Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dominick Dunne Dead At 83

Dominick Dunne, the author and journalist who covered the trials of celebrity defendants like Claus von Bülow, O. J. Simpson and William Kennedy Smith, and wrote frequently on the intersection of high crimes and high society, has died. He was 83.

Dunne's son, Griffin Dunne, said in a statement released by Vanity Fair magazine that his father had been battling bladder cancer. But the cancer had not prevented Dunne from working and socializing, his twin passions.

Dunne was part of a famous family that also included his brother, novelist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne; his brother's wife, author Joan Didion; and his son Griffin.

Dunne was born in 1925 in Hartford, Conn., to a wealthy Roman Catholic family and grew up in some of the same social circles as the Kennedys. The memoir traced his fascination with Hollywood to a childhood trip he took "out West" with an aunt. They took one of those homes of the stars bus tours and he vowed to come back and be part of the glamorous world he had glimpsed.

Dunne and his wife, Ellen Griffin Dunne, known as Lenny, were married in 1954. They divorced in the 1960s but he wrote that afterward they remained close nonetheless. She died in 1997.

His books include the best-selling novels “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles,” “An Inconvenient Woman” and “A Season in Purgatory,” as well as the essay collection “Fatal Charms” and the memoir “The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper.” Vanity Fair said that his last book, “Too Much Money: A Novel,” is scheduled for publication in December.

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