Mary Marr Platt
January 29, 1939
Fort Sheridan, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||July 27, 2011 (aged 72)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Film producer, production designer, screenwriter|
(m. 195?; died 1959)
(m. 1962; div. 1971)
m. 1979; died 1985)
Mary Marr "Polly" Platt (January 29, 1939 – July 27, 2011) was an American film producer, production designer and screenwriter. She was the first female art director accepted into Hollywood's Art Director's Guild. In addition to her credited work, she was widely known as mentor (for which she was honored with Women in Film Crystal Award) as well as an uncredited collaborator and networker. In the case of the latter, she is widely credited with contributing to the success of ex-husband and director Peter Bogdanovich's early films; discovering actors such as Cybill Shepherd and Tatum O'Neal; and connecting producer James L. Brooks to Matt Groening, a meeting which eventually resulted in the satiric animated television series, The Simpsons.
Platt was born Mary Marr Platt in Fort Sheridan, Illinois on January 29, 1939, and later adopted the name Polly. Her father, John, was a colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army, while her mother, Vivian, worked in advertising; she had a brother, John. She moved to Germany at age six when her father presided over the Dachau Trials. Platt later returned to the US and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now known as Carnegie Mellon University.
Platt worked in summer stock theatre as a costume designer in New York and there met Peter Bogdanovich, whom she later married. She co-wrote with Bogdanovich his first movie Targets (1968), conceiving the plot outline of a "Vietnam veteran-turned-sniper" and served as the production designer on the film. She was also production designer on his film The Last Picture Show (1971), recommending Cybill Shepherd for her first film role, and despite the breakdown of their marriage, had the same role on What's Up Doc? (1972) and Paper Moon (1973). Platt had suggested Bogdanovich make Larry McMurtry's novel The Last Picture Show into a film. Bogdanovich commented that: "She worked on important pictures and made major contributions. She was unique. There weren't many women doing that kind of work at that time, particularly not one as well versed as she was. She knew all the departments, on a workmanlike basis, as opposed to most producers who just know things in theory." Platt was the first female member of the Art Directors Guild. She was also production designer on A Star Is Born (1976).
She wrote the screenplay for Pretty Baby (1978), for which she was also an associate producer, as well as Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), and A Map of the World (1999). She wrote the screenplay for the 1995 Academy Award-winning short film, Lieberman in Love, which was based on a short story by W. P. Kinsella.
Platt worked extensively with James L. Brooks throughout her career. She was the executive vice president of his production company Gracie Films from 1985 to 1995. Platt was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Brooks' film Terms of Endearment (1983). She co-produced many of the films he worked on, which Gracie made, including Broadcast News (1987), The War of the Roses (1989) and Bottle Rocket (1996), as well as producing Say Anything... (1989). She also played a bit role in Say Anything....
Platt gave Brooks the nine-panel Life in Hell cartoon, "The Los Angeles Way of Death" by cartoonist Matt Groening. She suggested that the two meet and that Brooks produce an animated TV version of Groening's characters; the meeting spawned a series of short cartoons about the Simpson family, which aired as part of The Tracey Ullman Show and later became The Simpsons.
In 1994, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Brooks said that Platt "couldn't walk into a gas station and get gas without mentoring somebody. Movies are a team sport, and she made teams function. She would assume a maternal role in terms of really being there. The film was everything, and ego just didn't exist." In 2003, she appeared in the BBC documentary film Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Platt was working on a documentary about the filmmaker Roger Corman at the time of her death. She was very involved with the Austin Film Festival up until her death, and mentored many filmmakers through her participation in the annual festival, which is geared toward screenwriting and production skill-sharing. According to her daughter, Antonia Bogdanovich, "She came every year, religiously, she was a huge supporter," of the Austin Film Festival, and Platt attended the very first festival.
