Anointed as one of New Hollywood's golden boys with his neo-classical homages to John Ford and Howard Hawks, Peter Bogdanovich's personal and professional lives crashed and burned in the late '70s. Though he was redeemed somewhat with Mask (1985), his directorial career never fully recovered. By the late '90s, however, Bogdanovich returned to his original training as an actor and found success as a supporting player in films and on HBO's acclaimed series The Sopranos.
Raised in Manhattan, the precocious Bogdanovich began studying acting with Stella Adler at age 15 and spent his teens at the movies, developing a devotion to Hollywood. Though he acted in and directed several off-Broadway plays, Bogdanovich decided movies were his calling. While working as a film programmer in his early twenties, Bogdanovich began writing about cinema, publishing articles in Esquire and monographs on Orson Welles, Howard Hawks, and Alfred Hitchcock; he married aspiring production designer Polly Platt in 1962. Inspired by the French critics-turned-New Wave directors, Bogdanovich headed to Hollywood in 1964, where he and Platt met both their graying heroes and a generation of unruly newcomers.