5 user

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

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




On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Star 80 (1983)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A successful young model finds trouble when her obsessive manager-turned-husband becomes dangerously jealous. Based on the true story of 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson
Love Letters II (1983)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A story of love and obsession. A young radio personality who, after her mother dies, discovers she had been having a love affair for 15 years. Now she finds herself recreating her mother's ... See full summary »

Director: Amy Holden Jones
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Bonnie Bartlett, Matt Clark
Money on the Side (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 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
Road Games (1981)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A truck driver plays a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious serial killer on a desolate Australian highway.

Director: Richard Franklin
Stars: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad cap private-eye caper about a team of detectives who are following, and are being followed by, a group of beautiful women.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, Patti Hansen
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Marshall Flaum
Stars: Dorothy Stratten, Peter Bogdanovich, Fern Buchner


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

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat


July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con



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 <pataygs@voicenet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every Man's Fantasy. One Man's Obsession. See more »


Biography | Drama





Release Date:

1 November 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death of a Centerfold  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jamie Lee Curtis and Gloria Gifford also starred in Halloween 2 together, which was released just 2 days earlier. See more »


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

Decent Made-for-TV Flick
6 March 2015 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

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

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Decent made-for-TV drama shows Dorothy Stratten (Jamie Lee Curtis) going from a small town waitress to the Playmate of the Year. Stratten, a natural beauty, begins her career thanks in large part to a con man (Bruce Weitz) that she meets. He manages to get her into the pages of Playboy and soon he becomes more and more possessive of the young woman. Feeling she owes him something, Dorothy agrees to marry him but things take a turn for the worse.

DEATH OF A CENTERFOLD certainly isn't an award-winner as it's held up by a lot of things that usually hold these types of movies back. If you're unfamiliar with the story then this here is a decent introduction to the events but there's no question that more could have been done with Stratten's story.

I think the strongest thing going for the film are some of the performances with Weitz easily stealing the picture as the controlling husband. I really thought the actor nailed every aspect of the role from the more charming moments to the ones where he slowly begins to break in regards to how much madness he can present. There are a few scenes where you pretty much see him go from hot to cool back to hot within the matter of seconds and I thought the actor pulled it off extremely well. Robert Reed also stands out in his role as a producer who takes Stratten in towards the end of her life. Mitchell Ryan is also good in his role as Hugh Hefner. As for Curtis, I thought she wasn't that strong in the lead but she manages to have a few nice moments including the final portion of the film. I thought she handled the finale quite well.

Most of the flaws are typical of this type of made-for-TV movie. There's certainly no great demand for high-art so you can't expect too much drama or well-made moments. Instead of a complete story we're pretty much given the highlights of the story and of course there are the over-dramatic moments of Stratten's aunt "fearing" for the safety of her. Another weak aspect is that the direction really just doesn't stand out or create anything that we haven't seen before. Even by 1981 the type of film showing women abused were pretty much done to death and this one here doesn't do anything fresh or original with it.

DEATH OF A CENTERFOLD pretty much set out to be the first movie on the market dealing with a subject that made a lot of headlines. This film was on television barely a year after Stratten was murdered so the producers at least got the film noticed while the headlines were still hot. With that said, there's certainly nothing awful about the film even though it falls well short of being anything special.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: