A man that cared so deeply about movies that he devoted every aspect of his life to them, be it preserving the histories of their creation or making his own, Peter Bogdanovich has died at age 82.
According to his daughter Antonia, Bogdanovich died of natural causes at his home in L.A.
The critic-turned-filmmaker (who also happened to be a director of plays, a historian, a neckwear enthusiast and an actor so talented he could slip into an ensemble as stacked as The Sopranos’) is best known for his Oscar-nominated sophomore feature: The Last Picture Show. The black-and-white Texan drama remains a considered and evocative snapshot of a community, with Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman and Timothy Bottoms bringing a small town on the edge of sweeping cultural change to life. But beyond his wunderkind days (he made the film when he was only 31), his loving throwback cinema continued to win over critics and display his unique blend of Golden Age reverence and New Hollywood innovation.
What’s Up, Doc? and Paper Moon showed off a comic streak, while late-career entries like the Palme d’Or-nominated Mask and Tom Petty documentary Runnin’ Down a Dream showed off his versatility.
Throughout it all, though, Bogdanovich maintained a professional and personal evangelism for the filmmaking greats before him. A mentee of Orson Welles (he also helped finally bring The Other Side of the Wind to the screen in 2019) and a biographer of John Ford, Bogdanovich turned his critical obsessions into fertile artistic inspiration after making his way through the Roger Corman school of low-budget filmmaking. He admired Hollywood, he understood Hollywood, and he became Hollywood.
Recently, he was given the biography treatment himself in the first season of the thorough TCM podcast The Plot Thickens.
Bogdanovich is survived by his daughters and grandchildren.