Polly Platt

Mary Marr "Polly" Platt (January 29, 1939 – July 27, 2011) was an American film producer, production designer and screenwriter.

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. 19??; died 196?)
Peter Bogdanovich
(m. 1962; div. 1971)

Tony Wade
m. 19??; died 1985)

Early life

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 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]

Personal life

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

Platt and her children were reconciled with Bogdanovich at the time of her passing. She participated in a 2000 Texasville reunion of some of the cast and crew of The Last Picture Show, and she and Cybill Shepherd had made peace and were on friendly terms.[14]


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.


  1. Keegan, Rebecca (July 28, 2011). "Polly Platt dies at 72; Oscar-nominated art director". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  2. 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. Emerson, Jim (November 13, 1992). "Hot Pick – Life of Peter Bogdanovich told in satire". The Orange County Register. p. P41.
  13. Reuters reference to Irreconcilable Differences
  14. "Behind the scenes of 'The Last Picture Show'". EW.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
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