Peter Bogdanovich, Last Picture Show director, dies at 82

Oscar-nominated film-maker’s many credits include What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon

Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated writer and director, has died at the age of 82.

The film-maker, whose many credits included The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon, died of natural causes, according to his daughter Antonia Bogdanovich.

Bogdanovich started his career as both a film programmer and a critic, writing articles for Esquire. After moving to Los Angeles and striking up a friendship with director Roger Corman, he secured his first directing gigs, making sci-fi picture Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, which he chose to have his name removed from, and Targets in 1968, a breakout crime thriller. In this time he also became close friends with Orson Welles.

His next film was 1971's The Last Picture Show, starring Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Cloris Leachman, a rapturously received drama that earned eight Oscar nominations and won two Oscars. It was also a surprise commercial hit, making $29 million from a $1.3 million budget.


“I was moved by the reviews,” he said to the New York Times in 1971. “The picture seems to have brought a melancholy poetry out of the critics by which I feel quite flattered. All the reviews were strangely personal. I suspect most of the critics are of an age to have grown up at the time of the movie.”

His next film was screwball comedy What's Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, a hit that became the highest-grossing film of 1972. It was later included on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest comedies of all time.

The ’70s also saw him reunite with O’Neal for Paper Moon, a comedy that saw the actor’s daughter Tatum O’Neal win an Oscar for best supporting actress. He turned down The Godfather, The Exorcist and Chinatown. “I was hot,” he admitted to Vulture in 2019.

Later work

His later films included Mask, starring Cher, and The Cat's Meow, starring Kirsten Dunst. He also had a recurring acting role in The Sopranos and had a small role in both Kill Bill films after living in Quentin Tarantino's guesthouse for a year.

In 2010, he joined the University of North Carolina school of the arts as part of the directing faculty and in 2014 made his last narrative film, the comedy She's Funny That Way starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. In 2018, he released his final film, Buster Keaton documentary The Great Buster: A Celebration.

Tributes have been paid to the director from the industry. Guillermo del Toro tweeted: “He was a dear friend and a champion of Cinema. He birthed masterpieces as a director and was a most genial human. He single-handedly interviewed and enshrined the lives and work of more classic filmmakers than almost anyone else in his generation.”

Bogdanovich is survived by his two children Antonia and Sashy. – Guardian