15, 1951 – August 14, 1980) was the estranged husband of Playboy
model Dorothy Stratten. Snider tragically ended Stratten’s life
in a murder-suicide.
Dorothy in 1977 while she was working part-time at a local Dairy
Queen in Vancouver, British Columbia. He promoted her by sending
photos of her to Playboy. She was accepted to do photo sessions
and became “Miss August 1979”. The two were married in June of
that year. Dorothy was named as Playboy’s Playmate of the Year
relationship they had deteriorated to the point where they were
separated by the summer of 1980. Dorothy developed a
relationship with film director Peter Bogdanovich. Snider
murdered her and committed suicide in the west Los Angeles
apartment the two had previously shared on August 14, 1980.
A film titled
Star 80 was released in 1983 which portrays this tragic
Paul Leslie Snider (April 15, 1951–August
14, 1980) was the estranged husband of Playboy model Dorothy
Stratten, whom he murdered before he himself committed suicide. He
was born in Vancouver, British Columbia to Jewish parents.
life with Stratten
Stratten in 1977 while Stratten was working part-time at a Dairy
Queen in Vancouver. He promoted her by sending photos of her to
Playboy. She was accepted to do photo sessions and became "Miss
August 1979." The two were married in June of that year. Snider
had many money-making schemes, including forming the basic idea
for what would one day become the Chippendales empire. Stratten
was named as Playboy’s Playmate of the Year for 1980.
By summer 1980 the couple had separated, and Stratten was keeping
company with film director Peter Bogdanovich.
On August 14, 1980, Stratten, 20, was killed
with a shotgun blast to the face in the West Los Angeles apartment
the two had shared. Snider's body was found next to hers.
A coroner's report showed that Snider died
after Stratten did, and so members of his family successfully
petitioned a court to grant them all the assets of both Stratten
and Snider, by virtue of the fact that Snider had "inherited"
Stratten's estate upon her death.
A television film and a feature film were made
from this incident. The television film Death of a Centerfold:
The Dorothy Stratten Story had Jamie Lee Curtis portraying
Stratten and Bruce Weitz as Snider. Bob Fosse's 1983 feature film
Star 80 was the other film that dramatized the incident.
Mariel Hemingway played Stratten, and Eric Roberts, in a highly
acclaimed performance, portrayed Snider.
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, 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. 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 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.
In 1979, after having her surname shortened to
Stratten, 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
Hugh 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. By August 1980, Snider's grandiosity gave way to
obsessive jealousy as he lost control of Stratten's "rocket to the
moon". Around this time Stratten began an affair with the director
of her first major film, Peter Bogdanovich.
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, along with their friend, Dr. Stephen Kushner. They
met to discuss a financial settlement regarding the divorce.
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. 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.
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
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.
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 (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. 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.