R.I.P. Peter Bogdanovich, Acclaimed Film Director of The Last Picture Show Dead at 82

The filmmaker died of natural causes in his Los Angeles home

peter bogdanovich dead obituary cause last picture show director

Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated director of films like The Last Picture Show; What’s Up, Doc?; and Noises Off, has died at the age of 82.

The sad news was confirmed by the Hollywood giant’s daughter, who told The Hollywood Reporter that her father passed away from natural causes in the early morning of January 6th.

Bogdanovich was born on July 30th, 1939. After graduating from New York City’s Collegiate School in 1957, he began studying acting at the famed Stella Adler Conservatory and got his career start as a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art, exposing patrons to his love of the works of Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, John Ford, as well as writing as a film critic for Esquire.

He married his first wife Polly Platt in 1962 and soon moved to Los Angeles to work in the film business. In a chance meeting at a movie screening, Bogdanovich met director Roger Corman, who was familiar with his work in Esquire. By the end of the chat, Corman had offered the young up-and-comer a directing job, and Bogdanovich made his directorial debut under the pseudonym Derek Thomas by assisting Corman on 1968 Boris Karloff vehicle Targets.

Three years later, Bogdanovich helmed The Last Picture Show, and was hailed as a wunderkind and rising star behind the camera, being just 32 years old at the time. The 1971 coming-of-age drama earned a total of eight nominations at the Academy Awards, including a Best Director nod for Bogdanovich himself, while taking home two acting trophies. The film also introduced the young director to Cybill Shepherd. On set, he fell in love with the 21-year-old model, ultimately divorcing his first wife to be with her.

Bogdanovich’s other major works of the 1970s included his 1972 follow-up What’s Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, as well as Paper Moon and Daisy Miller in ’73 and ’74, respectively. During the decade, he also launched The Directors Company — a film production company — with partners Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin. However, following a number of bombs at the box office, he split with Shepard by the decade’s end.


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