Through a process of folding and unfolding, Myfanwy Macleod’s Dorothy series represents what Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has stated constitutes the “ideal” centerfold—one in which “a situation is suggested: the presence of someone not in the picture.”
Dorothy Stratten (1960 -1980) was “discovered” by her future husband and manager Paul Snider while working at a Dairy Queen on East Hastings Street, Vancouver. After Snider sent photos of her to Playboy, Stratten was invited to Los Angeles, where she became Playmate of the Month for August 1979, and Playmate of the Year in 1980. She subsequently became involved with filmmaker Peter Bogdonavich, and after ending her marriage, was murdered by Snider, who then committed suicide.
Her grisly death inspired Bob Fosse’s film Star 80 (1983) as well as the TV movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981). Stratten was also the subject of a book by Bogdonavich written four years after her death, titled The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980. In it, Bogdanovich traces the roots of the male fantasy of the innocent girl-next-door turned screen goddess and sex symbol, a fantasy repeatedly re-staged by both Hollywood and Playboy. “The book is disturbing because he talks about her in this way that is just complete fantasy about what an angel she was,” says MacLeod. “How she protected him from everything. So egomaniacal. She was 20.”
MacLeod’s Dorothy series projects the sadness of a starlet story, Dorothy was plucked from ordinary life and thrusted into the ‘high life’ as a playboy bunny. Dorothy was given a power, a power that was found in being identified as a beauty, however as Macleod’s work explores this power was only used and sadly struggled, between men. The very men that created it.