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08/26/2010

One year ago: Dominick Dunne

August 26, 2010 |  6:00 am

Dominck-dunn Dominick Dunne seemed to have everyone whispering in his ear. The author and Vanity Fair writer, who died one year ago, made a career out of exposing the scandals of the Hollywood elite and zealously crusading against celebrity criminals.

Dunne was called the "Boswell of the bluebloods" and the "Jacqueline Susann of journalism," and he was described by the Cambridge History of Law in America as "one of the nation's premier popular chroniclers of notorious criminal trials and lawsuits involving celebrities."

Former Vanity Fair Editor Tina Brown said he was "the only person writing about high society from inside the aquarium."

Dunne fluidly mixed fact and rumor in his exposés, which were well-laden with anonymous sources. His technique earned him the disdain of many. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after the murder conviction of his cousin Michael Skakel, said Dunne -- who fought for the conviction -- was "not a journalist. He's a gossip columnist."

Dunne was a television and film producer for two decades until drugs and alcohol ruined him. He had started life over as a writer when his daughter, Dominique, was killed in 1982. The slaying energized his foray into crime and court coverage, which was epitomized by the vigilance with which he advocated for O.J. Simpson's conviction in the murder of Simpson's wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Although conviction in the criminal case never came to be, Dunne, while ill, covered Simpson's 2008 armed robbery trial in Las Vegas, which resulted in a pronouncement of guilt -- a verdict that had Dunne awaited for more than a decade.

For more, read Dominick Dunne's obituary by The Times' Elaine Woo.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Dominick Dunne. Credit: Associated Press

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