Director and Sopranos Actor Peter Bogdanovich Dies At 82

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich is dead at the age of 82. Bogdanovich's face is probably best known to modern audiences as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, the therapist of Tony Soprano's therapist Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) in the HBO mob drama The Sopranos. Of course, Bogdanovich's role in The Sopranos was just one of the many Easter egg castings that Sopranos creator David Chase embedded as a reference to the larger worlds of art, culture, and entertainment – because Peter Bogdanovich was certainly a rich and respected figure in all three of those areas. 

Peter Bogdanovich died of reportedly natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, which THR has confirmed with his daughter, Antonia Bogdanovich. 

Of his many directorial works, Peter Bogdanovich is best known for is his 1971 Oscar-nominated film, The Last Picture Show. That adaptation of Larry McMurtry's novel starred greats like Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, and Ellen Burstyn, with Bogdanovich captivating with his story and directorial vision about coming of age amidst the backdrop of small-town America's slow, quiet, death. The Last Picture Show earned Bogdanovich an Oscar nomination for Best Director and co-nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Based On Material from Another Medium (alongside McMurtry). 

Bogdanovich was dubbed part of the "New Hollywood" crop of directors of the '60s and '70s, and followed the success of The Last Picture Show with the 1972 box office comedy hit What's Up, Doc? with Barbara Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Khan. The next year Bogdanovich released Paper Moon with Ryan O'Neal, Madeline Kahn, and Tatum O'Neal – that film was a smash hit both commercially and critically, earning Bogdanovich a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director, while Tatum O'Neal won the Globe for Most Promising Newcomer – Female, and went on to become the youngest Academy Award-winner at the time (age 10). 

In the mid-70s, Bogdanovich hit something of a cold streak with critical and commercial failures like Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love. He took a multi-year hiatus before ending the '70s and entering the '80s with cult hits like Saint Jack and They All Laughed

Bogdanovich's life and career took a serious turn in the summer of 1980 after the infamous Hollywood murder of model, actress and Playmate Dorothy Stratten by her estranged husband and manager Paul Snider. Bogdanovich has been dating Stratten at the time of her death and collapsed upon learning of her violent death. He took a four-year hiatus from filmmaking before returning in 1985 with the box office hit Mask, which told the true story of a man named Roy L. "Rocky" Dennis (Eric Stoltz) who lives with a bone disorder that leaves him uniquely disfigured. 

(Photo: HBO)

He would go on directing films regularly into the early 1990s, then returned in 2001 and 2014 for two more features. As stated, Bogdanovich found new lanes for himself like his role in The Sopranos during the 2000s, with plenty of other acting appearances in everything from Law & Order to The Simpsons, and How I Met Your Mother (and so many other pop-culture films and TV shows). 


R.I.P. Peter Bogdanovich. We wish his family, friends, and colleagues condolences in their time of mourning.