Polly Platt

Polly Platt

Born Jan. 29, 1939 in Fort Sheridan, IL the daughter of Dutch and German immigrants, Platt broke into the entertainment industry alongside Bogdanovich after famed indie producer, Roger Corman, gave her husband the opportunity to work on several films. Platt gained valuable crew experience as costumer designer - and Nancy Sinatra's stunt double - on "The Wild Angels" (1966), and as a production coordinator on the Mamie Van Doren exploitation clip-job "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women" (1968). Platt's behind-the-camera talents proved crucial to Bogdanovich's rise, and it was with their combined powers that both ascended the Hollywood ranks. For their next Corman collaboration, Platt helped Bogdanovich write the screenplay for the assassin-themed "Targets" (1968), starring Boris Karloff, on which she also served costume designer and production designer. Having graduated from Corman's filmmaking boot camp, Platt and Bogdanovich went on to create a critical masterpiece, the aching American epic of lost innocence and a dying small town called "The Last Picture Show" (1971). Although Bogdanovich earned the lion's share of the credit, Platt's genius was a vital part of the film's success as the costume and production designer, ensuring that even the smallest period details were perfect.Although Bogdanovich's affair with Cybill Shepherd on "Picture Show" led to Platt filing for divorce, the two remained professional partners and generated what was regarded as the best of the director's career. They pooled their talents again for the smash Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal screwball "What's Up, Doc?" (1972), which critics and audiences agreed evoked the best of Howard Hawks's madcap comedies. Platt stepped out on her own to serve as production designer for the Ryan O'Neal and Jacqueline Bisset comedy "The Thief Who Came to Dinner" (1973), but reunited one last time to do the costumes and production design for Bogdanovich's masterpiece, the Depression-set classic "Paper Moon" (1973). Representing the zenith of their collaboration, the tale of a father (Ryan O'Neal) and daughter (Tatum O'Neal) con artist team became a much-loved classic and proved a high-water mark on which to part ways. Platt went on to achieve considerable success on her own, designing the production for the charming underdog baseball comedy "The Bad News Bears" (1976), starring Tatum O'Neal, and the lush remake of "A Star Is Born" (1976) with Streisand. Spreading her professional wings, Platt earned an associate producer credit and wrote the screenplay for Louis Malle's controversial "Pretty Baby" (1978), starring Brooke Shields and Susan Sarandon.She designed the production of the Garry Marshall hospital soap spoof "Young Doctors in Love" (1982) and the Steve Martin-Kathleen Turner sci-fi comedy "The Man with Two Brains" (1983), but it would be her partnership with James L. Brooks that would elevate her to a higher professional plane. As production designer on the Oscar-winning drama, "Terms of Endearment" (1983), Platt earned an Academy Award nomination for her work. The following year saw the release of hit comedy "Irreconcilable Differences" (1984), which was loosely based on Platt and Bogdanovich's marriage and divorce. After co-producing and designing the production of the Emmy-winning drama, "Between Two Women" (ABC, 1986), Platt earned her first executive producer credit for James L. Brooks's classic, far-sighted comedy "Broadcast News" (1987), starring Holly Hunter, William Hurt and Albert Brooks. She booked her final production designer job on the supernatural smash "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), which starred Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson. She took a small role in Cameron Crowe and John Cusack's love letter to teen romanticism, "Say Anything " (1989), as well as serving as producer, and flirted with the idea of directing Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito in "The War of the Roses" (1989) before choosing to executive produce the black comedy hit instead.Honored with a 1994 Women in Film Crystal Award, Platt served as producer on two additional James L. Brooks projects, the ill-fated Nick Nolte almost-musical "I'll Do Anything" (1994) and the "Terms of Endearment" sequel "The Evening Star" (1996), which reunited stars Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson, but both projects underwhelmed financially as well as critically. Platt lent a hand to help Wes Anderson, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson jumpstart their careers when she produced their low-key, high-charm breakthrough crime comedy, "Bottle Rocket" (1996). She wrote the screenplay for the drama "A Map of the World" (1999), with Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore, while Platt's last major credit came as the executive producer on the documentary "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" (2011), a loving look back at the ultimate sink-or-swim film school that had given so many their Hollywood starts. That year, on July 27, 2011, Polly Platt died after a lengthy battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in Brooklyn, NY. She was 72. Platt's contributions to film and her amazing career as a pioneer for women in the entertainment industry lived on, and continued to inspire new generations of filmmakers and audiences alike.