In the summer of 1980, a tragic story unfolded in the scene of Hollywood and Playboy. This story reveals the dark side of fame and fortune, featuring Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider as its central characters.
Snider first crossed paths with Stratten, then known as Dorothy Hoogstraten, during her high school days when she was working at a Dairy Queen to support her family financially. Paul was no stranger to the city’s nightlife and was already dabbling in the shadier aspects of life, involving drugs and exploiting young girls for profit.
The promoter began his journey of manipulation by showering young Dorothy with gifts and taking her to her high school prom despite being older. He then convinced her to pose for a nude photoshoot as part of Playboy’s Great Playmate Hunt contest in 1978.
Although Stratten didn’t win, her beauty caught the eye of Playboy’s founder, Hugh Hefner, who dubbed her Miss August 1979 and offered her a job as a Playboy Bunny. Despite Snider’s questionable behavior, Dorothy remained devoted to him. They tied the knot in 1979.
Hefner, realizing Stratten’s potential, started taking a more prominent role in her career, which led to tension between the model and Snider. Dorothy began to gain fame with TV and movie roles, culminating in her being named Playmate of the Year in 1980.
As Stratten’s star continued to rise, Snider’s jealousy and distress spiraled out of control, particularly during her involvement with director Peter Bogdanovich while working on ‘They All Laughed,’ a film released in 1981. His anger increased even more when the model asked him for a divorce because she was in love with Bogdanovich.
With Stratten’s departure, Snider’s financial lifeline was severed. Consumed by jealousy and rage, he began stalking Stratten, acquiring firearms, and lurking outside Bogdanovich’s residence.
On August 14, 1980, ignoring advice from both Hefner and Bogdanovich not to meet with Snider alone, Dorothy went to his apartment to discuss their divorce. Later that day, Snider’s housemates discovered their lifeless bodies in his bedroom. The promoter had raped Stratten before taking her life, ultimately ending his own with the same shotgun.
Snider’s dark and tragic life has been portrayed in several films, including ‘Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story,’ ‘Star 80,’ and most recently, in the series ‘Welcome to Chippendales,’ where Dan Stevens played him.