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Subject: ARCHIVE: August 14, 1980 ~Ill-fated model Dorothy Stratten, who found quick fame as a Playboy model, catapulting to "Playmate of the Year" (1980), before she was killed by her estranged husband in a murder/suicide, her young life snuffed out at 20. ...
The beautiful young model took the professional name Dorothy Stratten, was a Canadian Playboy Playmate, model, and actress. Stratten was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and Playmate of the Year in 1980. Stratten appeared in three comedy films and in at least two episodes of shows broadcast on US network television. She was murdered at the age of 20 by her estranged husband/manager Paul Snider, who committed suicide on the same day. Her death inspired two motion pictures, the 1981 TV movie Death of a Centerfold and the 1983 theatrical release Star 80, as well as the book The Killing of the Unicorn and the songs "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Best Was Yet to Come" by Bryan Adams and "Cover Girl" by the Canadian rock band Prism.
Life and career …
Stratten was born in Grace Maternity Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, on February 28, 1960, to Simon and Nelly Hoogstraten,
who had emigrated from the Netherlands. In 1961, her brother John Arthur was born and, in May 1968, her sister Louise Stratten. …
In 1977, Stratten was attending Centennial High School in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Concurrently, she was working part-time at a local Dairy Queen, where she met 26-year-old Vancouver-area club promoter and pimp Paul Snider, who began dating her. Snider later had a photographer take professional nude photos of her which were sent to Playboy magazine in the summer of 1978. She was under the age of 19 (the legal age of majority in British Columbia), so she had to persuade her mother to sign the model release form.
...In August 1978, they moved to Los Angeles, where she was chosen as a finalist for the 25th Anniversary Great Playmate Hunt. Snider joined her in October, and in June the following year, they married. With her surname shortened to Stratten, she became Playboy's Miss August 1979, and began working as a bunny at the Playboy Club in Century City, Los Angeles.
...Hugh Hefner had high hopes Stratten could have meaningful crossover success as an actress. She featured in episodes of the television series Buck Rogers and Fantasy Island. She also had small roles in 1979 in Americathon and the roller disco comedy Skatetown, U.S.A., and a lead role in the exploitation film Autumn Born.
In 1980, she became Playboy's Playmate of the Year, with photography
by Mario Casilli. Stratten also played the title role in the sci-fi parody Galaxina. …
Hefner reportedly encouraged Stratten to sever ties
with Snider, calling him a "hustler and a pimp". …
Rosanne Katon and other friends warned Stratten about Snider's behavior. Stratten began an affair
with Peter Bogdanovich while he was directing They All Laughed (1981), intended as her first major studio film. … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_rTV8vbnGs
Snider hired a private detective to follow Stratten. They separated and Stratten moved in with Bogdanovich, planning to file for a divorce from Snider. When Stratten arrived at the Playboy Mansion for the 25th Anniversary Playmate Hunt she was very shy and naive. She was very uncomfortable with the casual nudity and sex. Several contemporary playmates including Pamela Bryant, Gail Stanton and Marcy Hanson befriended Stratten and protected her from some of Hefner's friends who they considered to be predators. Trying to compete with Bob Guccione who frequently appeared in layouts with nude Penthouse Pets, a pictorial with a nude Stratten and Hefner was shot. However, it was pulled after her death and just a few days before printing.
August 1980 …
On the night of July 31, 1980, Snider, by now aware that his estranged wife was living with Bogdanovich, hid among the shadows just outside the director's Los Angeles estate carrying a borrowed handgun, intending to shoot anyone who appeared at the entrance to the property. After several hours of inactivity Snider grew impatient and left, drove up into the hills overlooking the city and, according to reports, had thoughts of suicide.
At approximately twelve noon on Friday, August 8, Stratten and Snider saw each other for the first time in nearly three months at Snider's (and Stratten's former) house in West Los Angeles. After having already persuaded Stratten to pose for Playboy and then marry him, Snider was supremely confident before the meeting that he would convince his wife to take him back. But his hopes of a reconciliation were quickly shattered when Stratten admitted that she had fallen in love with Bogdanovich and wanted to finalize their separation. A dejected Snider agreed to meet Stratten one more time the following week to discuss a monetary settlement. Later that afternoon, six days before Stratten's murder, Snider had to return the borrowed gun to it's owner. Over the next five days he would become obsessed with getting another.
