A popular true crime series is set to unravel the chilling case of a Playboy model who was brutally raped and murdered by her own husband amid fears he would lose his meal ticket.
Dorothy Stratten, from Canada, had been working part-time at Dairy Queen when she was discovered by club promoter and rumored pimp Dan Snider.
Snider, 26, took the blonde bombshell to Hollywood and the pair eventually married – but as she started rising through the industry ranks jealousy set in.
The couple became estranged and when 20-year-old Dorothy became romantically involved with a movie director Snider assaulted and killed her before then turning the gun on himself.
Here, FEMAIL has laid bare the sordid details as an episode of The Playboy Murders gets set to explore the case.
Dorothy Stratten, from Canada, had been working part-time at Dairy Queen when she was discovered by club promoter and rumored pimp Dan Snider
Snider, 26, took the blonde bombshell to Hollywood and the pair eventually married – but as she started rising through the industry ranks jealousy set in
The case began in 1978 when Dorothy, then 18, was working part time at a Dairy Queen in her hometown of Vancouver to help her mother make ends meet.
Snider, who was described as a small-time hustler, walked into the ice cream parlor one day and immediately saw their meeting as chance to propel himself to stardom.
Author Teresa Carpenter told ABC’s 20/20 that Snider ‘made a pretty good living as a promoter for automobile shows and cycling shows,’ but added that it ‘wasn’t enough to accommodate his extravagant taste, so he began to procure girls and pimp them on the side.’
He thought he had struck gold after meeting the blonde beauty and began staking his claim soon after tying the knot in June 1979.
The schemer maneuvered himself to be the rising star’s manager and is said to have persuaded the reluctant teen to pose for a series of nude photoshoots in a bid to propel her career.
Dorothy herself previously told a local access Canadian TV show: ‘It took him a little while to talk me into agreeing to taking some test pictures.
‘I had never taken my clothes off for anyone I didn’t know… It took me about two weeks to agree.’
But Snider’s ambitions for his new wife quickly paid off as others soon saw Dorothy’s potential.
‘She was just breathtakingly beautiful. There was something very otherworldly about being with her,’ actress Colleen Camp, who worked alongside the rising star, previously said
Dorothy was photographed by Playboy – being named Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and and Playmate of the Year in 1980
Meanwhile, Dorothy had started meeting a whole host of celebrities through Playboy including film director Peter Bogdanovich, who cast her in his 1981 movie They All Laughed (pictured on set)
‘She was just breathtakingly beautiful. There was something very otherworldly about being with her…,’ actress Colleen Camp, who worked alongside the rising star, previously told ABC’s 20/20.
‘Time would stop and you just felt like you were in a frozen moment.’
And Dorothy’s career went from strength to strength.
She was photographed by Playboy – being named Playmate of the Month for August 1979 and and Playmate of the Year in 1980 – and then caught the attention of Hugh Hefner.
It was also around this time that she transitioned into acting too with a slew of credits including TV series Fantasy Island and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
But, as she continued to rise through the ranks, Snider began to feel left out and the couple’s relationship was increasingly strained.
Meanwhile, Dorothy had started meeting a whole host of celebrities through Playboy including film director Peter Bogdanovich, who cast her in his 1981 movie They All Laughed alongside Audrey Hepburn.
The pair struck up a blossoming relationship and Bogdanovich later told Fox News he ‘loved her dearly and deeply.’
Dorothy also caught the attention of Hugh Hefner (pictured together) as she continued to rise through the ranks
Dorothy and Bogdanovich (pictured together) struck up a blossoming relationship as he later recalled how he ‘loved her dearly and deeply’
Snider, who hired a private investigator to track Dorothy, continued in his attempts to win her back but she was adamant on getting a divorce to make their separation permanent.
Her insistence angered her estranged husband who purchased a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun as he felt her slipping away from his grasp.
And in August 1980 things took a deadly turn for the worst.
Those close to Dorothy are said to have expressed their concern at her going to see Snider alone.
But, nonetheless, she drove over to house the former couple had previously shared in Los Angeles to negotiate financial divorce settlements.
It was there that he brutally raped his estranged wife before shooting her in the face and taking his own life with the same gun.
Their naked bodies were both found later in Snider’s bedroom by his roommates.
Bogdanovich later opened up about the moment he was told about Dorothy’s death.
In his memoir, titled The Killing Of The Unicorn, he wrote: ‘I screamed. On the floor I curled into a ball.’
He also told told New York magazine in 2019: ‘You don’t get over a thing like that. I got a bad case of PTSD.’
Bogdanovich remained close to Dorothy’s family and later married her younger sister, Louise, in December 1988 when she was 20 – she had been 12 when the Playboy model was murdered.
He died of natural causes aged 82 in 2022.