Friday, September 11, 2009

Dominick Dunne's Funeral: Over 900 guests


New York Social Diary has a write up on Dominick Dunne's funeral yesterday that had over 900 prominent people in attendance. Here are some excerpts from the article.

.....then Father Morrissey delivering the Homily.

Father Morrissey had known Dominick for quite some time. They met after a funeral memorial Dominick attended. He was taken by some part of that service and he discussed it with the father. They became friends as was Dominick’s wont whenever he spent any time with people from whom he had something to learn.

Father Morrissey revealed to us that this entire service was planned by Dominick and the focus was on his Resurrection. Dominick believed he had been Resurrected. He had seen the Light and he was Resurrected. I daresay he saw the Light in a 12-Step Program, and, indeed, he had a New life. The same life but a new life.


Dominick’s son Griffin recalled how his father was fascinated by funerals such as these. When Dominick and Griffin’s mother Lennie were first married and living in New York, it was only a block from Frank E. Campbell funeral home where many socially prominent and celebrities had their funerals.

Dominick used to love to check out “the client list” on his way to work in the morning. And he wasn’t above stopping in to a stranger’s memorial if he thought it might be interesting. Dominick’s funeral, we were reminded, was Dominick’s kind of funeral – the kind he wouldn’t have minded crashing.


After Liz came Hannah Dunne, Dominick’s granddaughter. Hannah looks to be about sixteen. She told us how when she was little girl she used to get a card every Valentine’s Day that was signed “a Secret Admirer.” She said she always knew Who the secret admirer was but she didn’t let on.

Then she suddenly broke into an a capella rendition of Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” with a touch of Billie Holliday and a touch of Carly Simon (Your looks are laughable, unphotograph-able; Yet you’re my favorite work of art.).

Well that was it for the house. She brought it down, as her grandfather might have said. Grandpa would have been beaming proud.

I was also very touched to learn that a song by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes, Song of Bernadette was performed by Jack Donahue. This is one of my most favorite Leonard Cohen songs. So long Dominick. We will miss you. Special thanks to T&T reader Janice who alerted me to the article.


Griffin Dunne wrote a piece remembering his father. It's in the Daily Here is a short excerpt.

When we were at Campbell Brothers making the arrangements for this day, the funeral director said one of the features they offer when burying a man of Dad’s stature was to provide security to ferret out “professional mourners,” that is people, he explained, who crash wakes or funerals of celebrities. I remember thinking, illogically, that I couldn’t wait for the meeting to be over so I could call Dad to tell him they not only have a name for those people but consider it an occupation. You see, my father was a professional mourner. The first apartment my parents moved into was only a block from Campbell Brothers and Dad would think nothing of dropping in on his way to work to see what notorious mobster or movie star was laying in rest that day. It used to drive my mother crazy. What she didn’t realize at the time, or he for that matter, was that going to stranger’s funerals and wakes wasn’t just a morbid hobby. I think even then Dad was subconsciously making notes, filing stories for articles and novels he was still decades from writing. His unabashed curiosity, wandering into rooms uninvited, asking personal questions without a hint of guile, innocently snapping photos of movie legends without their make up, this talent which served no earthly purpose at one point in his life would lead to the much bigger rooms where he would not only be invited, but courted, by people who had done fantastic, sometimes terrible things in their lives they were now eager to share with him.

Liz Smith also wrote a piece about Dominick. Here's a short clip from her article.

Dominick — still in the clutch of the success he brought upon himself, by becoming his own invention as a writer and a gadfly — had fought the good fight. He persevered valiantly over his illness the last few years, and when I saw him in the hospital shortly before the end, instead of acting as if he were dying, he amused me by sitting up, pointing to his gorgeous flowers from Reinaldo and Carolina Herrera and then — exclaiming that Nora Ephron had personally sent him her new movie on Julia Child — he gave me an explicit critique of the film. He was Dominick, to the very end.

When I suggested I might visit his beloved house in Connecticut to bring him anything he needed from there, he said yes, yes! He wanted his bronze star. And so – he got it. This was, I guess, the validation that he wasn’t the big sissy his father had so chided and beaten him over in childhood. And though he could never quite believe the story of his own bravery in World War II and how he carried an unknown soldier to safety under fire, Dominick wanted to believe in himself. Even in the recent documentary about him, he was, throughout, expressing doubts. Asking: Had he done his best covering the Phil Spector trial? I thought so. I told him I equated him with the Hound of Heaven – ever pursuing down the ages. We all know of course that it was his darling daughter Dominique’s murder, with all its attendant injustice, that had turned him to the unending pursuit of those he felt had outraged the law and society.

Thank you to Joan and Gym for the links.

Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair remembers Dominick.


Unknown said...

Will really miss Dominick. Check out "My Funeral Oration for the Late Writer Dominick Dunne, by Liz Smith" located at:

I think you and your readers will enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine opening a Vanity Fair that there were not some witty and fabulous words from this man. TrueTV are still running new episodes of his TV show, but they will soon run out. I will always believe, as much as he loved his life among the 'priviledged', he valued justice above all else.

I have read about his service, but wondering, where he will be finally resting. His beloved daughter and his former wife are in Westwood, CA to the best of my knowledge. Yet he was a New Yorker or East Coast man for decades. I am not sure I have read where his body/ashes will be...could have missed it.

I will miss him. He was a champion far beyond his celebrity, for victims. And LOVED his dish!

Sprocket said...

I've heard from Beth Karas that Dominick is being buried today in Connecticut. She's attending that service. Dominick had a home there as well as an apartment in New York.

Anonymous said...

I guess he had a long time to decide where he wanted to be buried, and his life, other than visits and trials in LA, were a long time ago. Wherever he is, we know he will be in spirit with his beloved daughter.