Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Grisly Murder of Dorothy Stratten, 1980

StrattenWSOMRPlayboyaaThirty years ago today, Dorothy Stratten, the beautiful 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year was brutally raped and murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider. She was just 20 years old. Stratten’s death remains one of the most tragic and disturbingly heinous acts in all of pop culture history and it still haunts Hugh Hefner to this day.

The above gross-out Playboy parody appeared in the July 1984 issue of Hustler. It depicts the gruesome crime scene and mocks both Playboy readers and the insanely jealous Snider. It’s in poor taste even for Hustler, yet the image is so shocking, it’s hard to look away.

One can only imagine the nightmare that transpired between noon and the late evening of August 14, 1980 in a small Westwood house bedroom not far from the LA freeway. Police records indicate Stratten was raped and sodomized, but it’s unclear if Snider had done so before or after he blew half her face off with a shotgun. There’s evidence she was duct taped to a homemade sex bench at one point during her brutal ordeal, and when Snider was finally finished with Stratten, he blew his own head off with the same shotgun. A housemate of Snider’s discovered the bodies several hours later in a state of rigor mortis and covered with hundreds of black ants.

There have been two films made about Dorothy Stratten, Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981) starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and the excellent Star 80 (1983) starring Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts as the controlling Snider. Even more macabre is that Star 80 filmed scenes in the very same house in which Dorothy was murdered. Now, let us never speak of this again.