Books

“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

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


Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange—How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos; 2014

The six years between 1968 and 1973 saw more sexual taboos challenged than ever before. Film, literature, and theater simultaneously broke through barriers previously unimagined, giving birth to what we still consider to be the height of sexual expression in our pop culture: Portnoy’s Complaint, Myra Breckinridge, Hair, The Boys in the Band, Midnight Cowboy, Last Tango in Paris, and Deep Throat.

In Sexplosion, Robert Hofler weaves a lively narrative linking many of the writers, producers, and actors responsible for creating these and other controversial works, placing them within their cultural and social frameworks. During the time the Stonewall Riots were shaking Greenwich Village and Roe v. Wade was making its way to the Supreme Court, a group of daring artists was challenging the status quo and defining the country’s concept of sexual liberation. Hofler follows the creation of and reaction to these groundbreaking works, tracing their connections and influences upon one another and the rest of entertainment.

Always colorful and often unexpected, Sexplosion is an illuminating account of a generation of sexual provocateurs and the power their works continue to hold decades later.

Purchase on Amazon.

Reviews:

“…a provocative romp through the culture wars and the transformation in America’s sexual politics…” –The Wall Street Journal

“Fun, fascinating examination of the moment when American and British culture seemed to lose all inhibitions…Sparkling history of an artistically spirited age.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Lively [and] unapologetically profane . . . Hofler covers pop-culture figures and their creations with an expert’s depth of knowledge . . . resulting in a delightful journey through a short-lived but influential period.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review 


Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Starring the Fabulous Allan Carr; 2010

Allan Carr was Hollywood’s premier party-thrower during the town’s most hedonistic era—the cocaine-addled, sexually indulgent 1970s. Hosting outrageous soirees with names like the Mick Jagger/Cycle Sluts Party and masterminding such lavishly themed opening nights as the Tommy/New York City subway premiere, it was Carr, an obese, caftan-wearing producer—the ultimate outsider—who first brought movie stars and rock stars, gays and straights, Old and New Hollywood together.

From the stunning success of Grease and La Cage aux Folles to the spectacular failure of the Village People’s Can’t Stop the Music, as a producer Carr’s was a rollercoaster of a career punctuated by major hits and phenomenal flops—none more disastrous than the Academy Awards show he produced featuring a tone-deaf Rob Lowe serenading Snow White, a fiasco that made Carr an outcast, and is still widely considered to be the worst Oscars ever.

Tracing Carr’s excess-laden rise and tragic fall—and sparing no one along the way—Party Animals provides a sizzling, candid, behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood’s most infamous period.

Purchase on Amazon.

Reviews:

“Deliciously dishy….an amazing ride through an era dripping with self-indulgence.” Los Angeles Times

“Hofler delivers a hell of a tour of Hollywood egotism…Fast-paced, funny and occasionally horrifying portrait of a compulsive personality and the culture of excess that both created and destroyed him.” –Kirkus Reviews


The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson; 2010/2005

Henry Willson started off as a talent scout under Gone with the Wind’s powerhouse mogul, David O. Selznick. The starmaker-to-be was on the lookout for promising newcomers when he received an unsolicited photograph from a movie star hopeful named Roy Fitzgerald. The photograph of the handsome young man with bad teeth not only had a career defining impact for Willson but, more importantly, it redefined Hollywood’s concept of the male heartthrob. Roy Fitzgerald became Rock Hudson and, for the next twenty-five years, Henry Willson became the man behind movie “beefcake.”

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson delves into Willson’s life in explicit, unsparing detail. Variety reporter Robert Hofler deftly chronicles Willson’s maneuvers to sidestep the FBI’s investigation into Hudson’s sex life; the agent’s use of off-duty L.A.P.D. cops and Mob ties to scare off Hudson’s blackmailers; Hudson’s “arranged” marriage to Willson’s secretary, Phyllis Gates; as well as Hudson’s affair with a Universal Pictures vice-president to help secure starring roles. Additionally, the book discusses Willson’s other star clients, including Robert Wagner, Troy Donahue, Tab Hunter, John Derek, James Darren, Chad Everett, Mike Connors, and many others.

Purchase on Amazon.

Reviews:

“Hofler is well-matched to this shark-tank of a life….He writes with a bright sneer.” – The Washington Post

“Knowledgable…It was a dangerous time, and one that Hofler evokes vividly.” –Los Angeles Times

“Hofler…delves into this shadowy, sometimes seamy world with particular relish, and his writing has all the sizzle of the films his subjects starred in.” Publishers Weekly


Variety’s “The Movie That Changed My Life”: 120 Celebrities Pick the Films that Made a Difference (for Better or Worse); 2009

From Sarah Jessica Parker to Ralph Nader, Bill Maher to Jerry Rice, Donald Trump to Jesse Jackson, Danielle Steel to Gore Vidal, this fascinating and entertaining collection reveals the films that have left their mark on the individuals shaping our world.

Purchase on Amazon.


Wild Style, 1985

A showcase of the wild, unique, punk and new wave styles that were sweeping across the country. A must for any fashion/design library.

Purchase on Amazon.