Up 5,569 this week

Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama  -  1 November 1981 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.6/10 from 328 users  
Reviews: 3 user

The life and death of the "Playboy" centerfold model/actress Dorothy Stratten.


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Unbroken: An interview with Angelina Jolie

IMDb's Arno Kazarian chats with Angelina Jolie about working with cinematographer Roger Deakins and harnessing Jack O'Connell's fire

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1166 titles
created 02 Feb 2012
a list of 1051 titles
created 28 Feb 2012
a list of 64 titles
created 15 May 2012
a list of 2295 titles
created 15 Oct 2012
a list of 64 titles
created 3 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (TV Movie 1981)

Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (TV Movie 1981) on IMDb 5.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Perfect (1985)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A female aerobics instructor meets a male reporter doing a story on health clubs, but it isn't love at first sight.

Director: James Bridges
Stars: John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ramey Ellis
Prom Night (1980)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A masked killer stalks four teenagers, responsible for the accidental death of a little girl six years earlier, at their high school's senior prom.

Director: Paul Lynch
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Chuck Murdock is an all American kid living in a sleepy town in Montana. He is the top pitcher of the little league team as well. After taking a tour of a nuclear silo, Chuck decides to ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Gregory Peck, Dean Alexander
Mother's Boys (1994)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Jude Madigan abandons her husband Robert and her three sons without any explanation. Three years later Jude inexplicably returns to reunite her family. However Robert and his new lover ... See full summary »

Director: Yves Simoneau
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  
Director: James Bruce
Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Robert Joy, Lenny Henry
Spychosis (2016)
Action | Comedy | Drama

When a prominent leading actor gets entangled in a network of deadly espionage, he turns to his resourceful Nurse for ambiguity in order to save innocent lives and his own.

Director: Gabriel Schmidt
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Eileen Davidson, Vincent Van Patten
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dominick and Eugene are twins, but Dominick is a little bit slow due do an accident in his youth. They live together, with Dominick working as garbage man to put Eugene through medical ... See full summary »

Director: Robert M. Young
Stars: Tom Hulce, Ray Liotta, Jamie Lee Curtis
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Life in the small town of Grandview, Illinois is one that is just like any other city or town. Tim Pearson, soon to be graduating high school wants to go to Florida to study oceanography. ... See full summary »

Director: Randal Kleiser
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze
She's in the Army Now (TV Movie 1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Akin to Private Benjamin, this comedy deals with the tough life of female army recruits going through basic training. Through their training they come to realize that there is more to being... See full summary »

Director: Hy Averback
Stars: Kathleen Quinlan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Susan Blanchard
Money on the Side (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Three middle-class housewives who are having money problems join a prostitution ring.

Director: Robert L. Collins
Stars: Karen Valentine, Jamie Lee Curtis, Linda Purl
As Summers Die (TV Movie 1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The plot centers around a large area of land owned by an old black lady, Elvira Backus. It had been given to her by her one time employer and secret father of her two children, a southern ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Tramont
Stars: Scott Glenn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bette Davis
Callahan (TV Movie 1982)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Harry Winer
Stars: Hart Bochner, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Harkins


Cast overview, first billed only:
David Palmer
Tracy Reed ...
Hilda Flushing
Billy Compton
Hugh Gillin ...
Max Halloran
Karlene Crockett ...
Steven Hirsch ...
Jim Boeke ...
Linda Brooks ...
Model #1


TV version of the life and death of "Playboy" magazine centerfold Dorothy Stratten (1960-1980), a starry-eyed Canadian teenager who moved to Hollywood in the late 1970's seeking stardom and found it with her seedy promotor Paul Snider who promised Dorothy a career both as a star and his wife. Written by Matthew Patay <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama





Release Date:

1 November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ha muerto una modelo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in My Time with Terror with Jamie Lee Curtis (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

And the Special Award for "least convincing impersonation of a real individual" goes to.....
7 November 2010 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

Dorothy Stratten (nee Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten) was a working-class girl from Vancouver, British Columbia who became a model and, at the age of nineteen, was chosen as the Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1979. She became Playmate of the Year the following year. Most Playmates tend to disappear from sight after their month in the spotlight, but Dorothy was widely regarded as being far more than just a pretty face. She was also regarded as a promising up-and-coming actress and had appeared in three films when, in August 1980, she was murdered by her estranged husband Paul Snider who was jealous of her relationship with the film director Peter Bogdanovich. (Snider committed suicide immediately after killing Dorothy).

The television movie "Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story" was one of two films from the early eighties about Dorothy's life, the other being the feature film "Star 80" from two years later. (It is a long time since I saw "Star 80", so I will not attempt a comparison of the merits of the two films). "Death of a Centerfold", as often happens with TV movies based on real events, appears to have been rushed quickly out to take advantage of the publicity resulting from the case. It changes some of the details of the case. The actual killing is not shown directly, presumably out of respect for the feelings of Dorothy's family and friends. Dorothy's parents are not mentioned; in the early scenes she is shown living with an aunt. The actor playing Paul Snider, Bruce Weitz, is considerably older than the real Snider, who was still in his twenties when he died. Bogdanovich is referred to in the film, possibly for legal reasons, as "David Palmer".

The leading role is played here by Jamie Lee Curtis, which has always struck me as miscasting, given that she does not bear the slightest resemblance to Dorothy Stratten. (Mariel Hemingway, who was to play her in "Star 80", resembles her much more closely). If they ever institute a special Razzie for "least convincing impersonation of a real individual" they should name it the Jamie Lee Curtis Award. Indeed, Jamie Lee does not really look like the sort of girl who gets chosen as a "Playboy" playmate. That does not mean that she is unattractive; indeed, after she appeared scantily dressed in a number of her films, especially "Perfect", she became something of a sex symbol. With her slim figure, sharply defined features and slightly androgynous looks, however, she has never been the "Playboy" type; Hugh Hefner's tastes have always run towards beauty of the voluptuous, the baby-faced and the unambiguously feminine variety- the sort of beauty, in fact, which Dorothy Stratten possessed in spades.

Quite apart from her looks, Jamie Lee was never very convincing as a naive, innocent and confused young girl. Bruce Weitz was able to convey the villainous side of Snider's nature, but he never really suggested that there might be any other side. The real Snider must have possessed a certain plausible charm in order to persuade a gullible young woman to fall in love with him, but we do not see anything of this in the film.

"Death of a Centerfold" is in many ways a typical "true story" TV movie, a plain, straightforward narrative without too much in the way of cinematic tricks and trying to tell a shocking story without actually upsetting anyone. Apart from the obvious villain Snider everyone comes out smelling of roses; there is nothing here that might provoke a libel suit and no attempt to explore the potentially interesting question of whether Hefner and "Palmer" were in fact exploiting Dorothy as much as Snider was. 5/10

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: