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08/08/2010

One year ago: Michael Viner

August 8, 2010 |  6:00 am

Michael-viner

Michael Viner, who died one year ago at age 65, had a reputation for publishing tabloid-like stories from notorious figures, earning him the scorn of many in the traditional publishing world.

Viner first made his mark in the audio publishing industry when he opened Dove Books-on-Tape in 1985 with his then-wife, actress Deborah Raffin. He quickly grew the company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise that rivaled the books-on-tape operations of major publishers such as Random House and Bantam Books.

He eventually expanded into hardcover publishing, releasing such titles as "You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again," which claimed to present the true sexual adventures of four women seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood, and Faye Resnick's "Nicole Brown Simpson: The Diary of a Life Interrupted."

Viner and his wife sold Dove in 1997 after some ill-timed expansion efforts, but then opened New Millennium. That company went bankrupt in 2003. Viner's next effort was Phoenix Books, which he opened in 2005, the same year he divorced Raffin.

His last big book was Rod Blagojevich's memoir, "The Governor," which was released a month after his death.

Before publishing, Viner was an aide to then-Sen. Robert F. Kennedy during the senator's fateful 1968 presidential bid. After Kennedy's death, he worked in a series of studio jobs at 20th Century Fox, Universal and MGM.

For more on the man who shook up the publishing world, read Michael Viner's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Michael Viner with a copy of "Burning Down My Masters' House," which was published by Viner's New Millennium Press. The book is the memoir of former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, whose plagiarism brought down two top editors at the paper.

Credit: Neil A. France / For The Times

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