show (1971) was a huge success. Starring Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges, the film centered on a coming-of-age story set in a small Texas town during the 1950s. He was nominated for two Academy Award for directing and writing the script for the film. Next he tried his hand at comedy with What's Up, Doc? (1972), which starred Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. He and O'Neal worked together again on Paper Moon (1973), a family drama about a father and daughter (played by O'Neal's real-life daughter Tatum) team of scam artists set during the Great Depression.

After three great box office successes, Bodganovich's directorial career experienced a decline with such flops as At Love Last Love (1975) and Nickeleon (1976). He had a career renaissance of sorts in the 1980s with Mask, starring Cher and Eric Stoltz. The touching drama looked at the life of a disfigured boy and his mother. Unfortunately, several of Bogdanovich's later projects failed to find an audience.

Personal Tragedy

The 1980s were a time of personal hardship for Bogdanovich as well. His girlfriend, Playboy model and actress Dorothy Stratten, who was killed by her ex-husband in 1980. He wrote The Killing of the Unicorn (1984) about her. Bogdanovich shocked many when he married Stratten's sister, Louise Hoogstraten in 1988. The couple divorced in 2001.

'The Sopranos'

In 1990, Bogdanovich returned to familiar territory with Texasville, the sequel to The Last Picture Show. Also during the 1990s, Bogdanovich began to take more acting roles, appearing in such films as Mr. Jealousy (1997) and on television in the miniseries Picture Windows (1994). He started the new millennium on a high note, taking a recurring role on the smash hit series The Sopranos. He played Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, the therapist to Dr. Jennifer Melfi (played by Lorraine Bracco). His character is the only one Dr. Melfi can to talk about her work counseling Tony Soprano, the crime boss in the midst of mental health crisis.

Besides his work on The Sopranos, Bodganovich returned to directing with The Cat's Meow in 2001. Earning good reviews, the film focused on the mysterious death of movie producer and director Thomas Ince. He also continued acting with roles on such shows as Law & Order: Criminal Intent. On screen, Bogdanovich appeared in 2006's Infamous as American publisher Bennett Cerf.

An accomplished author of film criticism and analysis, Bogdanovich has written more than twelve books, including Who the Devil Made It? (1997) and his most recent work Who the Hell's In It? (2004).

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