Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten made the headlines of lurid in 1980, when her exiled husband Paul Snider sent her before she murdered the model with a 12-width shotgun explosion.
She was 20 years old. Snider, 29, then departed the barrel on himself.
Almost 30 years later, the brilliant blonde is back in the headlines because of “The Death of a Playmate”, a new documentary “20/20” which launches Friday at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Those who both knew them, were interviewed in the real two-hour crime document, which traces Stratten's excited life – from overtaking ice cream in Vancouver, British Columbia, and becoming a Playboy Bunny in Los Angeles, briefly as a big screen star before Audrey Hepburn.
Stephen Cushner and Patti Laurman – former cohabitants of the couple in LA – knew that Stratten was going to the house she was sharing with a snider to negotiate a divorce arrangement.
They were worried about their safety due to the snorned snider's more exciting behavior, they went to check her. They did not benefit from opening the door.
“It was like a horror film – a scary horror film – like mannequins and fake blood,” Laurman recalled in the special ABC. “That's a picture that never goes out, a mental picture that's stuck here forever.”
It was a tragedy that some of them saw coming, according to the special “20/20”. According to many accounts, this center was an angel.
“She didn't think everyone was going, and all the liars (Los Angeles) came,” says actor Max Baer Jr, one of the Snider pals, called Jethro Bodine on “The Beverly Hillbillies”. . ”
“I said,‘ Do you care for her? 'And he said,' Yeah 'I said,' Well, if you really care. . . climb back to Vancouver. She is not here. 'I said,' She's nice. She has a wonderful figure, she got a beautiful face and this town will destroy it. '”
How did pimp be babe in the woods?
Stratten was a shy girl working in a Dairy Queen in Canada in 1978 when a snider sleazy saw her ticket very much.
Teresa Carpenter, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her story covered Voice Voice about the tragic life and death of Stratten, how Snider was promoting auto shows at the time.
“It wasn't enough to serve her unusual taste, so she started supplying girls and pimping them on the side,” says Carpenter in the special. “He did not keep a low profile in that he drove a black corvette, he wore a mink coat (and a) Star of David, which he had hung on his chest. He was called the Jewish pimp and he did so. ”
When Playboy launched the Great Playmate Hunt contest to find out what was involved in its 25 year issue the following year, Snider decided on Stratten, 18 years old, to look for unusual photos.
“It took me a little while to talk to me in an agreement to take some test pictures,” says Stratten in a clip from a local Canadian TV show. “I never took my clothes to anyone I didn't know. . . It took me two weeks to agree. ”
Stratten test scouts quickly came about Hugh Hefner scouts.
“I wanted it on the next plane – it was a full babe in the woods,” says Meilyn Grabowski, photo editor, who worked with the Playboy for over 40 years. “I can't remember another Playmate like that – I don't want to say that she is naive, (but) without experience, not to use her environment and not be able to think she was very beautiful.”
Stratten succeeded in celebrating the 25th anniversary of Playmate – but he went to work as a “bunny” at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles, where she was not old enough to serve alcohol.
When Stratten was selected to be a Playmate of the Month, Snider strengthened his grip on his asset. Against Hef's wishes, she married Snider in June 1979.
From Svengali to star shooting
“She was on the phone every day when we shot her,” said Grabowski. “She would call and tell him how big it was going… She thought that the success of her success was – and that he was embarrassed at that point – with Paul. She leaned on him. ”
Stratten began to reserve active roles, from the low budget horror of “Autumn Born,” to a show on “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” and “Fantasy Island.” Meanwhile, Snider was dripping her earnings. a rich series of “strip-show” schemes.
In 1980, she was named Playmate of the Year and she produced the play sic-fi “Playxina” which was produced by Playboy. It was that year that met Oscar-nominated film maker Peter Bogdanovich (“The Moon Picture Show”), who was just divorced and hanged at the Mansion.
He fell in love with Stratten – and wrote a role specifically for her in “They All Laughed,” in front of the dramas A Audrey Hepburn and John Ritter.
Stratten was interfering with her Svengali – and looking through her handling, the details were ABC special.
When she and Bogdanovich returned to filming in New York City, they moved in together after saying to Snider that she wanted to make a separation.
In the new doc, former Los Angeles homicide detective, Richard DeAnda says Snider searched classified ads for a shotgun and bought it 13 August 1980.
Former residents of the estranged couple Cushner and Laurman discovered their bodies on 14 August.
“Ultimately, Snider must do what he did, and essentially – to Hefner, to Bogdanovich, (to) everyone else, to society at large – without putting up two but two middle fingers. and say: by Paul Snider, “” says Cushner in the doc.
“I think if you look at the control factor… putting sex on her behalf, I think it's all part of her recapture of her power job,” says DeAnda. “I think it was more to understand that he had no future without her and that he did not want anyone else to have a future.”
Stratten was buried at Pierce Brothers Village Memorial Park, Westwood – the final resting place of the Playboy Marilyn Monroe cover model.
'They All Laughed' was released on 14 August 1981. It received mixed reviews at the time but since then it has had some critical reputation.
Stratten's life also inspired the “Star 80,” by Bob Fosse featuring Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts, and the film “Death of a Centerfold,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
“To be honest, I think I lost my mind a bit,” wrote Bogdanovich in his book about Stratten, “The Killing of the Unicorn.”
“(I miss) his wisdom, his laughs, his warmth, his beauty, his humor, his charm, his elegance (and) his empathy,” he said in a statement later with Fox News. “Everything about me, she was.”
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