The Playboy Murder
Beautiful Dorothy Hoogstratten (better known by her stage name Dorothy Stratten) was a shy, awkward teenager when she met Paul Snider, a money hungry hustler who immediately saw the potential for fame in the buxom blonde. Dorothy had struggled with self-esteem issues her entire life, and despite her ethereal looks she did not consider herself worthy enough of a mans attention until Paul Snider came along.
The two fell in love and got married in June 1978, and soon after the wedding Snider persuaded Stratten to pose for nude photos, which he secretly sent off to Playboy magazine. Just a few months later the pair moved to Los Angeles, where Dorothy became a finalist in the Playboy Bunny Hunt competition. She met Hugh Hefner and worked as a dancer in his Playboy Club, and Snider encouraged her to audition for movie roles. To help her get roles, Snider bullied Dorothy into dying her hair peroxide blonde, and forced her to undertake a gruelling diet and exercise regimen. Dorothy’s hard work paid off when she featured as Playboy’s “Playmate of the Month” for August 1979, and she was also voted “Playmate of the year 1980”.
In 1980 Dorothy starred in her first (and only) movie, ‘Galaxina’, where she plays a beautiful robot. At the movie’s first screening, Hugh Hefner pulled Dorothy aside and warned her to keep away from Snider. “He’s a hustler and a pimp. He’s just using you” Hefner reportedly said. Dorothy made the fatal mistake of telling her husband about this remark, and Snider grew even more jealous and paranoid over his beautiful young wife.
Snider began beating Dorothy, flying into rages about the affairs he believed Dorothy must be having. He prohibited her from leaving the house without him, took away her car keys, and would stand next to Dorothy when she talked on the phone. Her friends desperately tried to seek help for her, but Stratten would always blame herself for his behaviour and make excuses for the bruises that were showing up on her body with increasing regularity.
In April 1980 Dorothy fell in love with Peter Bogdanovich, the director of the new film she had scored a lead role in. Snider hired a private detective to spy on her, and when he discovered his wife’s affair he reportedly threatened to kill Dorothy and “ruin that pretty face”. Dorothy and Peter moved in together at his mansion in Beverley Hills, and by August Dorothy had filed for divorce.
On August 14, 1980, Snider rang Dorothy and asked to meet her at his house to talk about an amicable divorce. Dorothy enthusiastically agreed and withdrew $1000 to give to Snider.
What happened next is unclear. Dorothy arrived at Snider’s house around noon, and at some point during the night Snider beat Dorothy and tied her into an elaborate BDSM harness. He violently raped and sodomized her, before shooting her in the face at point-blank range with a 12-gauge shotgun. Snider raped her dead body again, aimed the gun at his head, and committed suicide.
The landlord of the house discovered the two nude bodies the next day. Dorothy was only 20 years old, and Hugh Hefner wrote this about her in an article:
“Dorothy took my breath away. She had this beautiful inner quality about her that was so charming, so innocent, and it touched everything in the room”