Category Archives: The Scoop

Dominick Dunne: 1925-2009, Best Selling Author, Vanity Fair Correspondent, My Favorite Writer

dunne-09Dominick Dunne, a best-selling author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair, died today at his home in Manhattan. He was 83. His son, actor – director Griffin Dunne, said the cause of death was bladder cancer. Dunne had recovered from prostate cancer in 2001 but was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. Although ill, he covered OJ Simpson’s recent armed robbery trial in Las Vegas, which resulted in Simpson’s conviction – a verdict Dunne had waited more than a decade for.

dunne-20I am terribly saddened by this news. As an avid reader, I’ve read Dominick Dunne’s column in Vanity Fair for over 15 years in addition to every book he has ever written, twice. His captivating reporting on the shocking crimes of the rich and famous was addictive, making the high society scandals seem stranger than fiction. His colorful demeanor and storied mesmerized listeners, making him a sought after dinner guest. This gave him access to a world that wouldn’t talk to journalists.

His assignments took him to London to cover the inquest into Princess Diana’s death and to Monaco to look into the mysterious death of billionaire Edmond Safra.

Dunne and Elizabeth Taylor

Dunne and Elizabeth Taylor

Dunne, who joined Vanity Fair in 1984 as a contributing editor and was named special correspondent in 1993, famously covered the trials of O. J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith, and Phil Spector, as well as the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He wrote memorable profiles on numerous personalities, among them Imelda Marcos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Elizabeth Taylor, Claus von Bülow, Adnan Khashoggi, and Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.

His first article for Vanity Fair was an account of the trial of the man who murdered his 22-year-old daughter Dominique shortly after she finished filming her first movie, “Poltergeist.” Sweeney was convicted only of voluntary manslaughter, not murder, and was freed after serving less than four years of a six-year sentence. The verdict was seen as a major victory for the defense, and Dunne bitterly told the judge in court, “you withheld important information from this jury about this man’s history of violent behavior.” He later told the Los Angeles Times the sentence was “a tap on the wrist.”

dunne-04“If you go through what I went through, losing my daughter, you have strong, strong feelings of revenge,” Dunne said in 1990 in discussing his novel, “People Like Us,” in which the protagonist shoots the man convicted of killing his daughter. “As a novelist, I could create a situation in which I could do in the book what I couldn’t do in real life. I intended for Gus (the character in the book) to kill the guy. But when I got to that part I couldn’t write it. He wounds him and goes to prison himself for a couple of years.” Throughout his life, Dunne was a vocal advocate for victims’ rights.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 29, 1925, Dunne was awarded the Bronze Star, at age 19, for his service in World War II. In 1949, he graduated from Williams College with a B.A. In April 1954, Dunne married Ellen Beatriz Griffin, who went by Lenny. He and his wife hosted lavish parties at their Beverly Hills home, most notably a black-and-white ball for their 10th wedding anniversary in 1964 with a guest list that included Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Natalie Wood, David Niven, Billy Wilder, Gina Lollabrigida, Loretta Young, Angela Lansbury and Truman Capote. The party inspired Capote to give his own black-and-white ball two years later at New York’s Plaza Hotel, a legendary affair that included 500 of the biggest names in literature, Hollywood and society. “He didn’t invite us,” Dunne noted whenever he told the story. Dominick and Lenny’s marriage ended in divorce in 1965.

dunne-17Dunne began his career in New York City as the stage manager of The Howdy Doody Show, and in 1957 he moved to Hollywood, where he became the executive producer of the television series Adventures in Paradise. He then moved on to producing feature films, including The Boys in the Band, Panic in Needle Park, Play It as It Lays, and Ash Wednesday.

