She was at the peak of her career, a rising star, and one of America's most beautiful women… So why did her estranged husband want Dorothy Stratten dead?


In 1979, Dorothy Stratten’s career was booming. A Playboy model, that August she was the magazine’s Playmate of the month.

Her husband Paul Snider believed he was the reason for his wife’s fame and success though. He’d met Dorothy when she was 17 and working in a local Dairy Queen in Vancouver. Drawn to her wholesome image, he’d thought he could make the all-American beauty a star. He’d hired a photographer to take nude photos of her, before sending them to Playboy.

PA Images

PA Photos

Dorothy’s career took off overnight. But as her fame rose, Snider desperately tried to keep up. Many believed he was bitterly jealous of his wife’s success and feared she was leaving him behind. Playboy owner Hugh Hefner reportedly told her to sever ties with her husband, calling him a ‘hustler’ and a ‘pimp’.

Dorothy’s star continued to rise when she was cast in a film starring Audrey Hepburn, called They All Laughed.

And whilst filming in New York, she fell for the director, Peter Bogdanovich. She and Snider eventually separated.

Then in August 1980 Dorothy, then 20, arranged to meet Snider at their old apartment to finalise details of their split. But he had other plans…

The apartment the bodies were found

The apartment where the bodies were found (PA Images)

The following day, Dorothy’s body was found at the apartment. She’d been killed by a shotgun blast to the face and been raped by Snider.

Snider’s dead body was found nearby, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Many believed he’d been bitter about Dorothy’s success, furious that the pretty blonde had moved on, without him.

Now Dorothy is remembered as a beauty and a rising star whereas Snider’s only fame is as a jealous, pathetic killer.