Dorothy Stratten’s relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich: Part 7

After meeting Stratten at the Playboy Mansion, Bogdanovich wrote a role for her in his film "They All Laughed." Another actress said Bogdanovich confided that he was “madly in love” with Stratten.
8:34 | 10/19/19

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Transcript for Dorothy Stratten’s relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich: Part 7
We talk of the 1970s as being a time of great personal expression and sexuality. The other thing that characterizes the 1970s is the auteur. The director being the most important figure in moviemaking. Peter bogdonavich was a huge star director at the time that Dorothy met him. Here's Mr. Peter bogdonavich. Peter Bogdanovich got famous in 1971 when he directed "The last picture show." Hi, what're you all doing back here in the dark? He makes "What's up, doc," which is a big hit. Action. I beg your pardon? We have got to stop meeting like this. And then he'd made "Paper moon." I want my $200. That had won Tatum O'Neal an Oscar. It kind of looks like he can do no wrong. So that combination of hubris and the times creates a guy who is somewhat successful, but also too big for his britches. Peter Bogdanovich has made a movie in color. He was a real ladies' man. He left his wife for cybill shepherd during the filming "The last picture show." By the mid-'70s, he's down on his luck. He can't get any projects, he and shepherd are breaking up, and he starts to hang around the playboy mansion and that's when Dorothy stratten meets Peter Bogdanovich. Hef and Peter were extremely close. When you're comparing, you know, filet mignon to a hot dog on a stick, there's a big difference. He ostensibly sees someone he wants to cast for a part in his movie. "Oh, it's just a small role, but you would be perfect." She was so mesmerizing. When he met her, he was compelled to actually take a role and create it for her. When I met Dorothy I thought it would be great to have her in the picture. So the movie evolved and I went to Los Angeles and wrote it. This was a Cinderella story. He was, like, picking her up from just being this nobody, and elevating her to be the queen of Hollywood. Ms. Stratten is with us this morning. Good morning, Dorothy. Good morning. Dorothy thought, let Peter Bogdanovich make her into what Paul couldn't make her into. I'm in the middle of another movie right now that I'm shooting in New York, called "They all laughed." With Peter Bogdanovich is directing, Audrey Hepburn, and Ben Gazzara starring. Do you have some talking parts? Oh, I have a co-starring role. Oh, good, good. He's valuing her in a different way than just, "Let's get more of these nude photographs." She had a kind of glow and the way she talked. The way she moved. Her laugh. I remember driving her to the airport to start filming and she was very excited. Director Peter Bogdanovich is in New York City to shoot his new comedy, "They all laughed." Peter wanted to make a love story in New York about how falling in love could be a mistake. The John Ritter character in the movie is modeled on Bogdanovich and he cast Dorothy stratten as the object of his desire. Being in love with Dorothy is what inspired the picture and I think it has the feeling of being in love, the picture. Are you okay? I'm very well, thank you. How are you? It has a certain sparkle to it that none of my other pictures have had. "They all laughed" was absolutely a movie about Peter. It was very autobiographical. She and Ritter have dialogue where he goes, "Will you marry me?" She goes, "Yes. As soon as my divorce comes through." Will you marry me. Okay, I will. You will? Well, yes. After my divorce. Those were the words that Peter Bogdanovich was happier to write than any he ever wrote before or since. There was fireworks. And I could tell that he was crazy about her. She moves, essentially, out of the hotel she's staying in for production, and moves in with him. They try to keep it secret, but the world finds out they're in love. I was in love with her the way I have never have been before or since. It just seemed like we had wings. Every little thing had power. When I heard that she was, you know, having this affair with him, I wasn't happy, really. He did confide in me that he was madly in love with her. And I just cautioned him. I said, Peter, be really careful because you have no idea who this guy is that she is separated from. I knew she was unhappy in her marriage and I knew her husband was a bit of a pain in the -- that's all I knew. Rosanne Katon, a friend of mine, approached me on the set about Paul being a potentially dangerous person. Colleen said, "Well, what do you think of Paul?" And I just said, "I think he's, like, really bad news." She said that this guy is not going to let Dorothy go. I just knew that he was capable of doing harm, and that Peter should be really careful, because I think he's the kind of guy that could kill him. I think the minute Dorothy got interested in Peter, Paul felt like he got left behind, like he got shafted. For Paul, losing Dorothy to Peter Bogdanovich was, like, the ultimate insult, because Peter in his own way was a much bigger Paul. He had discovered a star, just like when Paul found Dorothy at the dairy queen, she was nothing. When a person knows they're inadequate, and they can feel that inside but they won't say anything and they try and put up a front. He probably did that. He put his best face on, when really inside he was probably crying. He was injured, bruised, and cut with a sharp knife in his soul and heart. Paul veered into that dark place, you just didn't know how it would manifest itself. But you knew it was coming. She's becoming more independent. People are helping her become more independent. He got the dear John letter as proof that he was losing her. She just said that she doesn't think that the marriage is working right. And she doesn't want to hurt him. There was no -- in her. As far as I was concerned, my limited knowledge of her, no -- Paul started telling me, I can't get through. And Peter was telling her to fire all their people that represent her and have his people represent her. He's starting to control her and take over for her. Lawyers, agents. She got Bogdanovich'd. Gone. Paul's last hope for a big score was a project begun a month or so before he and Dorothy were married. He had worked out a deal with Dorothy. They would print a poster that they hoped would sell a million copies and net $300,000. He figures this is his one last kind of attempt to cash in on her. Peter was very against her doing this poster, and he felt that she was being used by Paul. So we hop on a plane, fly to New York. She opened the door and saw them and she said, "Oh, my god. What are you doing here?" I said, we want to show you this poster, you know. We talked about it with Paul, and all that. She took it with her inside the room, comes out moments later. She says no, and that's it. That was the final shutdown. He had no more income. And I think that's when Paul, like, went into high gear. She never felt that there was any danger in anything with Paul snider. But I always say you just don't know how people are going to react to rejection. They were nave that there was a very present danger.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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