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Celebrity – Dominick Dunne

Year: 2008, 84 mins
Code: FAM-Celebrity

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Set against the contrasting backdrops of Manhattan and Los Angeles, as well as at Dunne's peaceful Connecticut retreat, this film examines the life of one of the world's greatest celebrities of print journalism. Hollywood outcast, best-selling author and chronicler of celebrity trials of the rich and famous, Dominick Dunne is one of the world's leading journalists and society commentators. For the first time, Dominick tells his own story revealing his journey from unlikely war hero, Hollywood producer and outcast, to special correspondent and defining ‘voice’ of Vanity Fair magazine. Featuring Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, Tina Brown, Joan Didion as well as legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans (The Godfather, Chinatown), the film presents a unique insight into the American pysche and it’s obsession with fame.

The film examines Dunne's life from childhood, and his early days of being "an outsider on the inside": a theme that has informed his whole life. From his World War II service that made Dunne return an unlikely hero - awarded the Bronze Star for bravery - to his rise and ultimate fall in Hollywood and then total reincarnation as a writer in his fifties, this film explores the nature of reinvention, belief in oneself, and the all-pervasive cult of celebrity.

After 81 years of constant change in his life, veteran journalist Dominick Dunne is set to change everything yet again.Covering one-time star music producer Phil Spector's murder trial in Los Angeles, Dunne has returned to the scene of several famous crimes that he's covered over the years as Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The list includes the notorious trial of OJ Simpson, which divided a nation and cemented Dunne's reputation as America's default commentator on celebrity crimes - "the Trollope of our time," as sister-in-law, novelist and journalist Joan Didion describes him.

Dominick Dunne has gained fame through his vociferous campaigning on behalf of the victim - something close to his heart, as his own daughter died at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, John Sweeney, in 1982. Sweeney's skilful defence attorney ensured he spent just two years in prison for this violent crime. Phil Spector's case - as Dunne sees it - is yet another example of a theatrical defence team prepared to stop at nothing to secure their client's acquittal.

Dunne's advocacy on behalf of victims has claimed one high profile scalp. His novel, A Season in Purgatory, led to the re-opening of the investigation which saw Robert F Kennedy Jr.'s cousin, Michael Skakel, convicted of the murder of Connecticut teenager Martha Moxley 20 years after the event. Kennedy claims this wasn't a case of justice ultimately prevailing, but rather a false apprehension and a telling example of how Dunne rides roughshod over famous dead bodies in his quest for personal celebrity.

Dominick Dunne has no plans of retiring. He'll write his memoir "while I still remember it all," and has every intention of dying "running for a plane on the trail of a hot story."


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