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A photo of Dominick John Dunne

Dominick John Dunne 1925 - 2009

Dominick John Dunne was born on October 29, 1925 in Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut United States to Richard Edwin Dunne and Dorothy Frances Dunne, and had siblings Richard Edwin Dunne, Harriet Anne Hutchinson, Virginia Marie Finley, John Gregory Dunne, and Stephen Burns Dunne. He married Ellen Beatriz Dunne on April 24, 1954 in Arizona and they later divorced in 1965. He had children Thomas Griffin Dunne, Alexander L. Dunne, Dominique Dunne, Dominique Ellen Dunne, and Beatriz Dunne. Dominick Dunne died at age 83 years old on August 26, 2009 in New York, New York, and was buried in September 2009 at Cove Cemetery - in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut.
Dominick John Dunne
October 29, 1925
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States
August 26, 2009
New York, New York, United States
Male
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Dominick John Dunne's History: 1925 - 2009

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  • 10/29
    1925

    Birthday

    October 29, 1925
    Birthdate
    Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut United States
    Birthplace
  • Ethnicity & Family History

    Born to a prominent heart surgeon with Irish roots, Dominick Dunne and his family were wealthy, but considered “nouveau-riche” by the WASPs of their hometown.
  • Early Life & Education

    As a young boy, Dominick (“Nicky” by his family) was considered a “sissy” by his abusive father, and other family members insisted he should have been born a girl. He was either bisexual or homosexual (sources differ and it’s possible he himself wasn’t sure), but in this era, he kept it as secret as possible. He and a brother, John Gregory, developed stutters in childhood. Dominick Dunne attended Kingswood School and the Canterbury School in his youth. He was then drafted during WWII, and subsequently attended Williams College. He graduated in 1949.
  • Personal Life & Family

    He met Ellen “Lenny” Griffin, a ranching heiress, and promptly married her in 1954. Soon after, their first child, son Thomas (known as “Griffin”), was born in 1955. Two years later, their second son Alexander (“Alex”) was born. In 1957, the family moved from New York to Los Angeles, where Dominick worked in the film industry. Soon after, their daughter Dominique was born. In this time, they had two other daughters who died in infancy. As a young boy, Dominick was fascinated by Hollywood stars after his aunt Harriet took him on a trip to Los Angeles. He knew that was the life he desired, and after moving there in adulthood, he was beyond starstruck. He hosted many parties at his and his wife’s home, and knew everything about the celebrity scene. After several years of this, Lenny grew tired and unimpressed, and asked for a divorce. Despite their marriage breaking apart, Dominick remained close with his ex-wife. Later, she developed Multiple Sclerosis and became disabled enough by the disease that she required a wheelchair. As his children attended boarding schools and found their way in life, Dominick became a laughing stock by Hollywood standards and sold all of his possessions. He moved to Oregon, and spent time there trying to gain sobriety and figure out what he wanted from life. He considered suicide, but decided against it. Ironically, his brother Stephen would commit suicide not long after this, solidifying Dunne’s decision to continue living. By 1982, his daughter Dominique was on the track to stardom when she died after an attack by her ex-boyfriend, John Thomas Sweeney. Devastated, Dominick Dunne and his remaining family attended the trial against Sweeney. When the outcome was hardly a form of justice, the family would go on to advocate for victims of domestic violence and the parents of murdered children. Dunne found a new career in writing during this time, and focused the rest of his life on the natures of crime.
  • 08/26
    2009

    Death

    August 26, 2009
    Death date
    Cancer
    Cause of death
    New York, New York United States
    Death location
  • 09/dd
    2009

    Gravesite & Burial

    September 2009
    Funeral date
    Cove Cemetery - in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut United States
    Burial location
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3 Memories, Stories & Photos about Dominick

Dominick John Dunne
05/12/2024
Dominick John Dunne
Wedding Announcement
Date & Place: in Nogales, Santa Cruz County, Arizona United States
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Dominick John Dunne
05/06/2024
Dominick John Dunne
Dominick (second from left) and siblings in childhood
Date & Place: Not specified or unknown.
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Dominick John Dunne
04/29/2024
Dominick John Dunne
Dominick at The Stork Club, early 1950s
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