Money, Murder, and Dominick Dunne: A Life in Several Acts

“A spirited biography…Hofler proves to be an apt and entertaining chronicler of Dunne’s eventful, turbulent, and often sorrowful life.” —Kirkus Reviews

“During the O. J. Simpson trial, everyone wanted a piece of Dunne and his inside scoop, and Hofler (Sexplosion, 2014) succeeds in giving us that piece and the gossip that inevitably comes with it. In each chapter, Hofler highlights major highs and lows while capturing the dichotomy of Dunne’s public persona and private life.” —Booklist

“Theater critic Hofler treats readers to a thoroughly researched tour of the life of famous writer Dominick Dunne (1925–2001)…Hofler gives readers a vivid sense of the struggles of life in the closet for a bisexual man of Dunne’s era…The book teems with interesting stories.”–Publishers Weekly

A revealing biography of the celebrity crime reporter, novelist, and notorious raconteur.

Dominick Dunne seemed to live his entire adult life in the public eye, but in this biography Robert Hofler reveals a conflicted, enigmatic man who reinvented himself again and again. As a television and film producer in the 1950s–1970s, hobnobbing with Humphrey Bogart and Natalie Wood, he found success and crushing failure in a pitiless Hollywood. As a Vanity Fair journalist covering the lives of the rich and powerful, he mesmerized readers with his detailed coverage of spectacular murder cases—O.J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Skakel, Phil Spector, and Claus von Bülow. He had his own television show, Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege, and Justice. His five best-selling novels, including The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, People Like Us, and An Inconvenient Woman, were inspired by real lives and scandals. The brother of John Gregory Dunne and brother-in-law of Joan Didion, he was a friend and confidante of many literary luminaries. Dunne also had the ear of some of the world’s most famous women, among them Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan, Liz Smith, Barbara Walters, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Dunne admitted to inventing himself, and it was that public persona he wrote about in his own memoir, The Way We Lived Then. Left out of that account, but brought to light here, were his intense rivalry with his brother John Gregory, the gay affairs and relationships he had throughout his marriage and beyond, and his fights with editors at Vanity Fair. Robert Hofler also reveals the painful rift in the family after the murder of Dominick’s daughter, Dominique—compounded by his coverage of her killer’s trial, which launched his career as a reporter.

—Available now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble.

“You’ve met the two Mrs. Grenvilles. Now meet the two Dominick Dunnes, or three, or four. Robert Hofler stunningly captures all of them.”—Stephen M. Silverman, author of David Lean

“Sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, it is filled to bursting with notorious crimes and glam parties, high society doyens and spats, Hollywood celebrities minor and major, and, beneath it all, the tragedies and mysteries that made this singular man tick.”—Patrick McGilligan, author of Young Orson 

“Dominick Dunne chronicled the rise of celebrity culture with an unsparing eye to detail and an emotional intensity that often said as much about him as it did those he wrote about. Robert Hofler has captured the wit, charm, pomposity, strength, and vulnerability that made Dunne such a complex and fascinating man.”—William J. Mann, author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn