Peter Bogdanovich, the legendary director of 70s classics The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc? and Paper Moon, has passed away aged 82.
As well as being a director, Bogdanovich was a film critic who helped document and archive the work of many directors from the classic Hollywood era that came before him. He interviewed many of these directors, including Alfred Hitchcock and had a close relationship with Orson Welles, co-authoring a book with him.
Bogdanovich was also an actor (with as many acting credits as directing ones) – he had a recurring role on The Sopranos and appeared in Kill Bill because he was living in Quentin Tarantino’s guest house at the time.
Bogdanovich’s second feature film, The Last Picture Show, starring Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd, is considered his masterpiece. It was nominated for Best Picture and two supporting actors – Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson – both won Oscars for the film. It’s about a group of 1950s High School students who live in a dying town in Texas and is beautifully shot in black-and-white.
Paper Moon, set in the Kansas ‘dustbowl’ during the Great Depression, is another black-and-white film and another Oscar winner for supporting actress – for the 10 year old Tatum O’Neal.
A departure from these two elegiac portraits of America of the past, was the colourful comedy What’s Up Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.
Bogdanovich’s career certainly had peaks and troughs, with him filing for bankruptcy at one stage and his personal life was the source of many tabloid stories through the decades.
Some of his other films include Mask (1985) starring Cher and Eric Stoltz and The Thing Called Love (1993) starring River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis.
Bogdanovich was instrumental in getting Orson Welles’ final film – The Other Side of the Wind – to completion and onto Netflix in 2018.
If you are a fan of the work of Mr Bogdanovich, you may be interested in our guide to the best drama movies.