Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten, better known by her stage name Dorothy Stratten, was a model, actress, and Playboy Playmate. She worked at an ice cream and fast food shop throughout high school, where she grabbed the eye of club promoter and want tobe star Paul Snider. He persuaded her to pose for a nude picture session after they started dating, with the photos being sent to Playboy magazine’s 25th Anniversary, Great Playmate Hunt in 1978. As a contestant, she traveled from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada to Los Angeles, California, USA, with Snider as her manager. Despite losing the contest to Candy Loving, she was named Playboy Miss August 1979 and then named 1980’s Playmate of the Year. She married Snider against resistance from friends and colleagues. She appeared in television shows such as ‘Fantasy Island’ and ‘Buck Rogers,’ as well as films such as ‘Autumn Born’ (1979) and ‘Galaxina’ (1980). Soon after, Stratten and Snider broke up, and Snider murdered her during a private discussion about divorce formalities. Dorothy Stratten was regarded as a wonderful acting prospect by many Hollywood directors at the time, but her unexpected death stunned many in the business.
Childhood and Adolescence
Dorothy was born to Dutch immigrants Nelly and Simon Hoogstraten on February 28, 1960 at Grace Maternity Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her father abandoned the family when she was three years old. Her mother remarried, but it was a failed marriage as well.
John Arthur, her younger brother, was born in 1961, and Louis Stratten, her younger step-sister, was born in 1961. (born in May 1968). Despite growing up in a noisy Vancouver neighborhood, she managed to avoid most of the problems. Dorothy attended Coquitlam’s Centennial High School. Nelly Hoogstraten, who had been married and divorced twice, earned just enough as a nurse to maintain her three children and had to rely on welfare.
Career of Dorothy Stratten
She met Paul Snider, a 26-year-old Vancouver promoter and accused pimp, while she was in high school and working at a Dairy Queen fast food shop. They began dating soon after. Snider later hired a professional photographer to photograph Stratten naked. The images were then forwarded to Playboy Magazine, and Dorothy promptly asked her mother to sign a consent form for modeling in the United States (the Stratten biography ‘Star 80′ suggests that Snider may have falsified Stratten’s mother’s signature).
In August 1978, Stratten and Snider travelled to Los Angeles, where she competed in the 25thAnniversary Great Playmate Hunt. On Snider’s suggestion, she changed her last name to Stratten. She began her career at the Playboy Club in Century City, Los Angeles, as a bunny (club hostess/entertainer).
She later sought to transition from being a Playboy to becoming an actress by starring in episodes of the popular television series’Fantasy Island and Buck Rogers.’ As she moved into film, she demonstrated her ability as an actress, particularly in comedic situations. Dorothy also rose to fame as a star of Richard Dawson’s ABC TV specials, which were filmed in the Playboy Mansion.
Personal Experiences of Dorothy Stratten
Dorothy and Snider married in Las Vegas in June 1979. Their relationship had a number of problems as she rose to stardom. On the set of the film ‘Galaxina,’ he began bothering her and discovered that she was having a more than cordial relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich.
Snider’s cocaine addiction grew worse, and he became more violent and abusive as a result. According to the biopic ‘Star 80,’ Snider may have misappropriated Stratten’s funds through failed business ventures and extravagant spending.
With the help of Hugh Hefner and her friend and Playboy colleague Rosanne Katon, Stratten tried her hardest to get away from Snider. In 1980, Stratten was cast (with Hugh Hefner’s guidance) in the romantic comedy ‘They All Laughed,’ which also starred Audry Hepburn and Bena Gazzara.
Stratten and director Peter Bogdanovich (who had recently divorced his partner Cybill Sheperd) had an affair while filming in New York in spring 1980. Surprisingly, Stratten played a wife who is having an extramarital affair while her husband, like Snider in real life, tries to uncover her secret life with the help of a private detective. Later, Stratten and Bogdanovich took a vacation to Europe. When Stratten returned, she had already decided to divorce her husband Snider, who was living separately with another blonde at the time.
The separated couple planned to meet on August 14, 1980, to discuss the formalities of their divorce. The disagreement quickly devolved into violence, and Snider had arrived armed with a gun. He raped his wife and then killed her with a gun before turning the gun on himself.
Snider’s private detective first learned of the incident when he summoned their mutual acquaintance Dr. Cushner to break into the room where the incident occurred. Stratten was allegedly assaulted both before and after her death, according to autopsy records. The death of the Playmate made the front pages of numerous national newspapers the next day.
Achievements & Awards
In 1979, Dorothy was named Miss August by Playboy. Hugh M. Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, announced in 1980 that Stratten would be named Playmate of the Year. According to film reviewer Vincent Canby, Stratten had a tremendous screen presence and could have been a first-rate comedian if she had been given more time and work. She could also write excellent poetry and essays. One month before her death, she was featured in the baseball program of the Vancouver Canadians.
Estimated Net Worth
Dorothy Stratten is one of the wealthiest models and one of the most popular. Dorothy Stratten’s net worth is estimated to be $1.9 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Her assassination was presented in two films: ‘Death of a Centrefold: The Dorothy Stratten Story’ (1981) and ‘Death of a Centrefold: The Dorothy Stratten Story’ (1982), in which Jamie Lee Curtis and Bruce Weitz played Stratten and Paul Snider, respectively. The second picture, named ‘Star 80,’ was directed by Bob Fosses and starred Eric Roberts as Snider and Mariel Hemmingway as Stratten. (The amount of Mercedes purchased by Snider using Stratten’s money was 80.)
Bogdanovich blamed Hugh Hefner and the Playboy bunny lifestyle for the events that led to Stratten’s death in his ‘Killing of the Unicorn’ interpretation of his life. Marc Goldstein, a private detective, sued him for some negative remarks he made in his book.
In contrast to this narrative, biographer Teresa Carpenter blamed both Bogdanovich and Hefner for Stratten’s death in an article published in the Village Voice for which she received a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
Colleen Camp, who is most known for her police woman appearances in the Police Academy series, was a friend of Dorothy Stratten.
Bogdanovich married Stratten’s younger sister in 1988 after paying for her studies and modeling training after Stratten’s death. Despite the fact that he divorced her in 2001, they continue collaborate on a regular basis.
After seeing Snider’s treatment of Dorothy, Dorothy’s younger sister Louise grew up to become an anti-domestic-violence campaigner and founded a refuge for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles.
Louise filed a lawsuit against Hefner and her own stepfather, alleging that Bogdanovich had seduced her when she was thirteen years old. However, the matter was eventually dropped and settled out of court. She also paid for cosmetic surgery to transform herself into Dorothy.