On August 9, the day after his meeting with Stratten, Snider and the private detective he'd hired went to a local gun store. After being told that the store couldn't sell him a firearm because of his Canadian citizenship, Snider asked the detective to buy the gun Snider wanted for him. The man said no. When Snider saw the private detective again the following day, he tried to convince the man to buy him a machine gun, for "home protection" as Snider explained, but the detective talked him out of the idea. The next day, August 11, Snider drove out into the San Fernando Valley to look at a gun he'd found for sale in a newspaper. He got lost, however, and eventually went home before finding the owner's address.
August 13, 1980, marked the second anniversary of the day that Stratten
had arrived in Los Angeles to begin her acting and modeling career. …
Her murder …
On August 13, 1980, the day before Stratten was murdered, Snider bought a used, 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun from a private seller he found in a local classified ad. Later that evening in a conversation with friends, Snider described how he had purchased a gun that day and finished his story by cryptically declaring that he was "going to take up hunting."
During the same conversation, barely more than 12 hours before the murder, an otherwise jovial Snider casually brought up the subject of Playmates who had unexpectedly died. In particular, he spoke of Claudia Jennings, an actress and former Playmate of the Year who had been killed in a car accident the year before. Snider made several morbid remarks to his companions related to the problems at Playboy magazine caused by Jennings' death, including a comment about how the editors will pull nude photos of a dead Playmate from the next issue if there's time.
Stratten arrived for her meeting with Snider at his rented West Los Angeles house at approximately twelve noon on Thursday, August 14. She had spent the morning conferring with her business manager, and one of the topics the pair discussed was the amount of the property settlement the Playmate would offer her estranged husband that afternoon. The police later found $1,100 in cash among Stratten's belongings in the house, which she had apparently brought for Snider as a down payment.
Towards the end of her morning meeting, Stratten's business manager made a fateful observation: that his young client could avoid spending any more time with her husband by handing off the remaining separation and divorce negotiations to her lawyer. Stratten replied that the process would go easier if she dealt with Snider personally, explaining that he was being nice about everything and finally adding, "I'd like to remain his friend."
Snider's two roommates had left in the morning, so the couple was alone when Stratten stepped into the house that she had shared with her husband until just a few months earlier. By all appearances Stratten had spent some time in the living room, where her purse was found lying open, before she and Snider went into his bedroom.
By eight o'clock that evening both of the roommates had returned to the house. They saw Stratten's car parked out front and noted that Snider's bedroom door was closed. Assuming that the couple had reconciled and wanted their privacy, the roommates spent the next several hours watching television in the living room.
Alerted by Snider's private detective, the roommates entered the bedroom shortly after 11 pm that night and discovered the bodies of Stratten and Snider. Each had been killed by a single blast from Snider's shotgun. Both bodies were nude. According to the police timeline, Snider had shot Stratten that afternoon within an hour of her arrival at the house. Snider then committed suicide approximately one hour after the murder.
Sometime after midnight in the early morning of August 15, the private detective telephoned the Playboy Mansion and told Hefner that Stratten had been murdered. Hefner then called Bogdanovich. After collapsing at the news, Bogdanovich was sedated. Stratten's mother was told of her daughter's death at her Vancouver-area home later that morning by a member of the RCMP.
Stratten's body was cremated and the remains interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles. The remains of Hefner (d. 2017) and Marilyn Monroe (d. 1962), his magazine's first centerfold, are interred there as well, just yards away. The epitaph on Stratten's grave marker includes a passage, chosen by Bogdanovich, from Chapter 34 of the Ernest Hemingway novel A Farewell to Arms. …
Three years after Stratten's murder the author's granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway,
played Stratten in Star 80, the Bob Fosse biopic about the doomed Playmate and her husband. … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEXOAULm-Xk
In a sad, psychological twist, Peter Bogdonovich, 48, in the end
married Stratten's younger sister Louise, 20, in 1988, divorcing in 2001. …