Turn-offs: “Jealous people”
Dorothy Hoogstratten had it all — talent, beauty and a charming, trusting nature. It was that trusting nature which led to her ultimate downfall when her estranged husband murdered her. Born in a Salvation Army hostel in Vancouver, British Columbia, she was working in an ice-cream parlour when she met small-time pimp and hustler Paul Snider. He persuaded her to pose nude and, forging her mother’s signature, sent the pictures to Playboy.
The 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) beauty impressed the magazine and in August 1979 she became their centrefold. On her Playmate data sheet she described one of her turn-offs as “jealous people”. She also landed work as a bunny at the Los Angeles Playboy Club. In 1980 she was named Playboy Playmate of the Year. Playboy officials including Hugh Hefner advised Stratten (she dropped the Hoog) to sever her links with the paranoically jealous Snider but she had married him in June 1979 and believed he was in part responsible for her success. She landed bit part roles in a number of films: Skatetown USA (1979), Americathon (1979) and Autumn Born (1979).
In 1980 she was offered the starring role in a movie called Galaxina — it seemed that Stratten could become the first Playmate to achieve proper success. Finally, she gathered the courage to leave Snider and began an affair with the film director Peter Bogdanovich. Snider hired a private detective to follow his estranged wife.
On 14 August 1980, 29-year-old Snider persuaded Stratten to return to their home in Los Angeles for one last time and, trustingly, she did so. Once inside Snider murdered 20-year-old Dorothy with a shotgun, blasting her face off before sodomizing her corpse. He then turned the shotgun on himself. Amazingly, the other people who lived in the house noticed Snider’s bedroom door shut and, guessing that he wanted privacy, went about their business, unaware that two bloodied corpses lay just behind the door. Their bodies were not found until 11pm when the private detective hired by Snider let himself into the house.
10881 Clarkson Road, Los Angeles, California, USA
Thursday 14 August 1980
Dorothy Stratten’s story was told in two films Death of a Centerfold (1981) and Star 80 (1983) which starred Mariel Hemingway. The murder scene in the film was shot in the actual location that Dorothy Stratten died. Stratten’s gravestone bears words from Mariel Hemingway’s grandfather Ernest’s book A Farewell to Arms. In a bizarre twist, Bogdanovich married Dorothy Stratten’s younger sister, Louise, in 1988. They divorced in 2001.