But by this time drugs and alcohol had part of his life, and in 1975 he drove himself up to the woods in Oregon to face his demons. Living alone in a cabin, he became sober and at age 50 began to write.

dunne-06In 1980, Dunne moved back to New York and saw five of his novels become bestsellers. His books include The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, Fatal Charms, People Like Us, An Inconvenient Woman, A Season in Purgatory, and Another City, Not My Own. A collection of essays, Fatal Charms, was published in 1987, and his memoir, The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Droppe, was published in 1999. Justice, a collection of articles that had appeared in Vanity Fair, was published in 2001. And his last book, Too Much Money: A Novel, is scheduled for publication in December 2009 by Random House.

Dunne often bit the well-manicured hands that fed him, turning his high society relationships into fictional stories. A friend of Alfred and Betsy Bloomingdale of the department store fortune, he turned Alfred’s relationship with his mistress, Vicki Morgan, into a roman a clef, “An Inconvenient Woman.” Similarly, Dunne, who had been a guest at the 1950 wedding of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, turned his theories about the culpability of Ethel’s nephew, Michael Skakel, in a long-unsolved murder into another novel, “A Season in Purgatory.” Skakel ultimately was tried and convicted. His cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., blamed Dunne for the conviction and told talk show host Larry King that the writer was “not a journalist. He’s a gossip columnist.”

dunne-15His willingness to entertain nearly any source made him the target of an $11-million defamation lawsuit by former California Rep. Gary Condit after Dunne told a bizarre, unsubstantiated story on national television and radio programs that implicated Condit in the 2001 disappearance of Washington intern Chandra Levy. He apologized to Condit and paid an undisclosed sum to settle the lawsuit in 2005.

The documentary series Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice premiered on Court TV in June 2002. “I am openly pro-prosecution and make no bones about it,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle that year. “I don’t think there are enough people out there sticking up for victims.” Dominick Dunne: After the Party, a documentary about his life, premiered in 2008.

Dunne was beginning to write his memoirs and, until close to the end of his life, he posted online messages on his own Web site commenting on events in his life and thanking his fans for their constant support.

dunne-01Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter praised Dunne as a gifted reporter who proved as fascinating as the people he wrote about. “Anyone who remembers the sight of O.J. Simpson trying on the famous glove probably remembers a bespectacled Dunne, resplendent in his trademark Turnbull & Asser monogrammed shirt, on the court bench behind him,” Carter wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “It is fair to say that the halls of Vanity Fair will be lonelier without him and that, indeed, we will not see his like anytime soon, if ever again.”

Dunne was part of a famous family that also included his brother, novelist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne; his brother’s wife, author Joan Didion; and his son, Griffin. In addition to his son Griffin, of Manhattan, Dunne is survived by another son, Alex, of Portland, Oregon, and a granddaughter, Hannah.

“I’ve lived this very dramatic life, with high points and terrible low points,” he told a London paper as one trial drew to a close. “Nothing has been ordinary, and I want to have the experience of the last breath. I want a little drama to it. I don’t want to die under anesthesia. I’d rather be shot to death in the Plaza or Monte Carlo by Lily Safra. I want something in the papers.”

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MEGAN FOX Cast as Catwoman in Next BATMAN Film, MEOW!

Actress Megan Fox arrives at the 2007 Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on September 9, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to the UK Sun, actress MEGAN FOX has signed up to play Catwoman in the next “Batman movie.” Catwoman is a dark and sexy feline which is a role that Fox often plays in real life. Perfect casting for Batman!

CatwomanFollowing in the footsteps of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry, Megan Fox will be slipping into the famous PVC catsuit worn by other sex symbols in previous Batman installments.

PICCATWOMANBERRYWHIPFORBLOGAlso on board for the next “Batman” flick are previous cast members Christian Bale (Batman) and Michael Caine in addition to director Christopher Nolan.

Shooting for the film starts next year but the film is not expected to be released until 2011. Last year’s “Batman: The Dark Knight” became the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time, with total sales over $1 billion and earned an Academy Award for Heath Ledger’s portrayal as The Joker.

