'The Virgin Film Guide' states that actress Mariel Hemingway "underwent breast augmentation for the role" of playing Dorothy Stratten. Hemingway received breast implants shortly before playing the part of Playboy model-actress Stratten but has allegedly denied that that was the reason she got them. Hemingway's silicone breast implants were removed years later after they had ruptured, leaking silicone into her bloodstream.
Bob Fosse made Paul Snider the main character in the film because he identified with his character the most. Fosse even told actor Eric Roberts that when he played Snider, he was really playing himself if Fosse had not been successful in show business.
The names of the movies in which Dorothy Stratten appeared in real life in were changed for the film. The picture called "Wednesday's Child" in reality was Autumn Born (1979). The movie referred to as "Ball Bearings" is actually Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). The movie that Paul Snider (Eric Roberts) says is "a sci-fi film [where] she plays a robot" was in real life Galaxina (1980). The final film mentioned, "Tinsel Time", which Aram Nicholas (Roger Rees) was editing at the time of Dorothy's death, is supposed to be They All Laughed (1981), which in real life was directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who had in real life personally been seeing Stratten. Bogdanovich in real life later in 1988 married Louise Stratten, the sister of Dorothy Stratten. The pair were divorced in 2001.
The film gets its Star 80 (1983) title from the customized personalized license plate on Paul Snider (Eric Roberts) Mercedes Benz car which reads "STAR 80". A car number plate with the wording "STAR 80" also forms the design for the picture's promotional title logo.
The portrait of Telly Savalas seen in Paul Snider (Eric Roberts)' apartment was painted by Herb Davidson. It was commissioned for an article on Savalas in the June 1978 issue of Playboy magazine which was headed by 'Hugh Hefner' who is played in the film by Cliff Robertson.
The character "Bobo Weller" is based on real-life Playboy Playmate Terri Welles. When Paul Snider (Eric Roberts) tries to impress her by listing her favorite books and musicians, they're the same as those on Welles' data sheet.
The film was made and released about two years after it source Pulitzer Prize-winning Feature Writing Award article "Death of a Playmate" by Teresa Carpenter had been first published in 'The Village Voice' newspaper in 1981. The article's title was similar to the name of the earlier television movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981) which covered the same story and subject matter.
One of two adult dramas with eroticism starring actress Mariel Hemingway that were made and released during the early 1980s. The movies are Star 80 (1983) and Personal Best (1982). Hemingway had also previously appeared in the controversial rape movie Lipstick (1976) and had portrayed a seventeen year-old high-school student who has a liaison with a twice-divorced forty-two year-old man in Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979) in which Hemingway was Oscar nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
The film's closing credits and promotional materials such as the Australian VHS sleeve contained the following disclaimer: "This motion picture is, in part, a fictionalization of certain events and people involved in the lives of Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider".
About just under thirty years after this movie was made and released, a similarly titled unrelated French language film was made and released called Stars 80 (2012), which debuted around twenty-nine years after Star 80 (1983).
The music piece playing when Paul first takes the Polaroids of Dorothy is a slightly updated version of the theme from A Little Romance (1979) (which won Georges Delerue an Oscar), although it is not credited.
In real life, director Peter Bogdanovich made a film that would be his career Waterloo, They All Laughed (1981), a low-budget ensemble comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and the 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Dorothy Stratten, who is played by Mariel Hemingway in Star 80 (1983). They All Laughed (1981) is renamed "Tinsel Time" in Star 80 (1983). During the actual real-life filming of the picture, Bogdanovich, who is re-named Aram Nicholas and is played by Roger Rees in Star 80 (1983), fell in love with Stratten, who was married to an emotionally unstable hustler, Paul Snider, played by Eric Roberts in Star 80 (1983), and who relied on Stratten financially. Stratten moved in with Bogdanovich, and when she told Snider she was leaving him, he shot and killed her, sodomizing her corpse before committing suicide. Star 80 (1983) is about this story, circumstances and subject matter. Any alleged sodomizing and/or necrophilia does not feature in the film ending of Star 80 (1983).
After the death of Dorothy Stratten, director Peter Bogdanovich turned his back to his first avocation of film-making, and wrote a memoir to his dead love called "The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten (1960-1980)" (1984), first published the following year after Star 80 (1983) debuted. The book was a riposte to Teresa Carpenter's 1981 "Death of a Playmate" article written for 'The Village Voice' that had won the Feature Writing Pulitzer Prize. Carpenter had lambasted Bogdanovich and Hugh M. Hefner, claiming that Stratten allegedly was as much a victim of them as she was of Paul Snider. The article served as the basis of Star 80 (1983), in which Bogdanovich was portrayed under the fictional name of director Aram Nicholas (portrayed by Roger Rees). Bogdanovich has since decried Star 80 for being inaccurate and called it "a piece of shit," while acknowledging that he'd never personally met Snider.