DiscoverYou Must Remember This105: Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Part 13)

105: Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Part 13)

Update: 2017-04-25
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Our Dead Blondes season concludes with the story of Dorothy Stratten. Coaxed into nude modeling by Paul Snider, her sleazy boyfriend-turned-husband, 18 year-old Stratten was seized on by Playboy as the heir apparent to Marilyn Monroe. She ascended to the top of the Playboy firmament quickly, and just after Hugh Hefner decided to make her Playmate of the Year, she met filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who fell in love with her and rewrote his upcoming film, They All Laughed, to give Dorothy a star-making role. After filming They All Laughed Dorothy planned to leave Snider and Playboy for life with Bogdanovich - but her husband had other ideas. 

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last remember this is sponsored by The Great courses plus try degree courses plus for free by going to my special URL The Great courses class dot com slash remember we are also sponsored by Blue apron create delicious home cooked meals with fresh ingredients delivered right to your door get your first free meals free when you go to Blue apron dot com slash remember the the the the the or the the left to another episode of You Must Remember This podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets and avoid the Gazans chains of Hollywood's first century part I'm your host Colleen and business is the final installments of our ongoing series Dead blondes are really going the the er or can he fix the the uh the the the and the no shock to see regret the the the the we began the series talking a little bit about find beauty and what has historically represented including fantasies of eternal youth here is he as a denial of death are qualities which can be easily sexual addicts and awakes when captured by a movie or still camera can be elevated into the reality so easily that you can forget that s all constructs after time the stories of hand movie actresses today we're going to finish this series by telling the story of the life and gruesome death of a woman who did act in movies but was more famous wildlife from being a Playboy playmates more movies in which even the worst circumstances women to talk or saying or move around and thus at least signify real life human beings in the pages of a magazine like Playboy way women are totally flattened into a fantasy of compliance to the gaze of whoever something to the magazine the whole point of pornography especially glossy pornography like circa late seventies Playboy is to allow the consumer to totally shut out the real world hopefully temporarily and focus only on desire as Teresa Carpenter a Pulitzer Prize winning observer of today's subject once put it playmates are surrounded by an aura which quote does not admit the possibility of bladder infections or shaving next let alone death we will and this series by talking about a woman who like many of the women we've already discussed was sexually exploited by men who looked at her beauty and sock combination of dollar signs and an opportunity to exercise control like Marilyn viral load in before her she followed orders to do things that she didn't want to do because she thought it was what she had to do she thought that fame which he wanted was a prize that could only be won by doing things they humiliated and hurt her by the time she felt loved and empowered enough to stand up for herself it was too late to join S want you for one last deadline chapter the story of Dorothy Stratton the maggi explore in this podcast often the most compelling remarkable stories are the ones about real people and events other source for learning about true stories is the fascinating video courses from The Great courses plus you can learn about all kinds of different people time periods and cultures from award experts who are so knowledgeable passionate one of my favorite courses is America in the gilded Age and Progressive Era which basically covers American social and political history from the end of the Civil War through the nineteen twenties this course is really fascinating today's episode of our podcast we're talking about Playboy and its role in promoting the so called sexual revolution and there of lectures in this great courses course that could be interesting as background context to that if you're interested in a character like you have to his invention of his own empire for instance you might wanna watch the lecture on Andrew Carnegie and the self made ideal want to know more about the blues y values that the sexual revolution was supposedly a reaction against then check out the lecture morals and manners middle class society and of course if you're listening to this podcast you're probably interested in the topics covered in a lecture on popular culture including The Great courses class offers unlimited access to stream over a thousand lectures and so many different topics learn about history art literature even and photography and new courses are at all the time and you can watch on your schedule from your smartphone tablet TV or laptop my listeners get a free trial of the great courses plus just sign up through my special URL to start watching The Great courses class da com slash remember get your free trial you love that's sign up today at The Great courses class dot com slash remember that the great courses last dot com slash remember furry hooves chat and was born February twenty six nineteen sixty in British Columbia at her father left shortly after her younger was born and her mother remarried daughter named who is eight years younger than Dorothy the family didn't have much money and often had to rely on welfare while Dorothy was growing up Teresa Carpenter would later write that young Dorothy boats floated along like a particle in a solution this devastatingly sad description recalls Elliott assessment of Barbara and the character she created one death as women who floated like to pre seventeen year old Dorothy was working at her local dairy clean when she met Paul Snyder twenty six year olds dance club impresario slash the Snyder had fled the Vancouver nightlife world where he owed a bunch of money to unsavory characters for Los Angeles where he himself as a pimp Juice table was full of women styled to resemble nineteen fifty starters the L A and he was looking for new in Vancouver when he spotted Dorothy that girl can make me a lot he told a Snyder doesn't seem to have been transparent with Dorothy about his resume instead of rushing to pimp her out he wooed Dorothy like a boyfriend buying her gifts and escorting her to her senior prom after high school graduation Snyder coaxed her into posing nude for two photographers has never had hired one of whom had connections to Playboy Dorothy had it wanted and she didn't want to be in Playboy but Snyder told her it was the only way she'd ever break into the movie says she didn't know that this was patently false even the most famous Playboy playmates were considered goods by most of Hollywood Playboy was searching for a special new playmate to celebrate the publications twenty fifth anniversary and Snyder submitted these photos of Dorothy as part of that contest by August nineteen seventy eight Dorothy had to Los test shoots because an eighteen year old was not then considered of age in Canada Dorothy's mother Nellie had to sign a release giving for her daughter to model nude shoot was a success and Dorothy was welcomed into the plane it fold she was given a job waitressing at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles whew Hafner himself helped her secure a work visa nineteen seventy she was named playmate of the month by then the Playboy organization had shortened story his last name from who strapped to the more flowing and Singh stressed the As maybe from this very show in the nineteen sixties and seventies the studio system which allowed of filmmakers help change studios made money and a business decision this effectively killed the old star system the salmon era the city a system would get rebuilt again and knew more corporate than ever farm thanks to blockbusters like jaws and Star Wars but that wasn't so far along yet but it was incontrovertible in other words in the late nineteen seventies there was still the open possibility that in the near future stars will be made by some institution or body other in their Playboy in Keating stars in a way similar to the ways in which studios use to but when Dorothy came around that she was different she was the first playmate Mansfield who seems destined for a promising film and Mike Mansfield or before her Dorothy was home ground by Playboy with Dorothy Hefner and Playboy son opportunity to feed a star to Hollywood rather than throughout nineteen seventy Dorothy started to get acting most of it the parts that required nothing more than looking like a Playboy playmates she went back to Canada briefly to start exploitation movie called Autumn born and then she landed the title role in Galaxy in a tongue in chic Tsai fi spoof in the opening of this direct satire of Star Wars described as with feeling basically she's a sexy robot whose artificial intelligence evolves to the point where she can respond with subservient enthusiasm to a human man's attempts to have sex with her the As Dorothy moved from opportunity to opportunity Paul Snyder found himself less and less involved in his hand picked gravy trains career he started pressuring Dorothy to marry him in order to solidify their bond and of course his ability to spend her money various friends told already not to marry Paul because they didn't think getting age nineteen would be good for her career whew half hour later said that he gave her a talking to advising basically the same thing he also had someone do a background check on Paul which didn't come up with anything that he could use against him the Dorothy seems to have been unsure she even really love Paul Snyder at the summer of nineteen seventy nine she had given an apparently because she felt like she owed him something the wedding took place on June first nineteen seventy nine Las Vegas within a few weeks the issue of Playboy featuring Dorothy as the August playmate of the month would hit the newsstands as one of Playboy is top stars Dorothy was expected to hang out at the Playboy Mansion her husband told Dorothy that she had his blessing to have sex with you Hafner she had to do to help her career Hafner would later deny that the casting couch place at Playboy Peter but Donna vets would say that Dorothy told him that Hafner had pressured her into sleeping with him more than once but she was able to revive him the gun of its describe a different scenario in prints based on a story told to him by a platonic male confidant of Dorothy's after her death according to this accounts and Dorothy's first night at the Playboy Mansion after she'd returned to her private room for the Knights the phone rang and assisted on the line asked if she would join Mr. Hafner in the jacuzzi Dorothy was afraid to say no but Donovan to describe what happened in the jacuzzi as rate Hafner would vehemently deny that he raped Dorothy Stratton when the incident happened and even years later when Madonna which Hefner began publicly arguing about it the conversation about rape was not involved it was generally believed that rate had to be physically violent now we understand that it's violence can be emotional and psychological what seems clear is that Dorothy Stratton didn't want to have sex with you Hafner and what she won it didn't matter the after that and the dance pushy manipulative Paul Snyder looked to Dorothy like a safe harbor but shortly after they married Dorothy began to regret the marriage and by the fall of nineteen nine she and the excuse of the work that she was expected to do there as a way of escaping a marital home she didn't want to be the night after Thanksgiving in nineteen seventy nine Dorothy was heavily featured in TV special which aired on ABC called Playboy disco and pajama party Dorothy's part in the special included dancing and in a skimpy bikini And culminating with a kiss with Family Richard Dawson it probably goes without saying that Doss and like Hafner and another at the Playboy Mansion was significantly older than old Dorothy Doss and in fact was about to end a half times in this holiday weekend special airing of what were then only three major networks we see the mainstream described a couple episodes back as the subtext of Grace Kelly's the Tian NU while blind as youth serum and Savior for men of a previous generation Hafner was incredibly impressed by Dorothy's work in the special and soon thereafter he decided to make her the playmate of the year of nineteen eighty for her playmate of the month shoot Dorothy had been styled as sporty romantic and relatively natural in two of the images she was fully clothed in one and in another she jobs in a sweat shirt and short shorts there was one for the new and it was more demure wearing a white lace thong teddy that covered quite a bit bent over to show the camera her bikini bottom Tam mind The Playboy of the year pictorial would be different much more glamorous much more staged in several shots Dorothy dressed in black lace the hoses on a red velvet couch calling to mind the red backdrop to a new calendar of Marilyn which ended up making both the magazine and that actresses career in other shots a full Dorothy appears stretched out on top of a red in a pose similar in the calendar to invite comparison between the two women's bodies the spread would be again with a close up of Dorothy's face her blonde curls and heavy dark eyeliner calling with the same photographer Mario Dorothy was putting together a portfolio and she poses both as well as Bridget are Joe and Betty grateful for a Playboy spread that they were planning Dorothy Stratton century a famous blondes the Playboy publish these photos while Dorothy was still alive even have a man of the year spread was not to be seen by the public until April nineteen eighty at which point the personal lives would have been completely and it might be there but Donna fed cz nineteen seventy eight here by Don of it was thirty nine years old he was incredibly famous and a lot of people hated him the second film he directed The Last Picture Show had been an enormous hit in nineteen seventy one one of the defining on the SATs where his wife Polly Platt was working as Production Designer but Donovan with his twenty one year old actress Sybil Shepherd the over the next few years but Donovan's would leave daughters and he is the shepherd would become the Brad have had ton of it would direct two hit movies What's Up Doc and Paper then he casts Evelyn an adaptation of Daisy Miller which flops then he cast civil and Burt Reynolds in At Long Last Love a musical full of Cole Porter songs in the Art deco nineteen thirties of Astaire at Long Last Love was perceived as one of the most mis forgotten films the nineteen seventies it is one of films but it was so badly received and did so much destroyed on a vision reputations that they were unable to continue working together a major against the two of them have begun and it wasn't helped by the fact that Peter was perceived as the most arrogant the If you watch interviews with him from the first half of the nineteen it's not hard to see why people felt this way he'd made at least three masterpieces by the age of thirty five he and several were probably the most photogenic couple in Hollywood he was great he look great doing it he knew it and he loved eggs of course the he was also sort of awesome in nineteen seventy two Playboy published two frames of The Last Picture Show shelling simple shepherd nude they did this without seeking from civil or Peter who wouldn't have granted a shepherd sued Playboy and in the settlements she asked for the rights to a book Playboy owned called Saint Jack the agreement was made for Playboy to co produce a film based on the novel with a dot of its direct aim at a time that film was made several and heater had broken on the According to hand they drifted apart because they were forced to make movies with other people in her very she admits that they were both tasteful and explains that she was thirty and wanted to have children but Peter cats and couldn't commit to having after eight years with Shepherd but Donovan's into what he would describe as quote more of devastating promiscuity which left me exhausted hoping that would never lose its strength or magic during that period he started periodic Lee hanging out at the Playboy