When Dominick Dunne fled Los Angeles in 1979 for the solace of a small cabin in Oregon, he left his home, a broken marriage, a wrecked career as a Hollywood producer, as well as drug and alcohol addictions. He calls it his "fall from grace" and says that he thought he had "lost everything."
But Dunne’s most devastating loss was still to come -- the 1982 murder of his only daughter by her ex-boyfriend, who stalked and strangled her. Watching the trial of his daughter’s killer fueled his anger at the justice system. It transformed the former stage manager with literary aspirations into a successful chronicler of the dark sides of the rich and powerful.
"What I witnessed in that courtroom enraged me and redirected me," Dunne says.
Dunne was outraged when his daughter’s murderer received a prison sentence that would free him in less than three years.
"I believe with all my heart that she has guided me to the paths of justice," Dunne wrote of his daughter in his most recent book, Justice: Crimes, Trials and Punishments. "You just don’t stay the same after something like that happens."
His article about the trial for Vanity Fair led to an exclusive contract with the magazine. His start, he says, was the result of a chance dinner party encounter with Tina Brown, who was about to become the magazine’s editor, and who convinced him to keep a first-person journal about the trial.