Dorothy Stratten: Wikis


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Dorothy Stratten
Dorothy Stratten 1979.jpg
Playboy centerfold appearance
August 1979
Preceded by Dorothy Mays
Succeeded by Vicki McCarty
Playmate of the Year
Preceded by Monique St. Pierre
Succeeded by Terri Welles
Personal details
Born February 28, 1960(1960-02-28)
British Columbia, Canada
Died August 14, 1980 (aged 20)
Measurements Bust: 36"
Waist: 24"
Hips: 36"
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 123 lb (56 kg; 8.8 st)

Dorothy Stratten (February 28, 1960 – August 14, 1980) was a Canadian model and actress. Stratten found fame as the Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and subsequently Playmate of the Year for 1980. She was the second Playmate (after Lee Ann Michelle) to be born in the 1960s. However, Stratten is remembered for the circumstances of her murder at age 20 by her estranged husband,[1] an act that was the basis of two motion pictures.



Stratten was born Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten in a Salvation Army hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Simon and Nelly Hoogstraten, Dutch immigrants.[2] In 1961, her brother John Arthur was born, and her sister Louise Stratten followed in May 1968.

She attended Centennial High School in Coquitlam. In 1977, while working part-time in a local Dairy Queen, she met a Vancouver-area promoter and pimp[2] named Paul Snider (then 26), who had nude photos taken of her and eventually sent them to Playboy. Because she was underage, she had to obtain her mother's signature to have the photos taken.[2]

In 1979, after having her surname shortened to Stratten,[2] she became Playboy's Miss August, and found work as a Bunny at the Los Angeles Playboy Club. She also played the role of Miss Cosmos in the Buck Rogers television series.

In June 1979, she married Snider in Las Vegas, Nevada. The couple's relationship quickly deteriorated, as Snider became prone to fits of jealousy and controlling behavior.

In 1980, she became Playboy's Playmate of the Year. Her original pictorial was photographed by Mario Casilli.

Hugh Hefner reportedly encouraged Stratten to sever ties with Snider, calling him a "hustler and a pimp".[2] Rosanne Katon and other friends warned Stratten about Snider's behavior. By August 1980, Snider's grandiosity gave way to obsessive jealousy as he lost control of Stratten's "rocket to the moon".[2] Around this time Stratten began an affair with the director of her first major film, Peter Bogdanovich.[2] Snider hired a private detective to follow Stratten and report back to him everything she did. Snider and Stratten separated, and Stratten moved in with Bogdanovich. Stratten had also made plans to file for divorce from Snider.


On August 14, 1980 around noon, Snider and Stratten met at Snider's house, in which the couple had once lived in Los Angeles,[1] along with their friend, Dr. Stephen Kushner. They met to discuss a financial settlement regarding the divorce.[2]

Shortly after 11:00 p.m., Kushner entered Snider's room after receiving no response from knocking. There he discovered Stratten dead from a gunshot wound to the head and Snider from a self-inflicted gunshot.[2] Necrophilia involving an 'exercise bench' and medical tape was ascertained to have taken place, which helped to establish her murder as a cause célèbre in the moral debate over pornography which continues to this day.[3]

Dorothy Stratten is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California. Stratten and Carol Willis are the only two Playmates to die within a year and a half of their Playboy appearances. At 20 years of age, they were also the youngest.

Film reception

Peter Bogdanovich's movie They All Laughed (in which Stratten was cast) received poor press due to the circumstances of her death and no studio was willing to release the film. Bogdanovich personally financed the release, but the movie was a box office failure.

In popular culture

Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed Stratten and Bruce Weitz played Paul Snider in the 1981 television film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story.

Stratten's story was portrayed in Bob Fosse's 1983 film Star 80 starring Mariel Hemingway[1] (Stratten) and Eric Roberts (Snider). The movie was filmed in the very same house and room where the actual murder/suicide occurred.

Peter Bogdanovich wrote a book about her titled The Killing of the Unicorn that was released in the summer of 1984. Four years later, at the age of 49, he married Stratten's sister, Louise, who, at age 20, was 29 years younger than Bogdanovich, who had earlier, following her sister's death, paid for Louise's private school and modeling classes[4]. They divorced in 2001 after 13 years of marriage.

Bryan Adams co-wrote two songs about Stratten. The first, titled "Cover Girl", became a hit for the band Prism in 1980. The second was titled "The Best Was Yet to Come" and was written with Jim Vallance; it appeared on Adams' 1983 album Cuts Like a Knife and was later covered by Laura Branigan.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Vincent Canby (1983-11-10). "SCREEN: 'STAR 80,' A SEX-SYMBOL'S LIFE AND DEATH". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Theresa Carpenter (1980-11-05). "Death of a Playmate". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  3. ^ Biskind, Peter (1998). Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. pp. 388, 389. ISBN 0-684-80996-6.  
  4. ^ The Centerfold Murder

External links

Further reading

Stratten's relationships with Paul Snider and Peter Bogdonovich are covered extensively in the book Picture Shows: the Life and Films of Peter Bogdanovich by Andrew Yule.

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