Mansion the dynamite first met Dorothy at a Playboy party in October nineteen seventy eight he was by this point pretty disillusioned with the Playboy scene so they didn't meet again for a year when that Donovan visited the mansion again during the shoot of the TV special Dorothy remembered him and she approached him at first he didn't recognize her as the same woman during under Playboy supervision her naturally blonde had been bleached Jean Harlow whites they had a conversation i dun bitch told her he was going to make a movie in the next few months and asked in reading for a small part over the next few months as a friendship develops between Dorothy and Peter and he struggled not to make a move on the married Playboy playmate who leaves falling in love with the dive it would re conceive that movie to putt Dorothy at its center they all laughed was initially by vendors are a ton of it as romantic while making seed Jack Dunham it ended up reading a script for an ensemble of players including two of his own recent ex girlfriends super model Patti Hansen and center Colleen Camp and Audrey Hepburn who desire had fallen in love with while making the disastrous film bloodline with her year before even though Donovan daughters Antonia she would be given of bizarre as to force to text and I don't even have started writing the screenplay pining over simple shepherd who had left and gone home to Memphis and there's swiftly married another guy generators conceived as being in the same boats and damaged have him moaning on screen over a photograph of simple when the divestment Dorothy he began to rewrite the film inspired by her in a film about three male detectives who become involved in a number of interlocking love triangles involving when to survey all the primary would now be between the P I played by John Ritter who were copy of a dime of his signature oversize glasses for the role and Dorothy who would play a ray of sunshine is unhappily to a not so great guy in January nineteen eighty after she had confessed to hand in her marriage and her mounting distaste for Paul Peter and Dorothy's relationship became romantic they first kissed the Los Angeles speech someone taking pictures of them that day but he was sure he was probably mistaken it was probably just some terraced photographing the ocean in March Dorothy traveled from Al aid to York to make the movie she did manage to convince Paul not to come with by telling him that it was a closed sacks and spouses were for bed n she brought six suitcases with her containing most of her clothes and boxed the door he was keeping the true nature of her relationship with Peter secret from everyone including her husband and it was an open secret on the set she moved suite at the Plaza I would messages from her increasingly alienated husband what neither nor Stratton why this affair about private detectives having affairs with the PA Snyder was using Dorothy's money to pay private detectives to watch his wife aside from the surveillance she had other reasons to be afraid of Paul and to worry about giving him evidence that Wade and his mind justify his own bad actions he was doing a lot of cocaine and it made him paranoid and aggressive the he was so possessive and he couldn't handle any kind of rival at one point the Playboy had given Dorothy a puppy and called poison debts mother Nellie hated and had that she believed he would try to hurt her if she left him Nelly predicted that Paul would try to disfigured making face thus this point it seemed like the only reason to stay with him was to avoid what might happen and that kind of thinking was how she got into to begin with when Peter married Paul she said I didn't she was also feeling trapped by the Playboy organization and the control they were able to contractually wield over her playmate of the year pictorial laughed in New York she was horrified by Dorothy told Peter that the only way she'd gotten through the shoot was by focusing on the hate she felt for the whole enterprise I hated so much and my hatred was so strong it made a kind of invisible shield between she said that he protected the that it couldn't protect her fully later that summer Playboy came out including an image that was taken when she was shooting in which she was captured changing positions and unwittingly revealing than she would've wanted the dot of H's eyes this is a day and the images produced was typical of the whole Playboy enterprises trekking on to and then selling that fantasy of dominance wrapped in the veneer of groovy Arts The The and they Dorothy in a dream version of the real world are cool and in control and the man must be flustered and falling and one point John into Dorothy's is their but Donovan's header out scenes from his own courtship of Dorothy including film ends with Dorothy's character Dolores agreeing to divorce her husband and marry character this was wishful mess but it Peter and Dorothy were for the future in order to put these plans in motion she would have to divorce she slowly began in May still in New she wrote Holly informing him that she needed space he didn't want to accept it and insisted at the following week in Vancouver where her mother was in Vancouver Paul had said at public appearances for Dorothy Who as playmate of the year could command top dollar for showing up at nightclubs she went through with commitments Paul had and he kept all the dollars month later she sent him a legal of separation
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105: Dorothy Stratten (Dead Blondes Part 13)

Karina Longworth / Panoply