Dominick Dunne, 83, novelist, TV personality, and Vanity Fair writer, died Wednesday at his home in New York City. The cause was bladder cancer, a family spokesman said.
Before Dunne gained notoriety at Vanity Fair by covering high profile crime scandals, Dunne worked as a Hollywood film producer. He struggled with addictions to alcohol and drugs, and eventually sought refuge in Oregon, where he started to write, and published his first novel, The Winners, in 1982.
When his daughter was murdered that same year, Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown suggested Dunne keep a journal during the trial proceedings. In 1984, the magazine published his account, “Justice: A Father’s Account of the Trial of His Daughter’s Killer.” He later said, “What I saw in the courtroom filled me with the kind of rage that only writing about it could quell.”
Dunne was most at home at “the intersection of celebrity, society and scandal,” writes Elaine Woo of The Los Angeles Times. He achieved wide fame for his reporting on the O. J. Simpson murder trial in 1994 and 1995, where he enjoyed a judge-appointed front-row seat to the proceedings.
Most recently, Dunne was the host of “Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice,” which ran for the last decade on Court TV (now truTV). The network’s General Manager remembers Dunne as “a master storyteller who dug deeply into the legal details of notorious criminal cases, but always kept his eye on the human story behind the crimes.”