A caveat here: I had the occasion to write to Dominick Dunne, and I will never forget how kind he was to me, a total stranger. He was the real deal.
This is an excellent documentary that gives us a great feel for Dunne's entire life, career and the kind of person he was. It shows him talking with people and working, still going strong, and talking bluntly with the interviewer.
This documentary begins with Dunne giving some sort of speech and talking about how a maitre d' was forced by Frank Sinatra to punch him. The way he told it, the audience laughed. But Dominick Dunne never forgot, and could never listen to one note of Frank Sinatra singing again.
Certainly he had a life that many people would have loved, but the way he describes his social lifestyle here, it ruined his marriage to Lenny, the love of his life, a beautiful woman who just couldn't handle the crazy whirl. For Dunne, meeting celebrities, dining with them, going to their parties, writing about them, was heady stuff.
His personal life was filled with tragedy. His father beat him so that he had welts on his body; he never felt as if he belonged anywhere; he and Lenny had five children, two of whom died as infants. His daughter, his "treasure," Dominique Dunne, was strangled by an ex-boyfriend. The Judge gave him 2-1/2 years and then thanked the jury on behalf of the families. Dunne stood in court. "Don't thank them on behalf of my family," he yelled. Security dragged him out of court. "You kept this jury from hearing important evidence," he yelled as he was removed. "I ruined him," Dunne told the interviewer. "He went from Supreme Court to juvenile court to traffic court to no court. I ruined him. And I'm so happy." He finally found his milieu in celebrity crime -- a growth industry, starting with the high-profile Menendez case and enjoying a great career at Vanity Fair. At the time of the interview, he was covering the Phil Spector trial.
Despite being 82 and looking every minute of it, Dunne was a vital man who worked until he died, a year after this documentary. He had been a television producer, writer, an alcoholic who spent six months in a cabin by himself, and befriended, mingled with, entertained, and wrote about some of the most famous people in the 20th and the first part of the 21st century. And for all that, he was remarkably human.
Good documentary, interesting, and entertaining.
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