Hol­ly­wood jus­tice, how it’s Dunne

Herald Sun - Switched On - - News - ERICA THOMP­SON

WHEN Van­ity Fair crime writer Do­minick Dunne was sent to cover last year’s mur­der trial of mu­sic pro­ducer Phil Spec­tor, Aus­tralian film­maker Kirsty de Garis had a front-row seat to wit­ness celebrity jus­tice.

‘‘I’d never been in a court­room be­fore apart from, you know, in grade 3 when we went on a school ex­cur­sion,’’ says de Garis, who spent months film­ing Dunne for her de­but doc­u­men­tary Celebrity: Do­minick Dunne.

‘‘It was like be­ing in a the­atre. There was some­thing unreal about it,’’ she says of the con­tro­ver­sial mistrial.

‘‘Even Spec­tor, who was fa­mous a mil­lion years ago, he did kind of emit this aura of some­thing dif­fer­ent about him and he kind of shuf­fled around with body­guards and they had a spe­cial park­ing per­mit and went in through the ‘out’ door, that kind of thing.

‘‘He did, I sup­pose, get spe­cial treat­ment.

‘‘I don’t know if that af­fects their jus­tice sys­tem or not but it does seem no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to con­vict celebri­ties of mur­der in Cal­i­for­nia.’’

Though the truth may have been hard to come by in court, Dunne, 83, a one-time tele­vi­sion pro­ducer turned Hol­ly­wood out­cast and cham­pion of vic­tims’ rights af­ter the mur­der of his ac­tor daugh­ter, was more forth­com­ing.

‘‘Cov­er­ing him cov­er­ing Phil’s trial was such an or­ganic in­tro­duc­tion into his per­son­al­ity and how he works and also his past be­cause Los An­ge­les was a city of so many ghosts for him,’’ de Garis says.

Be­fore he picked up a pen at 50, Dunne had been an un­likely World War II hero, a suc­cess­ful Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer and a shame­less so­cial clim­ber.

He threw lav­ish par­ties for the rich and fa­mous, rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of Natalie Wood, Rock Hud­son and Mia Far­row.

But then came his fall from grace, the break­down of his mar­riage and the end of his show­biz ca­reer— un­til he emerged years later as a writer and so­cial com­men­ta­tor.

‘‘He’s hugely charis­matic and I think for any­body who’s in­ter­ested in old Hol­ly­wood, as I al­ways have been, he was a fan­tas­tic racon­teur,’’ de Garis says.

Dunne’s abil­ity to weave his ex­traor­di­nary life into his sto­ries has made must-reads of his dis­patches from some of Amer­ica’s big­gest celebrity tri­als.

Court in the act: celebrity crime writer Do­minick Dunne and (left) Aus­tralian film­maker Kirsty de Garis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.