Polly Platt

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Polly Platt
Mary Marr Platt

(1939-01-29)January 29, 1939
DiedJuly 27, 2011(2011-07-27) (aged 72)
OccupationFilm producer, production designer, screenwriter
Years active1966–2011
Spouse(s)Philip Klein
(m. 195?; died 1959)
Peter Bogdanovich
(m. 1962; div. 1971)

Tony Wade
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.

Early life[edit]

Platt was born Mary Marr Platt in Fort Sheridan, Illinois on January 29, 1939, and later adopted the name Polly.[1][2] 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.[1] Platt later returned to the US and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now known as Carnegie Mellon University.[1][2]


Platt worked in summer stock theatre as a costume designer in New York and there met Peter Bogdanovich, whom she later married.[1][2] 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.[2] She was also production designer on his film The Last Picture Show (1971), recommending Cybill Shepherd for her first film role,[3] and despite the breakdown of their marriage, had the same role on What's Up Doc? (1972) and Paper Moon (1973).[1] Platt had suggested Bogdanovich make Larry McMurtry's novel The Last Picture Show into a film.[2] 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."[1] Platt was the first female member of the Art Directors Guild.[1] She was also production designer on A Star Is Born (1976).[2]

She wrote the screenplay for Pretty Baby (1978), for which she was also an associate producer,[2] as well as Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), and A Map of the World (1999).[4] 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.[1][2] 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).[1][2] 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"[5][6][7] 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.[1][2][8][9]

In 1994, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.[10] 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.[1] 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.[11]


(Source IMDB)[12]

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
Bean (short) 2008 thanks
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
Sugar Town 1999 Maggie
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
Bottle Rocket 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
Texasville 1990 special thanks
Let's Get Mom (TV Movie) 1989 producer
The War of the Roses 1989 executive producer
Say Anything... 1989 producer Mrs Flood
Big 1988 special thanks
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)

Personal life[edit]

Platt was married to Philip Klein until his death in a car accident in the 1960s, eight months after they married.[2] Platt was married to director Peter Bogdanovich from 1962 to 1971.[2] 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.[1][2]

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,[13] and Platt herself confirmed the film "got more right than wrong."[14]

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.[15]


Platt died aged 72 on July 27, 2011 in Manhattan from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[1] 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. [1][16] 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,"[17] 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.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Keegan, Rebecca (July 28, 2011). "Polly Platt dies at 72; Oscar-nominated art director". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Fox, Margalit (July 29, 2011). "Polly Platt, Producer and Production Designer, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  3. ^ Interviewed in the documentary film Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2002)
  4. ^ Marks, Scott (July 29, 2011). "Dig A Hole: Polly Platt, Production Designer, Producer, and Screenwriter". San Diego Reader. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  5. ^ The Los Angeles Way of Death
  6. ^ The Los Angeles Way of Death
  7. ^ "The Los Angeles Way of Death". Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  8. ^ Daly, Steve (November 12, 2004). "What, Him Worry?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women in Film. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Rice, Laura (October 28, 2014). ""Antonia Bogdanovich Opens Up About Her Famous Family and Her First Feature Film"". Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  12. ^ "Polly Platt". IMDB. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Emerson, Jim (November 13, 1992). "Hot Pick – Life of Peter Bogdanovich told in satire". The Orange County Register. p. P41.
  14. ^ Reuters reference to Irreconcilable Differences
  15. ^ "Behind the scenes of 'The Last Picture Show'". EW.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Longworth, Karina. "Polly Platt, The Invisible Woman". You Must Remember This. Retrieved June 18, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.[1]


  • 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

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Longsworth, Karina (May 25, 2020). "Polly Platt Season Sources". You Must Remember This. Retrieved June 18, 2020.