‘Paper Moon,’ ‘Last Picture Show’ director, 82

January 6, 2022
Peter Bogdanovich, photographed in 2006, has died at 82.


Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter of “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” has died. He was 82. 

He died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes, Creative Artists Agency confirmed to USA TODAY. 

With a career in Hollywood spanning more than 50 years, Bogdanovich is best known for directing a beloved run of comedies and dramas in the late ’60s and ’70s, including 1972 screwball hit “What’s Up, Doc?” starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal and Madeline Kahn.

He reunited with O’Neal the following year on Depression-era road movie “Paper Moon,” featuring the actor’s daughter, Tatum O’Neal, who at age 10 won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance. To date, she’s still the youngest person in history to win a competitive Academy Award. 

Bogdanovich was nominated for best director and adapted screenplay Oscars for 1971’s “The Last Picture Show,” a coming-of-age drama set in 1950s Texas. The black-and-white film starred Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn and picked up eight Oscar nods including best picture, winning two for best supporting actor (Ben Johnson) and supporting actress (Cloris Leachman).In 1998, the movie was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for its historic and cultural significance. 

In addition to directing, Bogdanovich had a prolific career as an author, film journalist and actor. Fans of HBO’s “The Sopranos” will remember his recurring role in the early 2000s as the concerned Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, therapist to Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). More recently, he made a meta cameo in the 2019 horror film “It: Chapter Two,” playing a film director. 

Bogdanovich “can sit down for three hours and talk about Orson Welles and (Alfred) Hitchcock,” Andy Muschietti, the sequel’s director, told USA TODAY at the time. 

“He was a dear friend and a champion of cinema,” “Nightmare Alley” director Guillermo del Toro wrote in tribute on Twitter. “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.”

This story is developing. 

Contributing: Brian Truitt 


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