Photo Credit: Rick Gershon/Getty Images
Luminaries of Hollywood, publishing and media gathered yesterday to celebrate the life of famed crime reporter and TV personality, Dominick Dunne.
Actor-director (and Dominick's son) Griffin Dunne, gossip columnist Liz Smith, Vanity Fair editor and restauranteur Graydon Carter, media maven Tina Brown and writer Joan Didion were among those who presented their fond remembrances of Dunne, the Vanity Fair columnist who rose to fame for his coverage of the trials of high-profile figures such as O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart and Phil Spector.
The program for the ceremony, which was held at St. Vincent Ferrer Church on Manhattan's Upper East Side, emphasized in bold print that it was to be a celebration, not a mourning. And so there was much laughter and smiling as the memories of Dunne, the gossip hound, flowed freely.
In the nearly three-hour ceremony -- which included a full Catholic mass -- there were many standout moments. Griffin's description of his father as a "professional mourner" who would've liked nothing more than to cover a funeral such as his, and a larger-than-life figure who "art directed and produced his life." New York gossip legend Liz Smith spoke of meeting him when he was the stage manager of The Howdy Doody Show, and the laughs they shared at a dinner party thrown by Elizabeth Taylor. She added that he not only loved writing about celebrities, but that he said to her recently: "I just love being a celebrity." Tina Brown, the Princess Diana biographer, former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor and current head of DailyBeast.com, belied her reputation as a stiff-upper-lipped Brit and choked up as she said, "Goodbye, dear friend. Goodbye, Nick."
Dominick Dunne died of bladder cancer on August 26th, the day after Ted Kennedy passed away.