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Polly Platt

Polly Platt
Born Mary Marr Platt
(1939-01-29)January 29, 1939
Fort Sheridan, Illinois, U.S.
Died July 27, 2011(2011-07-27) (aged 72)
New York City
Occupation Film producer, production designer, screenwriter
Years active 1966–2011
Spouse(s) Philip Klein (19??-early 1960s; his death)
Peter Bogdanovich (1962–1971; divorced); 2 children
Tony Wade (19??–1985; his death)

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


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Death 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Platt was born Mary Marr Platt in Fort Sheridan, Illinois on January 29, 1939, later adopting the name Polly.[1][2] Her father, John, was a colonel in the army, while her mother, Vivian, worked in advertising; she has a brother, John. She moved to Germany at age 6 when her father presided over the Dachau Trials.[1] Platt later returned to the US and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology.[1][2]


Platt worked in summer stock theatre as a costume designer in New York and there met Peter Bogdanovich, whom she would later marry.[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 Sheppard 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 screenplays for Pretty Baby (1978), on 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]

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]

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


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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Keegan, Rebecca (July 28, 2011). "Polly Platt dies at 72; Oscar-nominated art director".  
  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".  
  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".  
  5. ^ The Los Angeles Way of Death
  6. ^ The Los Angeles Way of Death
  7. ^ The Los Angeles Way of Death
  8. ^ Daly, Steve (November 12, 2004). "What, Him Worry?".  
  9. ^ Ortved, John (2009).  
  10. ^ "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women in Film. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ Emerson, Jim (November 13, 1992). "Hot Pick – Life of Peter Bogdanovich told in satire".  
  12. ^ Irreconcilable DifferencesReuters reference to

External links

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