TRUE BLOOD: Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman) Finally Gets Naked As Ratings Soar (PHOTOS)

true-blood-record-ratings-07“True Blood” drew record ratings on Sunday night, pulling in 4.5 million viewers (11.4 million if you include DVR and HBO On Demand). Maybe it was because of Sookie Stackhouse’s (Anna Paquin) dream sequence where she is naked in bed with the lusty-hot vampire sheriff Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard). Although I love Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), we’ve seen enough of him naked and frankly when it comes to hot vampires, Skarsgard takes that title.

alexander-skarsgard-summer-television-critics-04custom_14ktuh60irI’ve been a lover of the Swedish import Skarsgard since Day 1, but it had more to do with his devilish good looks than the character he plays (although, who doesn’t have a thing for the bad boys). I’ve been crushing on the hot & sexy Alexander Skarsgard since seeing him in last summer’s “Generation Kill” mini-series on HBO. While I do profess my undying love to the “Twilight” vampires (and wolves) and they so rule the big screen, the vampires on “True Blood” ooze sex appeal and can actually show it on TV. Plus, I can get my fix weekly as opposed to once a year. Call it vampires for the sexy set.

true-blood-record-ratings-03On Sunday night’s episode of “True Blood,” Eric finally established an emotional connection with Sookie and got into her head as she dreamt of the couple in bed together. IT-WAS-SO-HOT I’ve had to watch it over and over again to see if I can sneak a peek of the goods. Even hotter is the fact that Alexander prefers to be fully nude when filming love scenes: “For me, it is no big deal, I’ve been naked in other roles I have in the past both in the theater and in films. Here they wanted to test everything from a sock to body-colored mini underwear, but it just felt weird. I prefer to be naked instead.  So long as you and your co-star know how t works, it is okay and we are a tight bunch that makes this series.”

true-blood-record-ratings-12From his start as Brad Colbert on HBO’s Generation Kill to his gaining popularity on “True Blood,” Alexander’s star is definitely shining bright and people are taking notice.  Recently named a “Rising Star” by Access Hollywood the 32-year-old actor, and son of actor Stellan Skarsgard, said his newfound heartthrob status is amazing – and something he’s more than willing to share with co-star Stephen Moyer. “The attention is very flattering,” he told Access. “I heard that fans are divided between Eric and Bill. To be honest, I’m Stephen’s biggest fan.”  “I actually founded the fan club ‘Bill’s Babes,’” he joked.

true-blood-record-ratings-01In addition to remaining episodes of Season 2 of “True Blood,” Alexander will be seen in the upcoming movies “Straw Dogs,” “13” and “Metropia.” Lady Gaga fans will also recognize Alexander from the singer’s 9-minute mini-movie video for “Paparazzi,” which debuted earlier this summer.

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FAMEBALL: Online Celebrity Games for Social Set

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Fameball is an entertainment and gaming site dedicated to celebrity news and gossip. A virtual one-stop shop for all things celebrity, fashion and entertainment, Fameball generates the latest news from the best sources on the Web. The Fameball TOP 10 lists the top celebrities and changes as quickly as the news itself. Also, Fameball has a totally addictive celebrity news game you must check out.

stars_on_walk_of_fameFameball really distinguishes itself from other celebrity news sites with innovative and fun games. Join any game that hasn’t started yet or create your own game using one of the pre-set Starpacks (“It” Girls, 90’s Sitcom Stars, Brat Packers to name a few) or create your own Starpack using the celebrities of your choosing. Or if you prefer, select a team from the entire celebriverse who you think will top the news during the timeframe of the game. You earn points whenever a celeb on your team is mentioned in the news and the more stories that appear throughout the day about a celebrity the higher his or her rank and value.

The world of stars changes at the speed of light, and who’s hot one minute is not the next. So invite your friends to play along and battle to see who really is the most knowledgeable in the celebriverse. Register today at www.fameball.com

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Let the games begin!

