Yesterday morning Peter Bogdanovich died of natural causes. This was confirmed by his daughter Antonia Bogdanovich, and immediately a good part of his friends and former collaborators began to mourn the loss of this artist, who left us at 82 years of age. Beyond his work as a film director (who would leave us gems such as Targets, The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon or What’s Up, Doc?), Bogdanovich stood out as a critic and essayist, writing several books, conducting famous interviews and directing documentaries. He was, above all, as many have pointed out in recent hours, a cinephile.
And as such he was remembered by industry figures, sharing their admiration and good memories for who was one of the banners of the New Hollywood along with Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. Cybil Shepherd, who was his partner and star of the aforementioned The Last Picture Show, spoke to Deadline of the role that Bogdanovich played at the beginning of her career: “Having Peter Bogdonavich as my first acting teacher in my first film, The Last Picture Show, was a blessing of enormous proportion. There are simply no words to express my feelings over this deepest of losses. May Peter live long in all our memories.”
Barbra Streisand, who acted for Bogdanovich in the 1972 comedy What’s Up, Doc?, shared several behind the scenes pictures in her corresponding tweet: “Peter always made me laugh! He’ll keep making them laugh up there too. May he rest in peace.”
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) January 6, 2022
Cher, on the other hand, collaborated with the director on 1985’s Mask, and has also dedicated a message to him: “[I] just heard Peter has died. I’m proud of the film we made together, and in the end I’m sure he must have been as well. He made some very memorable films, and discovered amazingly talented artists.”
Just heard Peter Has Died.
I’m Proud Of The Film (mask) We Made Together, & In The End I’m Sure He Must Have Been As Well.
He made Some Very
Memorable Films,& Discovered amazingly
— Cher (@cher) January 6, 2022
A celebrated partner of Bogdanovich in his quest to change Hollywood in the 1970s was Francis Ford Coppola, with whom he collaborated on board of Paramount Pictures for some time. “Oh dear, a shock,” he declares in a statement picked up by Deadline. “I am devastated. He was a wonderful and great artist. I’ll never forget attending a premiere for The Last Picture Show. I remember at its end, the audience leaped up all around me bursting into applause lasting easily 15 minutes. I’ll never forget although I felt I had never myself experienced a reaction like that, that Peter and his film deserved it. May he sleep in bliss for eternity, enjoying the thrill of our applause forever.”
On a similar note, Martin Scorsese has spoken with an extensive text where he praises Bogdanovich’s effort to immortalize film history and its protagonists: “In the 60s, at a crucial moment in the history of the movie business and the art of cinema, Peter Bogdanovich was right there at the crossroads of the Old Hollywood and the New. Curator, critic, historian, actor, director, popular entertainer … Peter did it all. As a programmer here in New York, he put together essential retrospectives of then still overlooked masters from the glory days of the studio system; as a journalist he got to know almost everybody, from John Ford and Howard Hawks to Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant. Like many of us, he made his way into directing pictures by way of Roger Corman, and he and Francis Coppola broke into the system early on.”
“Peter’s debut, Targets, is still one of his very best films,” Scorsese adds. “With The Last Picture Show, he made a movie that seemed to look backward and forward at the same time as well as a phenomenal success, followed quickly by What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. In the years that followed, Peter had setbacks and tragedies, and he just kept going on, constantly reinventing himself. The last time I saw Peter was in 2018 at The New York Film Festival, where we appeared together on a panel discussion of his old friend Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind (in which Peter gives a great performance, and to which he dedicated a lot of time and energy throughout many years). Right up to the end, he was fighting for the art of cinema and the people who created it.
Tatum O’Neal acted for Bogdanovich in Paper Moon and Nickelodeon, and she also said goodbye to the man behind these titles via Instagram: “Peter was my heaven and earth. A father figure. A friend. From Paper Moon to Nickelodeon he always made me feel safe. I love you, Peter.”
Guillermo del Toro dedicated him an extensive paragraph on Twitter: “He was a dear friend and a champion of Cinema. He birthed masterpieces as a director and was a most genial human. He single-handedly interviewed and enshrined the lives and work of more classic filmmakers than almost anyone else in his generation. He became a close friend and was active and brilliant to the end. He was working on a beautiful screenplay and to talk about the craft and ideas for it was delightful. A pure cinephile- Please watch Paper Moon tonight. Or The Last Picture Show, or What’s Up, Doc? or Targets… so he can stay alive in them, and to remember all he achieved as a filmmaker. And if you can, please read his beautiful books … It was my honor to meet Peter and to share time with him. If you know his work, please honor him. If you don’t, please get acquainted with it.”
Peter Bogdanovich passed away. He was a dear friend and a champion of Cinema. He birthed masterpieces as a director and was a most genial human. He single-handedly interviewed and enshrined the lives and work of more classic filmmakers than almost anyone else in his generation. pic.twitter.com/hL08ORCilN
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) January 6, 2022
Director Paul Feig also cited him as an influence: “One of my favorite comedies of all time and the movie that made me want to make people laugh when I was a kid, What’s Up, Doc?, was made by the great Peter Bogdanovich. So sad to hear of his passing. Thank you for all you did for film.”
One of my favorite comedies of all time and the movie that made me want to make people laugh when I was a kid, “What’s Up Doc?”, was made by the great Peter Bogdanovich. So sad to hear of his passing. Thank you for all you did for film, sir. RIP Peter. https://t.co/H1QbHRfMt7
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) January 6, 2022
“Peter—you left us some masterpieces But you had more to give. Many more,” director William Friedkin, another member of Bogdanovich’s generation, stated.
Peter—you left us some masterpieces But you had more to give. Many more
— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 6, 2022
Jeff Bridges was involved in both The Last Picture Show and its belated sequel Texasville, and also paid his respects to Bogdanovich: “My heart is broken – my dear friend Peter is no longer with us in the physical form. 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.”
My heart is broken – my dear friend Peter is no longer with us in the physical form. 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. pic.twitter.com/6L1jWAGBOK
— Jeff Bridges (@TheJeffBridges) January 6, 2022
Cary Elwes was involved in a lesser-known film by Bogdanovich The Cat’s Meow, and has joined the condolences: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of my oldest friends, legendary director & film historian, Peter Bogdanovich. Besides being extraordinarily talented, he was a gentle soul with an enormous heart. I am forever grateful to have worked with him.”
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of my oldest friends, legendary director & film historian, Peter Bogdanovich. Besides being extraordinarily talented, he was a gentle soul with an enormous heart. I am forever grateful to have worked with him. RIP Peter 😢🎬 pic.twitter.com/BrBBL2oXqM
— Cary Elwes (@Cary_Elwes) January 6, 2022