|Film||Year||Producer||Production Designer||Costume Designer||Writer||Actress||Miscellaneous Crew||Art Director||Stunts||Thanks||Self||Archive Footage|
|The Other Side of the Wind (Posthumous)||2018||art director|
|The Grand Budapest Hotel||2014||special thanks: our old friends|
|The 84th Annual Academy Awards (TV Special)||2012||Archival Footage|
|Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (Documentary)||2011||executive producer||Self|
|The Girl in the Picture (TV Series)||2011||executive producer|
|The Making of Bottle Rocket (Documentary Short)||2008||special thanks||Self|
|A West Texas Children's Story||2007||executive producer|
|Muertas (Short)||2007|||executive producer|
|Asking for the Moon (Video Documentary Short)||2003||self: interviewed||self|
|The Next Picture Show (Video Short)||2003||self: interviewed||self|
|Women on Top: Hollywood and Power (TV Movie Documentary)||2003||self: interviewed||self|
|A Decade Under the Influence (Documentary)||2003||self: interviewed||self|
|Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (Documentary)||2003||self: interviewed||self|
|Headliners & Legends with Matt Lauer (TV Series documentary): Brook Shields||2001||self: interviewed||self|
|E! True Hollywood Story: The O'Neals (TV Series documentary)||2001||self: interviewed||self: interviewed|
|Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood (TV Movie documentary)||2000||self|
|A Map of the World||1999||writer: screenplay|
|Dogtown||1997||the production wishes to thank|
|Getting the Goods on 'As Good As It Gets' (TV Movie documentary)||1997||self|
|The Evening Star||1996||producer|
|Ben Johnson: Third Cowboy on the Right (Documentary)||1996||self|
|I'll Do Anything||1994||producer|
|Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (Documentary)||1991||self|
|Let's Get Mom (TV Movie)||1989||producer|
|The War of the Roses||1989||executive producer|
|Say Anything...||1989||producer||Mrs Flood|
|Broadcast News||1987||executive producer|
|The Witches of Eastwick||1987||production designer|
|Between Two Women (TV Movie)||1986||co-producer||production designer|
|Terms of Endearment||1983||production designer|
|The Man with Two Brains||1983||production designer|
|Young Doctors in Love||1982||production designer|
|Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff||1979||writer: screenplay|
|Lieberman in Love (short)||1979||writer: teleplay|
|Pretty Baby||1978||associate producer||writer: screenplay/story|
|A Star Is Born||1976||production designer|
|The Bad News Bears||1976||production designer|
|Thieves Like Us||1974||costume designer (uncredited)|
|Paper Moon||1973||production designer||costume designer (uncredited)|
|The Thief Who Came to Dinner||1973||production designer||costume designer (uncredited)|
|What's Up, Doc?||1972||production designer||costume designer (uncredited)|
|The Last Picture Show||1972||design||costume designer (uncredited)|
|Target: Harry||1969||costume designer (uncredited)|
|Targets||1968||production designer||costume designer (uncredited)||writer: story|
|Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women||1968||production coordinator|
|The Wild Angels||1966||costume designer (uncredited)||stunt double: Nancy Sinatra (uncredited)|
Platt was married to Philip Klein until his death in a car accident in the 1960s, eight months after they married. Platt was married to director Peter Bogdanovich from 1962 to 1971. They divorced after Bogdanovich left her during the filming of The Last Picture Show for its lead actress Cybill Shepherd. Platt and Bogdanovich had two children: Antonia and Sashy. Platt later married prop maker Tony Wade; they remained married until his death in 1985; she was stepmother to his two children, Kelly and Jon.
The 1984 film Irreconcilable Differences, starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore, was reportedly loosely based on her marriage to Bogdanovich, and their divorce, and Platt herself confirmed the film "got more right than wrong."
Platt participated in a 2000 Texasville reunion of some of the cast and crew of The Last Picture Show. She and Cybill Shepherd had made peace and were on friendly terms. Platt and her children were reconciled with Bogdanovich at the time of her passing.
Platt died aged 72 on July 27, 2011 in Manhattan from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She was survived by her brother John "Jack" Platt, her two daughters Antonia Bogdanovich and Sashy Bogdanovich, her son-in-law Pax Wassermann, and three grandchildren.
Platt was the first female film art director accepted into the Art Director's Guild, membership she needed to receive credit on studio films.  In May 2020, film journalist and podcast producer/writer/host Karina Longworth began the sixth season of the podcast You Must Remember This, with a focus on the significance of Polly Platt's work within the larger context of late 20th-century U.S. film history. The season, "Polly Platt, The Invisible Woman," includes interviews with family, friends, and colleagues (as well as readings from Platt's unpublished memoir) documenting her (often uncredited) contributions to commercially and critically successful films of the late 1960s and into the early 2000s. Longworth argues that Platt played a pivotal role in the location, casting, and overall visual aesthetic of major films, including but not limited to Paper Moon, What's Up, Doc? and The Last Picture Show. Actress Maggie Siff voices Platt in the podcast.
- Keegan, Rebecca (July 28, 2011). "Polly Platt dies at 72; Oscar-nominated art director". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
- Fox, Margalit (July 29, 2011). "Polly Platt, Producer and Production Designer, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- Interviewed in the documentary film Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2002)
- Marks, Scott (July 29, 2011). "Dig A Hole: Polly Platt, Production Designer, Producer, and Screenwriter". San Diego Reader. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- The Los Angeles Way of Death
- The Los Angeles Way of Death
- "The Los Angeles Way of Death". Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Daly, Steve (November 12, 2004). "What, Him Worry?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
- Ortved, John (2009). Simpsons Confidential: The uncensored, totally unauthorised history of the world's greatest TV show by the people that made it (UK ed.). Ebury Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0-09-192729-5.
