The Last Picture Show Director And Sopranos Actor Peter Bogdanovich Is Dead At 82

Peter Bogdanovich at Turner Classic Movies event
(Image credit: Turner Classic Movies)

A little under a week after Betty White passed away just short of reaching her 100th birthday, the world of film and TV has lot another beloved figure. In addition to being the director behind cinematic classics like The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, Peter Bogdanovich also built a solid acting resume over the decades, most notably from his time on The Sopranos. Sadly, word has come in that the filmmaker has passed away at the age of 82.

Peter Bogdanovich’s daughter, Antonia Bogdanovich, informed THR that her father died at his home early Thursday from natural causes. Peter Bogdanovich is also survived by his younger daughter, Sashy Bogdanovich, with her and Antonia coming from his relationship with screenwriter and production designer Polly Platt, whom he married in 1962 and divorced in 1971.

After working as a film programmer at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and then becoming a film critic, Peter Bogdanovich got his start in the world of filmmaking after moving to Los Angeles when he met director Roger Corman and worked on the movies Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women and Targets. However, it was 1971’s The Last Picture Show that led to the Hollywood spotlight being pointed on him. That movie, which scored two Oscar nominations (among other accolades), followed a pair of high school seniors in a small Texas town in the early 1950s. Its cast included Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman and Cybil Shepherd, the latter of whom would go on to star in several more of Bogdanovich’s movies, as well as become romantically involved with him for seven years.

Peter Bogdanovich’s other notable feature filmmaking credits include the previously-mentioned Paper Moon (which netted him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director), What’s Up, Doc?, Saint Jack and Mask. He also helmed TV movies like The Price of Heaven and The Mystery of Natalie Wood. Bogdanovich’s last directorial endeavor was the 2015 comedy She’s Funny That Way, which starred Owen Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Imogen Poots, Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Aniston. Oh, and for those interested, he wasn’t a fan of Knocked Up.

As mentioned earlier, Peter Bogdanovich also did his fair share of acting. The Sopranos fans will recognize him as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, and in addition to playing the character in 15 episodes of the HBO series, Bogdanovich also directed the 2004 episode “Sentimental Education.” His other appearances on camera, be it in a role or as a fictional version of himself, include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, Get Shorty (the Epix TV series) and a cameo in IT Chapter Two. In 2020, Bogdanovich teamed up with Turner Classic Movies for the first season of The Plot Thickens podcast, which delved into his professional and personal lives.

We here at CinemaBlend express our condolences to Peter Bogdanovich’s friends and family for their loss. Still, at least we can take comfort knowing that his film and TV work will remain for future generations to discover and appreciate.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.