Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980” as Want to Read:
The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten, 1960-1980

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Mass Market Paperback
Published September 1st 1985 by Bantam (first published 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Killing of the Unicorn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Killing of the Unicorn

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 23, 2008 Flora rated it liked it
A bizarre, unclassifiable book. Peter Bogdanovich wrote it after his lover/leading lady Dorothy Stratten -- 1980's Playmate of the Year -- died at the hand of her husband in a particularly gruesome murder-suicide, a tragedy later depicted in Bob Fosse's terrifying and terrific "Star 80." (In a particularly discomfiting twist, Bogdanovich later married her sister Louise, who was twelve years old at the time of Stratten's death. They have since divorced.) It's hard to say precisely what this book ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
I decided to read this book after rediscovering Bogdanovich in some material I was reading about the time in cinema during which most of his well known films were made. Before starting the book I knew it was going to be a guilty pleasure and probably not a great work of art. By the time I was about a third of the way through it had become more of an exercise in slowing down for a car accident and try not to look but not being able to help yourself. The author's complete detachment from reality a ...more
Mark Payne
Jul 29, 2011 Mark Payne rated it it was amazing
Wow...! What a damning indictment of that creep Hugh Hefner and his wretched Playboy philosophy! What a sad, sad story. Dorothy Ruth Stratten seemed like a sweet, kind, and trusting, individual, and the way she was manipulated by both Paul Snider, and Hugh Hefner, is not only sickening, but criminal, and in some places difficult to read. I read a lot of books, and every now and then you hit one that powerfully impacts you. This is one of those books for me. I have a feeling I'll be remembering t ...more
Jul 28, 2011 lowercase rated it really liked it
you will never look at hugh hefner the same way again. you will never think, "oh, what's the harm? if women choose to display their sexuality, it empowers them." it's shocking, upsetting, and absolutely essential reading.
Jun 10, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Playboy historians.
I like this book about loving, kind-hearted Dorothy Stratten. Even if the author's obsession is probably pretty much exactly as deranged as her murderous husband's was. I mean, Bogdonavich tries to turn Dorothy's homely younger sister into, well, Dorothy. And guess what, Peter? You used Dorothy just like everyone else. Would you have been as attracted to her without that blond hair and those famous tits? As if. But Dorothy was beautiful, and deserved so much more than her tragic end.
May 15, 2013 Rubi rated it it was amazing
Dorothy Stratten (دوروثي ستراتن)was Playboy’s Playmate of the Year in 1980. After being cast in Peter Bogdanovich's They All Laughed, Stratten and Bogdanivich began having an affair. As her fame grew, her husband, Paul Snider, became increasingly jealous and resentful. Shortly after they separated, on August 14, 1980, she visited Snider at his home in West Los Angeles, California, where he shot her to death before turning the gun on himself..
Stratten's story was told in 1983's Star 80

احتل موت فت
Jul 11, 2016 Sull rated it did not like it
Recommended to Sull by: Library book sale
Very odd book, full of delusion and exaggerated ego, short on sense and honesty. Maybe it's the way things go after a gruesome murder, that the victim becomes a saint and the time spent with that person grows impossibly golden. But the tone Bogdanovich adopts reads increasingly unpleasantly. He blames everyone who "exploited" Dorothy--creepy Hugh Hefner and the sleazy Playboy machine, her vile husband, her unsympathetic step-father, her weak mother--but leaves himself no blame for seducing a muc ...more
Angela Pezel
Dec 02, 2015 Angela Pezel rated it it was ok
Sad story of a beautiful girl caught in a web of masculine power and greed who paid the ultimate price with her life.

The book reads more like a hagiography of Stratton. The author, noted film director and Stratton's lover, paints quite a story. The question I have is where is Dorothy's voice? The book was not at all unbiased. Dorothy wrote some poetry and a brief memoir which were cited in the text but I gained nothing of her from reading those portions.

The story however told is tragic.
Kim Hamilton
Nov 26, 2016 Kim Hamilton rated it liked it
This is not a biography on the life of Dorothy Stratten, but rather author Peter Bogdanovich's bitter and selfish attack on Hugh Hefner that should have remained just a personal journal that was never published. He even admitted years later than many of the outrageous accusations against Hefner were completely unproven.
Mar 31, 2008 Dawn rated it liked it
Dorothy Stratten's life (and subsequent murder) was a tragedy. She was a victim of poor choices and naivete. Bogdanovich's tale is written just like you would expect from the man who lost the love of his life. The book is pretty graphic, so I don't recommend it to the sheepish.
Jan 11, 2011 Melly rated it it was amazing
As the only insightful book about Dorothy, I did enjoy this book to a certain extent. I just wish this book was an actual biography of hers, from childhood to the last days of her life. I wonder if there will be any.
Jan 16, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
A really good read. I loved the way the author related his personal disaster to the much larger archetypes of women in our society and in other societies back to the beginning of recorded time. Well worth a look if you can still find a copy.
Oct 09, 2016 Dalal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Such a heartbreaking biography.
Arlene Allen
Jul 31, 2010 Arlene Allen rated it really liked it
A very sad story of domestic violence and fleeting stardom, and love that came too late.
Elizabeth Chadwick
Nov 10, 2015 Elizabeth Chadwick rated it really liked it
Brilliant. fascinating character study and indictment of Playboy and that ghoul Hefner.
Andie Nash
Aug 02, 2013 Andie Nash rated it it was ok
Very well written, but incredibly sad. I couldn't finish it.
Heidi Brown Lynn
Nov 27, 2016 Heidi Brown Lynn rated it it was ok
Painful to read, not only because of the technique (or lack there of), but the subject matter was too fresh for the author. It is rather like seeing a car-crash, and not being able to look away.
Tom Caufield
Tom Caufield rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2012
Aslikutayyovic rated it it was ok
May 25, 2014
Erin rated it liked it
Sep 24, 2016
Thomas Fugett
Thomas Fugett rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2014
Lesley Koke DeWig
Lesley Koke DeWig rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2013
Sammy Finlay
Sammy Finlay rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015
Todd Winther
Todd Winther rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2017
Dawn rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2010
Michael Brown
Michael Brown rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2012
Cynthia rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2013
Karina Longworth
Karina Longworth rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2012
Andrew Schwartz
Andrew Schwartz rated it it was ok
Apr 10, 2014
Aimee rated it really liked it
May 31, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Basement: Meditations on a Human Sacrifice: With a New Introduction
  • Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger
  • Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders
  • Blood Games
  • Auto Focus
  • Night Stalker
  • Hush Little Babies: the true story of a mother who murdered her own children
  • The Ragman's Son
  • The Lonely Life
  • A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions
  • Dr. Feelgood: The Story of the Doctor Who Influenced History by Treating and Drugging Prominent Figures Including President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley
  • Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain
  • Hollywood Babylon II
  • From Cradle to Grave: The Short Lives and Strange Deaths of Marybeth Tinning's Nine Children
  • Cassavetes on Cassavetes
  • What Lisa Knew: The Truth and Lies of the Steinberg Case
  • Death of a Transvestite
  • Charmer: The True Story of a Ladies' Man and His Victims
Peter Bogdanovich is an American film historian, director, writer, actor and critic. He was part of the wave of "New Hollywood" directors (which included William Friedkin, Brian DePalma, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola, among others), and was particularly relevant during the 1970s with his film The Last Picture Show.
More about Peter Bogdanovich...

Share This Book