- "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women in Film. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- Rice, Laura (October 28, 2014). ""Antonia Bogdanovich Opens Up About Her Famous Family and Her First Feature Film"". Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- "Polly Platt". IMDB. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Emerson, Jim (November 13, 1992). "Hot Pick – Life of Peter Bogdanovich told in satire". The Orange County Register. p. P41.
- Reuters reference to Irreconcilable Differences
- "Behind the scenes of 'The Last Picture Show'". EW.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Longworth, Karina (June 15, 2020). "Orson Welles, What's Up Doc, Paper Moon (Polly Platt, The Invisible Woman, Episode 4)". You Must Remember This. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Longworth, Karina. "Polly Platt, The Invisible Woman". You Must Remember This. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- This list is taken from the season source list at the podcast You Must Remember This, which includes more material, including interviews, archival sources, and excerpts from Platt's unpublished memoir, It Was Worth It.
- Yule, Andrew. Picture Shows: The Life and Films of Peter Bogdanovich. Limelight, 2004
- Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Simon & Schuster, 1999
- Shepherd, Cybill, and Aimee Lee Ball. Cybill Disobedience. River Siren Productions, Inc., 2009
- McMurtry, Larry. Hollywood: A Third Memoir. Simon & Schuster, 2010
- O'Neal, Tatum. A Paper Life. William Marrow Paperbacks (reprint edition), 2005
- Abramowitz, Rachel. Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?: Women's Experience of Power in Hollywood.Random House, 2000.
- Harris, Mark. Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. Penguin Books (reprint edition), 2009.
- Burstyn, Ellen.Lessons in Becoming Myself. Riverhead Books (2007)
- Galloway, Stephen. Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.Crown Archetype, 2017
- Jaglom, Henry. My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles. Picador, 2014
- Ortved, John. The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009
- Zierold, Norman J. The Moguls. Coward-McCann, 1969
- Fink, Moritz. The Simpsons: A Cultural History (Series: The Cultural History of Television). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2019
- “Remembering Polly Platt” The Hollywood Reporter, August 12, 2011
- “Polly Platt, Film Producer and Designer, Dies at 72” Margalit Fox, New York Times, 7-31-2011
- “Films Will be Dimmer Without Her” by Patrick Goldstein, LA Times, 7-30-11
- Obituaries: Polly Platt. by Ryan Gilbey. The Guardian, 8-8-11
- “Flashback for ‘60s filmmakers” by Lynette Rice, THR, 3-8-99
- “Carsey-Werner signs up Platt” by Donna Parker, THR, 2-13-1995
- “Platt pens McMurtry Pic, Hopes to Helm” — Variety, 2-26-96
- “Polly’s progress” by Jean Cox, Women’s Wear Daily, 12-20-76
- “Now Polly Platt Has a Script of Her Own” by John M. Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 1-15-78
- “Moving ‘Targets’” Variety, April 21, 2004
- “Critic-Into-Film-maker int the French Style” by Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, June 4, 1967
- “Target’ For Exploitation: Refreshing, Promising 1st” by John Mahoney, The Hollywood Reporter May 6, 1968
- “Par Buys ‘Targets’, Bogdanovich Indie” July 26, 1968, Hollywood Reporter
- “Par Gropes on Sniper Pic” By Lee Beaupre, Variety, August 7, 1968
- “One Does Not Want This Sniper To Miss” by Renata Adler, New York Times August 25, 1968
- “Bogdanovich Debuts as a Director with Targets” by Kevin Thomas, LA Times, September 6, 1968
- “Will ‘Anything’ Go Over?” by Jeffrey Wells, 8-8-93
- “Pretty Baby” by Joan Goodman, NYM, September 26, 1977
- Adler’s ‘Roses’ Set For Fox Film; Author Now To Adapt ‘Random,’ September 11, 1985, Variety
- “On Its Own Terms” by Joe Leydon, April 7, 1996, LA Times
- “When Hollywood Was Really a Man's World” July 19, 1998, LA Times
- “Women Directors in Hollywood” by Jan Haag
- “Breaking Away from Reverence and Rape: The AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Feminism, and the Politics of the Accidental Archive”
- “The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists” Philis M. Barragán Goetz
- Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 2015), Published by University of Minnesota Press “How to Succeed: Fail, Lose, Die - Women in Hollywood” by Maureen Orth
- “She’s Done Everything Except Direct” by Rachel Abramovitz, Premiere, November 1993
- Polly Platt on IMDb
- Hyland, Veronique. "Polly Platt Was Hollywood’s 'Invisible Woman.': Karina Longworth Wants You to Know Her Name." Elle (26 May 2020).
- THR Staff. "Remembering Polly Platt." The Hollywood Reporter (2 August 2011)
- Hudson, David. "Credit Where Credit's Due: Polly Platt." The Daily: on Film. The Criterion Collection (26 May 2020)
- Longsworth, Karina (May 25, 2020). "Polly Platt Season Sources". You Must Remember This. Retrieved June 18, 2020.