Peter Bogdanovich


Honorary Degree (2011)
Doctor of Humane Letters
IU Cinema Dedication
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Michael McRobbie


Peter Bogdanovich began directing plays Off-Broadway and in New York summer theater at just 20. He wrote a series of three monographs on Orson Welles, Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock for the Museum of Modern Art and wrote a classic series of feature articles and profiles for Esquire, including a groundbreaking Humphrey Bogart tribute and definitive pieces on James Stewart, Jerry Lewis and John Ford.

In 1966, he began working in movies first as Roger Corman's assistant on The Wild Angels; within a year, Corman financed Bogdanovich's first film as director-writer-producer-actor with the cult classic Targets, starring Boris Karloff in his last great film role. In 1971, Bogdanovich commanded the attention of both critics and public with The Last Picture Show -- starring then-unknowns Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd, Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman -- a look at small-town Texan-American life in the early 1950s. The film, which was recently designated a National Treasure by The Library of Congress, earned eight Academy Award nominations, including for Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Bogdanovich's 1972 film What's Up, Doc?, a romantic farce starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay. One year later, he recreated a memorable vision of rural 1930s America with Paper Moon, a Depression Era-tale about a pair of unlikely con artists. The film earned four Academy Award nominations, among numerous major honors, and nabbed a Supporting Actress Oscar for nine-year-old Tatum O'Neal (in her screen debut), the youngest performer ever to win an Academy Award.

His body of work over the past three decades has included the critically acclaimed version of Henry James' classic Daisy Miller; Saint Jack, starring Ben Gazzara and Denholm Elliot; They All Laughed, featuring Audrey Hepburn in her final starring role on screen; the Academy Award-winning Mask, starring Cher and Eric Stoltz; Noises Off, Michael Frayn's classic theater comedy, written for Steven Spielberg's company; Texasville, the sequel to The Last Picture Show; and The Cat's Meow, featuring Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, Edward Herrmann and Jennifer Tilly.

Bogdanovich has published more than a dozen books on films and filmmaking, among them This is Orson Welles, Who the Devil Made It and his most recent book, Who the Hell's in It. In 2004, his three-hour ABC Special, "The Mystery of Natalie Wood," premiered, along with his docudrama Hustle about infamous baseball player Pete Rose. He directed an episode of HBO's "The Sopranos" ("Sentimental Education," for the fifth season of the award-winning series) and had a recurring role as Lorraine Bracco's therapist.