CELEBRITY SEX TAPE THREESOME: Grey’s Anatomy ERIC DANE With Wife REBECCA GAYHEART & ‘Celeb Rehab’ Star KARI ANN PENICHE (PHOTOS)

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We’ve seen celebrity sex tapes before, but I don’t recall a threesome involving a married couple and a former Miss Teen USA. Scandalous!

mcsteamy_sex_tape_mA new sex tape has emerged featuring “Grey’s Anatomy‘s” McSteamy Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart with former Miss Teen USA and “Celebrity Rehab” reject Kari Ann Peniche. Gawker has a shortened version of the 12-minute video in which the married couple of 5 years party naked with the one-time beauty queen. Kari is seen stroking a naked Eric while they reveal their porn star names. “My alter ego name is Peter, just Peter,” he appears to say as he lies on a bed next to Peniche.” My dog growing up was named Cocaine and I lived on Manor Drive, So I’m Cocaine Manor.”

Gayhearteric-dane-kari-ann-peniche_425x302Later, topless Rebecca and Kari share a Jacuzzi bath. The trio appears under the influence of something throughout the video and at one point Rebecca says she needs to lie down because she’s so high. While in the tub Gayheart says, “I’m not like a huge advocate of drugs for whatever reason … it is kind of fun.” And in the bathroom, Dane, appears to be behind the camera and pans the lens over his wife in the bathtub, commenting, “You’ve gotta be two of the hottest f***ing girls on the set of Mulholland. And I’ve seen some hot girls before. This is the thing.”

This isn’t the first time Gayheart has been naked in a tub with another woman. In June the National Enquirer ran a 2003 photo of her in a bathtub with an unidentified woman and what appeared to be a smoking pipe.

eric-dane-rebecca-gayheart-sex-tape-photos-08172009-05Kari Ann Peniche was a former Miss Teen USA who lost her crown after she posed for Playboy in 2002. Earlier this year she was kicked off “Dr. Drew Pinksy’s Celebrity Rehab: Sex Addiction” for throwing vases at cast and crew members, hosting drug dealer types at the Sun Valley sober house and stealing from her roommate, country singer Mindy McCready. The tape reportedly surfaced as part of an official investigation into Peniche’s alleged sex-for-hire business.

eric_dane.0.0.0x0.600x402Marty Singer, the couple’s rep, told TMZ.com that he will sue anyone who publishes the “private, confidential tape,” adding that “from what I’ve seen, it’s a naked tape, not a sex tape.” Singer says he spoke with Kari Ann Peniche and asked how the tape got leaked. Her response: “I have no idea. I had nothing to do with it.”

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Perez Hilton Launches Fashion Blog, Coco Perez

goddontlikeuglyweb__oPtPerez Hilton’s new fashion blog, CocoPerez, just launched and now the “Queen of All Media” will focus on celebrities and their fashion (or unfashionable) choices. The content is truely Perez Hilton, but fashion focused. This especially hilarious tee shirt is featured on the site. I can only imagine whats to come.

Coco Perez

LIZZIE GRUBMAN Says New Novel “Spin” Not Inspired By Her

lizzieNew York public relations executive Lizzie Grubman wants to set the record straight about rumors that an upcoming novel written by a former employee is about her.

Robert Rave’s novel “Spin hasn’t even been released yet, but is generating a ton of buzz over the Devil Wears Prada-esque story. US Weekly spoke to Grubman who confirmed she has no connection to the story. “Robert worked for me briefly about 10 years ago,” the PR rep says of her former assistant-turned-author. “You should believe him when he says that his novel is not a memoir — because, from the brief snippets of the story that I’ve seen, none of those things could have happened while he worked for me.”

spinRave’s novel, which hits bookshelves tomorrow, centers around Taylor Green, who moves from the Midwest to New York City to work for one of the city’s most notorious publicists: a little-black-dress-clad, high-intensity, menace of a boss named Jennifer, who is NYC’s most notorious public relations diva.

“This novel isn’t about me, and my lawyers would only become concerned if someone used my name or likeness without my permission to generate sales for a book,” Grubman continues. “However, while I barely know him, I wish Robert all the luck with his book. It certainly sounds like a fun fictional story.”