Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dominick John Dunne know more about it

Dominick John Dunne (October 29, 1925 - August 26, 2009)[1] was an American writer and investigative journalist whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways high society interacts with the judicial system. He was a producer in Hollywood and was also known from his frequent appearances on television. He was the brother of author John Gregory Dunne and the writer Joan Didion was his sister-in-law. He was the father of Alexander Dunne and actors Griffin Dunne and his murdered daughter Dominique Dunne.

In September 2008, Dunne disclosed that he was undergoing treatment for bladder cancer. He was working on Too Much Money, his final book, at the time of his death.

Life and career

Dunne, the second of six children, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Dorothy Frances (née Burns) and Richard Edwin Dunne, a hospital chief of staff and prominent heart surgeon.[4][5] His Irish Catholic family was wealthy (his maternal grandfather founded the Park Street Trust), but from his earliest days Dunne recalled feeling the outsider in largely New England WASP West Hartford.

After Dunne's studies at the tony Canterbury School in New Milford, CT 'Nicky' Dunne -- as he was known during his boyhood -- attended Williams College and then served in World War II, including the battle of Metz. Afterward he moved to New York, then to Hollywood, where he directed Playhouse 90 and became vice-president of Four Star Television. He hobnobbed with the rich and the famous of those days. In 1979, beset with problems of addiction, Dunne left Hollywood and moved to rural Oregon, where he says he dealt with his personal demons and wrote his first book, The Winners.

In November 1982, his daughter, Dominique Dunne, best known for her part in the film Poltergeist, was murdered. Dunne attended the trial of her murderer (John Thomas Sweeney) and subsequently wrote the article "Justice: A Father's Account of the Trial of his Daughter's Killer" for Vanity Fair.

Dunne went on to write for Vanity Fair regularly and fictionalized several real-life events, such as the murders of Alfred Bloomingdale's mistress Vicki Morgan and banking heir William Woodward, Jr., for best-selling books. He eventually hosted the TV series Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice on CourtTV (later truTV), in which he discussed justice and injustice and their intersection with celebrities. Famous trials he covered include those of O.J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith, and the Menendez brothers.

In 2005, Gary Condit won an undisclosed amount of money and an apology from Dunne, who had earlier implicated him in the disappearance of Chandra Levy, an intern from his district with whom he had been carrying on an affair. In November 2006, he was sued again by Condit for comments made about the former politician on Larry King Live on CNN but the suit was tossed out of court.

While it was rumored in early 2006 that he intended to cease writing for Vanity Fair, Dunne stated the opposite in a February 4, 2006 interview with talk show host Larry King. "Oh, I am at Vanity Fair. I'll be in the next issue and the issue after that. We went through, you know, a difficult period. That happens in long relationships and, you know, you either work your way through them or you get a divorce. And I didn't want a divorce and we've worked our way through and Graydon and I are close and he's a great editor and I'm thrilled to be there.

In 2008, at age 82, Dunne traveled from New York to Las Vegas to cover O.J. Simpson's trial on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery for Vanity Fair magazine, claiming it would be his last. During the trial, an unidentified woman approached and kissed him, causing her to be ejected from the courtroom. On September 22, 2008, Dunne complained of intense pain and was taken by ambulance to Valley Hospital.Dunne died on August 26, 2009 at his home in Manhattan from bladder cancer.

Celebrity journalism and photographs

Dunne has frequently socialized with, written about, and been photographed with celebrities. A review of his memoir, The Way We Lived Then, recounted how Dunne appeared at a wedding reception for Dennis Hopper. Sean Elder, the author of the review, wrote: "But in the midst of it all there was one man who was getting what ceramic artist Ron Nagle would call 'the full cheese,' one guy everyone gravitated toward and paid obeisance to." That individual was Dunne, who mixed easily with artists, actors and writers present at the function. The final line of the review about Dunne quoted Dennis Hopper wishing he "had a picture of myself with Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer.