Is the Movie Star 80 a True Story?

Are you curious about the facts behind the movie Star 80? This 1983 American biographical drama film tells the story of Dorothy Stratten, a Playboy model who was murdered by her estranged husband.

The movie was directed by Bob Fosse and starred Mariel Hemingway as Stratten. But is Star 80 a true story? Let’s dive in.


Dorothy Stratten was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1960. She worked at a local Dairy Queen before catching the eye of Paul Snider, a promoter and pimp who convinced her to pose for Playboy magazine. Stratten quickly rose to fame as a Playmate and eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

The Movie

Star 80 is based on the book “The Killing of the Unicorn” by Peter Bogdanovich, Stratten’s former boyfriend and director of her last film. The movie follows Stratten’s rise to fame and her tumultuous relationship with Snider, who becomes increasingly jealous and controlling as she becomes more successful.

The Accuracy

While Star 80 takes some liberties with certain events and characters, it is largely based on true events. The film accurately portrays how Snider convinced Stratten to pose for Playboy and how he became her manager. It also accurately depicts their tumultuous relationship, including his jealousy over her success.

  • However, there are some inaccuracies in the film:
    • The timeline of events is compressed.
    • Some characters are combined or fictionalized.
    • The portrayal of Hugh Hefner and Playboy is disputed by some who knew Stratten.

    The Tragic End

    On August 14, 1980, Snider shot and killed Stratten before turning the gun on himself. Stratten was just 20 years old at the time of her death. Her murder shocked the entertainment industry and led to changes in California’s anti-stalking laws.


    So, is Star 80 a true story? While the film takes some creative liberties, it is largely based on true events and accurately portrays the tragic story of Dorothy Stratten. The movie serves as a reminder of the dangers of domestic violence and the devastating consequences it can have.