Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dominick Dunne RIP

Usually "journalists" become "writers." Dominick's course was the opposite. He'd written some decent bestselling mystery novels like The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.
But then his actress daughter (the teenager in the family in Poltergeist) died at the hands of her supposedly upstanding boyfriend, and that murder sent real life barreling into Dominick's chest. He became obsessed with the true crime genre; he covered some of the most gaudy, sensational investigations and trials in American legal history--without further sensationalizing them. Paradox? Nope. It's called skill. He became an uber-correspondant for Vanity Fair and Salon.com. My dream gigs. And he was the ultimate glam mole: showing us the ugly side of the celebrities we claim we don't worship.



I own a pair of glasses just like his. RIP Dominick. Hug your daughter, and ask Nicole Simpson if OJ really did it...



A word on Edward Kennedy. I wonder if his decades of public service, his statesmanship (to the point that even John McCain, Nancy Reagan, and George HW Bush refered to him as an "ally"), his balls--all was penance for Mary Jo Kopechne...or in spite of her?

8 comments:

JJ said...

Yeah but he f'd up with Chandra Levy and Gary Condit. Condit got some sort of settlement and apology out of Dunne after they showed Condit had nothing to do with her murder.

Lisa said...

His son Griffin was the zombie friend in American Werewolf in London, my favorite horror movie.

michael a. gonzales said...

Though he did write some good trial reports for Vanity Fair, I always preferred his brother's work.

Bill said...

Re Ted and Mary Jo - I'd guess "in spite of". He probably never saw the accident in the same way the public did.

Knute Rife said...

Lisa,

And don't forget that Griffin was in Martin Scorsese's best ever, After Hours.

Anonymous said...

SoCal 82Tiger Says -

Great praise Professor for the man responsible for one of my favorite guilty pleasures – I will sadly miss Dominick Dunn among the pages of future issues of Vanity Fair. Whether covering sensational true crime trials, or the foibles of the rich and famous, DD put his own unique stamp to his work for VF. Dominick’s work was to the point, and always with that slightly dishy touch. He was a true talent who succeed in each of his career undertakings.

His was a rare talent that could tell us a crime story that was both rich in detail and not lurid, or reveal the ups and downs in lives of the world’s beautiful people while not sounding sycophantic or judgmental.

It was a pleasure in today's world to read a writer who gave us a voyeur’s account of events and yet never saddled the story with an obvious personal agenda. Can you recall a piece by DD that hammered su with his personal politics??? I can't... That is unless you consider inflicting rapists and murderers with the maximum punishment permitted by law as “personal politics”… : )

BTW – DD had a hugely successful 1st career in the 1960 & 70’s as a Hollywood Producer - That is at least until his sudden (but be it temporary) fall from grace due to drugs and alcohol. A 2nd career as a writer certainly did not suffer for having a family tree that included a brother and a sister in law who were also hugely successful writers. AND by all accounts DD was also a good father, raising an accomplished actor/director son, and a promising actress daughter who’s tragic and violent murder lead Dominick to his 3rd and final career as a journalist and crime victim advocate.

RIP Dominick – Gone from VF for sure… BUT, I'll continue to enjoy your work as I watch repeats of your true crime shows still running on Cable TV!!!

Anonymous said...

Saw your blog quote in the Washington Post's Express page!

Anonymous said...

No need to ask Amadou Diallo,Tynisha Miller,Eleanor Bumpers,Micheal Stewart,Malic Green,Oscar Grant,et al who did it though right Chris?! Not like we should care about THAT anyway seeing how black folks lives aren't realllllly that 'important'. Apparently esepcially not to other black people.