Peter Bogdanovich, Legendary Director Of Paper Moon And The Last Picture Show, Has Died At 82

2022 is picking up right where 2021 left off, unfortunately. While much of the world is still recovering from Betty White's passing on New Year's Eve only weeks short of her 100th birthday, today we've received another dose of sad news. Legendary filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich has passed away at the age of 82, according to his daughter Antonia Bogdanovich (via THR). The elder Bogdanovich died peacefully of natural causes early Thursday morning in his Los Angeles home, leaving an unfillable hole in the heart of Hollywood after decades of invaluable contributions to the arts.

Having worn several industry hats over the years that include serving as director, writer, actor, producer, film journalist, critic, and film historian, Bogdanovich is perhaps best known for directing several classics of 1970s cinema and extending his successful career throughout the '80s, '90s, and even assisting in the completion of Orson Welles' final work, "The Other Side of the Wind," which finally released in 2018. In the '70s alone, "The Last Picture Show," "What's Up, Doc?," and "Paper Moon" stand out as some of his absolute finest works, all of which continue to be held up, celebrated, and studied by film lovers to this day.

Along with his narrative feature film work, Bogdanovich was also an accomplished documentarian. He released "Directed by John Ford" in 1971, which featured interviews with famous names such as John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda ... and narrated by Orson Welles, of course. A revised edition of the documentary in 2006 includes additional thoughts from Clint Eastwood, Walter Hill, Harry Carey Jr., Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and more. Elsewhere in the industry, his multifaceted trajectory landed him several acting gigs, most prominently in HBO's classic series "The Sopranos" as psychotherapist Elliot Kupferberg opposite Lorraine Bracco's Jennifer Melfi.

Oscar-nominated and the winner of several prestigious awards that include a BAFTA, a Lifetime Achievement Award, several top prizes at various film festivals (most recently, a Venezia Classici Award at the 2018 Venice Film Festival), a William K. Everson Film History Award, and even a Grammy, Bogdanovich will be laid to rest after receiving many well-deserved honors and bountiful recognition from his peers — and, importantly, all while he was still alive to appreciate such widespread respect and acclaim.

A Generational Talent

Not many directors can lay claim to the singular career that Peter Bogdanovich carved out for himself. Born on July 30, 1939 in Kingston, New York, Bogdanovich first made his start in the industry through film writing, establishing his depths of knowledge about film history and earning credibility (among fellow writers and filmmakers alike) as a critic and film programmer. Eventually, he followed in the paths of his idols like François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Éric Rohmer, all of whom progressed from writing about movies to directing movies of their own. In fact, his experience in journalism directly led to his collaboration and friendship with Orson Welles, which in turn resulted in both legendary figures co-writing the book "This is Orson Welles" together, a collection of conversations between the two filmmakers recorded over several years, starting in 1969 and published in 1992.

In terms of his early feature films, Bogdanovich made a near-instant leap to A-list status with only the second film under his belt, 1971's "The Last Picture Show." Written by Larry McMurtry (who passed away just last year) and made with the contributions of his then-wife Polly Platt, the black-and-white drama ultimately garnered a whopping eight Academy Awards nominations and sent the 32-year-old director well on his way to achieving mainstream Hollywood success. Though the pair soon divorced, Platt continued to collaborate with Bodganovich throughout his 1970s run. Karina Longworth's popular "You Must Remember This" podcast dedicated an entire season to how Platt bears a certain amount of responsibility for Bogdanovich's success in addition to her own prolific career.

Bogdanovich remained active into his later years, directing the Owen Wilson and Imogen Poots-starring "She's Funny That Way" in 2014 and a Buster Keaton documentary titled "The Great Buster" in 2018. He even appeared in a cameo in "It Chapter Two" as, what else, a director named Peter. Peter Bogdanovich is survived by his daughters, Antonia and Sashy, and several grandchildren.