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Dorothy Stratten

PMOY 1980, Miss August 1979

August 01, 1979
February 28, 1960
Vancouver BC Canada
5' 9"
123 lbs
Not every Playboy Playmate grew up with the desire of becoming a centerfold and, surprisingly, many Playmates never even considered themselves beautiful until they saw themselves on our glossy pages. Dorothy Stratten was one of these understated beauties, living a normal life in Vancouver, Canada where she was a waitress at her local Dairy Queen. To Dorothy, she was an awkward and shy teenager who didn’t like her tall, lean figure, but to Playboy fans, our Playmate of the Year was the voluptuous blonde of their dreams. “I was made fun of in school until I was about 16 because my breasts were so tiny. Then one day, they just started to grow and they wouldn’t stop. Naturally, the teasing ended immediately,” blushes our Miss 1980. Years of teasing and negative comments had distorted Dorothy’s self-perception so much so that when she heard she was voted our Playmate of the Year, she couldn’t understand why and kept asking us if we were certain about our decision. Along with being gorgeous and voluptuous, the Canadian with the full, pink pout is also wholesome and charming with an air of innocence—we knew we had picked the right woman for the job. “I'm basically a very shy person and I often get frustrated trying to express myself verbally, so I'll just write a poem for a friend and communicate my feelings that way,” says Dorothy. “I get my inspiration at the strangest times, though--in the shower, at the dinner table, on a bus. But no matter where I am, I just have to write my thoughts down immediately.” Writing her thoughts in poetic form isn’t the only thing our Miss August 1979 jots down. Dorothy moved to Los Angeles with her husband, Paul Snider, and a list of goals she wanted to obtain—become a model, a Bunny and to become a Hollywood starlet. “To make it in Hollywood, you have to really want it and be very, very dedicated. No one’s going to come up to you and say, ‘I’m going to make you a star,’” explains Dorothy, who has had no problem making a name for herself. Our Playmate has landed movie roles in films like Skatetown, USA, Americathon, Galaxina and in the Canadian film, Autumn Born. “Seeing my name in TV Guide was the most exciting thing in my life. It suddenly made all this seem real. When I watch myself on the screen or on TV, it’s always so hard for me to believe that it’s really me,” smiles Dorothy. “Hollywood hasn’t changed my values or my personality, but it has certainly made me wiser. I’ve gained five years of experience in 18 months.” However, no amount of experience would have prepared Dorothy for the outcome of accepting a role in the filmThey All Laughed. Dorothy, a hopeless romantic who entered in matrimony when she was only 19, fell in love with her director, Peter Bogdanovich. She knew this relationship was where her heart belonged and subsequently filed for divorce from Paul. “Love is my first priority—it’s a home to retreat to after the rigors of the day. If you’re involved in the movie business, it’s not easy to keep a relationship going,” admits Miss Stratten. On August 14, 1980, her estranged husband invited her over to his home under the pretenses of discussing their impending divorce. It was in their former West Los Angeles martial home that he murdered 20-year old Dorothy before committed suicide himself. Her life may have been cut short, but she is far from forgotten. In Dorothy Stratten’s memory, two movies—Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story where Dorothy was played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Bob Fosse’s Star 80—and also, a song from Bryan Adams, The Best Was Yet To Come, have been created.