Paul Snider is a narcissistic, small time hustler who fancies himself a ladies man. His life changes when he meets Dorothy Stratten working behind the counter of a Dairy Queen. Dorothy is a pretty but naive high school senior. Paul immediately falls for Dorothy, who sees in Paul a wise, worldly person unlike herself. Paul believes Dorothy is Playboy material, the magazine he sees as only a springboard to bigger and better things.
Paul’s dream does become a reality: not only does Dorothy eventually marry him, she becomes the August 1979 Playboy Playmate and ultimately Playboy Playmate of 1979, which does indeed lead to the start of an acting career. As Dorothy’s star rises, Paul’s life is one of a hanger-on as those in Dorothy’s new circle, including Playboy publisher Hugh M. Hefner and movie director Aram Nicholas, don’t much like Paul. Paul is unable to eke out a life of his own without using Dorothy’s name, which she increasingly is reluctant to provide to her husband.
Star 80 is a 1983 American film about Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her husband Paul Snider in 1980. The film was directed by Bob Fosse, and stars Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts. Hugh Hefner sued the producers of the picture, stemming from his disapproval of how he was depicted in the film. In accordance with the family’s wishes, Dorothy’s mother is never mentioned by name in the movie, and the names of her sister and brother were altered. Other names were also changed due to legal concerns.
The film was shot on location in Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, California; the death scene was filmed in the same house in which the murder-suicide actually took place. The story is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice article “Death of a Playmate” by Teresa Carpenter; the film’s title was taken from Snider’s vanity license plates.
Star 80 was the second movie based on the murder of Stratten. It was preceded by the 1981 television film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story in which Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed Stratten, and Bruce Weitz portrayed Paul Snider. Roberts was widely praised for his performance, earning the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor and a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Star 80 was the last film to be directed by Bob Fosse.
Star 80 (1983)
Directed by: Bob Fosse
Starring: Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson, Carroll Baker, Roger Rees, Sheila Anderson, Lisa Gordon, Tina Willson
Screenplay by: Teresa Carpenter, Bob Fosse
Cinematography by: Sven Nykvist
Film Editing by: Alan Heim
Costume Design by: Albert Wolsky
Set Decoration by: Anne D. McCulley, Kimberley Richardson
Art Direction by: Michael S. Bolton, Jack G. Taylor Jr.
Music by: Ralph Burns
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: November 10, 1983