Jeff Bridges Mourns Death of ‘Wonderful Artist’ Peter Bogdanovich: ‘My Heart Is Broken’

by Allison Hambrick

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges shared a touching tribute to his friend, the late film director Peter Bogdanovich. The director passed away on Jan. 6 at the age of 82. His most notable works include The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon.

“My heart is broken – my dear friend Peter is no longer with us in the physical form,” Bridges wrote on his Instagram. “I loved him and will miss him. What a wonderful artist. He’s left us with the gift of his incredible films and his insights on the filmmakers he so admired. I love you Peter.”

Bridges and Bogdanovich worked together on The Last Picture Show, which catapulted both of them into stardom. Bogdanovich previously made Targets, which proved to be critically successful despite being a box office failure. At that point, Bridges had mostly made television appearances in his father Lloyd’s projects.

Critics consider The Last Picture Show one of the best films ever made. It received eight Academy Award nominations. This included Best Director for Bogdanovich and Best Supporting Actor for Bridges. Ultimately, the film won two Oscars: Ben Johnson for Best Supporting Actor and Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress. Bridges went on to win Academy Awards of their own. Bridges won Best Actor for his performance as Otis “Bad” Blake in Crazy Heart.

Unfortunately, the tides turned against Bogdanovich’s directing career. The Directors Company produced Paper Moon, a joint effort by Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, and William Friedkin. Because he didn’t care to share profits with the other directors, Bogdanovich sought to leave the arrangement. His subsequent films Daisy Miller, At Long Last Love, and Nickelodeon all flopped, both critically and commercially.

Even though his next film, They All Laughed, had positive critical reception, it did not spell out a comeback.

The Rise and Fall (And Rise) of Peter Bogdanovich

While They All Laughed was a success, it was buried in tragedy. Shortly after the film, lead actress and Playboy model Dorothy Stratten was murdered by her husband. Bogdanovich became the subject of criticism after he wrote a memoir that detailed his affair with Stratten. Journalist Teresa Carpenter wrote a scathing article titled “Death of a Playmate,” for which she won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize.

The director’s reputation took a long time to bounce back, especially after a film based on the article came out. Additionally, Bogdanovich became the subject of scrutiny when he married Dorothy Stratten’s younger sister, Louise, who was thirty years his junior. He returned to direct several more films, including Texasville, which reunited him with Bridges. However, he saw much more success in other aspects of his career.

Bogdanovich was a celebrated film historian. Not only did he direct two major documentaries about Buster Keaton and John Ford, but he also published over ten books. Beyond film, he also starred in The Sopranos, where he played the therapist of Tony Soprano’s therapist.

Controversial or not, Bogdanovich left his mark on Hollywood.