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Why Paul Snider And Dorothy Stratten's Relationship Ended In Murder

Dorothy Stratten, who is depicted in "Welcome to Chippendales," was a beloved Playboy Playmate and a budding actor when she was killed.

By Gina Tron
Exes and Lovers Killed By Jealousy

While Hulu’s upcoming true crime dramatized series “Welcome to Chippendales” tells the story of Chippendales founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee, it also touches on another tragic story: the murder of Dorothy Stratten.

“Welcome to Chippendales,” which hits the streaming platform on Nov. 22 and stars Kumail Nanjiani,  primarily depicts the rise and fall of Banerjee, who hired a person to kill his show choreographer Nick DeNoia in 1987.

Banerjee pleaded guilty to racketeering and to DeNoia's murder-for hire in 1994, and died by suicide in his jail cell later that year at the age of 47. But he also had a grim connection to the murder of Stratten, a beloved Canadian Playboy model and actor played by actress Nicola Peltz in "Welcome to Chippendales."

Banerjee had previously worked with Stratten and her then-husband Paul Snider, a Canadian nightclub promoter, pimp and hustler, portrayed in "Welcomes to Chippendales" by "Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens. In fact, it was Stratten who was credited for coming up with the idea for the male strippers to wear the iconic Chippendales collar and cuffs.

RELATED: Hulu's 'Welcome to Chippendales' Trailer Drops New Details About Kumail Nanjiani's Male Stripper King

Snider had discovered Stratten while she was a teen serving ice cream at a Dairy Queen in Vancouver in 1978, according to ABC News. He groomed the young teen and persuaded her to pose nude before the pair took off to Hollywood to try to make it big.

The town became smitten with Stratten, known for her feathered hair and "girl next door" look. She swiftly became a Playboy Playmate of the Year and soon after, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner predicted that she would excel as an actor, the Village Voice reported in 1980. She had roles in television series such as "Fantasy Island" and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," and starred in films like "Galaxina" and "They All Laughed."

Playboy Magazine's 1980 Playmate of the Year, Dorothy Stratten and Paul Sneider

Even as she rose to stardom, she stayed close to Snider, whom she married in June 1979. 

"She was on the phone with him daily when we shot her," former Playboy photo editor Marilyn Grabowski, told ABC News. "She would call and tell him how great it was going. … She thought that whatever success she was having — and it was embryonic at that point — was totally due to Paul. She leaned on him.”

Friends said that Snider had become increasingly jealous and distraught over Stratten’s fame, especially when she had an affair with director Peter Bogdanovich while filming “They All Laughed,” which was released in 1981, according to ABC News.

His anger only increased when Stratten asked Snider for a divorce, having fallen in love with Bogdanovich. 

Stratten’s modeling and acting career were cut short on Aug. 14, 1980, as the new Hulu series depicts, after Snider killed her. According to ABC News, the estranged couple was found in Stratten's Los Angeles home, where Snider had raped the then-20-year-old before shooting her in the face with a shotgun. Snider then died by suicide.

Friends mourned Stratten's death, as well as the career that she would've had. 

"Had she been privileged to live out her life and her career she would've been a star," her former roommate and friend Stephen Cushner told ABC News. "She would've been a Julia Roberts. She would've been a Reese Witherspoon."

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