American writerinvestigative journalist whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways high society interacts with the judicial system. He was a producer in Hollywoodwas also known for his frequent appearances on television. He was the brother of author John Gregory Dunne; the writer Joan Didion was h
Dunne, the second of six children, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Dorothy Frances (née Burns)Rid Edwin Dunne, a hospital chief of staffprominent heart surgeon.His Irish Catholic family was wealthy (his maternal grfather, Dominick F. Burns, founded the Park Street Trust Company); but, from his earliest days, Dunne recalled feeling like an outsider in the predominantly WASPish West Hartford.
After Dunnes studies at the Kingswood SchoolCanterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut, Nicky Dunne – as he was known during his boyhood – attended Williams Collegethen served in World War II, including the battle of Metz. Afterward, he moved to New York, then to Hollywood, where he directed Playhouse 90became vice-president of Four Star Television. He hobnobbed with the richthe famous of those days. In 1979, beset with addictions, Dunne left Hollywoodmoved to rural Oregon, where he says he overcame his personal demonswrote 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)wrote the article "Justice: A Fathers Ac of the Trial of his Daughters Killer" for Vanity Fair.
Dunne went on to write for Vanity Fair regularlyfictionalized several real-life events, such as the murders of Alfred Bloomingdales mistress Vicki Morganbanking heir William Woodward, Jr., in several best-selling books. He eventually hosted the TV series Dominick Dunnes Power, Privilege,Justice on CourtTV (later truTV), in which he discussed justiceinjusticetheir intersection with celebrities. Famous trials he covered included those of O.J. Simpson, Claus von Bulow, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith,the Menendez brothers.
In 2005, Gary Condit won an undisclosed amount of moneyan apology from Dunne, who had earlier implicated him in the disappearance of Chra Levy, an intern from his U.S. House of Representative 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 eventually tossed out of court.
While 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. Ill be in the next issuethe issue after that. We went through, you know, a difficult period. That happens in long relationships , you know, you either work your way through them or you get a divorce. And I didnt want a divorceweve worked our way throughGraydonI are closehes a great editorIm thrilled to be there."
Dunne frequently socialized with, wrote about,was photographed with celebrities. A Salon.com review of his memoir, The Way We Lived Then, reed how Dunne appeared at a wedding reception for Dennis Hopper. Sean Elder, the author of the review, wrote: "But in the st of it all there was one man who was getting what ceramic artist Ron Nagle would call the full cheese, one guy everyone gravitated towardpaid obeisance to." That individual was Dunne, who mixed easily with artists, actorswriters present at the function. The final line of the review about Dunne quoted Dennis Hopper wishing he "had a picture of myself with Allen GinsbergNorman Mailer."
In 2008, at age 82, Dunne traveled from New York to Las Vegas to cover O.J. Simpsons trial on ges of kidnappingarmed robbery for Vanity Fair magazine, claiming it would be his last. During the trial, an unidentified woman approachedkissed him, causing her to be ejected from the courtroom. Later, when he collapsed from the sudden onset of severe painhad to be rushed to the hospital, he expressed amazement at how fast the word spread at his fan site, DominicksDiary.com.
Dunnes adventures in Hollywood as an outcast, top-selling authorreporter, were catalogued in the release of Dominick Dunne: After the Party. This film documents his successestribulations as a big name in the entertainment industry. In the film, Dunne reflects on his past as a World War II veteran, falling in loveraising a family, his climbfall as a Hollywood producer,his epic comeback as a writer.
In September 2008, Dunne disclosed his treatment for bladder cancer.He was working on Too Much Money, his final book, at the time of his death.On September 22, 2008, Dunne complained of intense paintaken by ambulance to Valley Hospital.Dunne died on August 26, 2009 at his home in Manhattan from bladder cancer.However news coverage of his death was minimal, as Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy had died the day before.