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The University of Texas at Austin


An Extraordinary Life: The Dominick Dunne Papers

April 30, 2012 – March 9, 2013

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
The University of Texas at Austin
2313 Red River
Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 2
Austin, Texas

Exhibit hours:
Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (check Reading Room hours for Saturday closing schedule)

"All of a sudden it has occurred to me that I lead an extraordinary life." – Dominick Dunne, 1995

Dominick Dunne. The Dominick Dunne Papers, e_dd_0150.
Dominick Dunne. Dunne (Dominick) Papers; e_dd_0150.

An Extraordinary Life: The Dominick Dunne Papers shares the story of the acclaimed journalist and writer's life as documented in his personal and professional papers, part of the Briscoe Center's News Media History collection, one of the most comprehensive journalism history archives in existence. Dunne was widely known for his contributions to Vanity Fair magazine and his work on Court TV. In addition to his coverage of society and celebrities, Dunne was perhaps best known for his distinctive stories on high-profile criminal trials. From remarkable correspondence and photographs to story drafts and notes, the exhibit documents his extraordinary act of reinvention: following the end of his career in the entertainment industry, Dunne embarked upon an ultimately triumphant second act as a journalist and novelist.

An Extraordinary Life includes Dunne's glamorous Hollywood career; his coverage of such blockbuster criminal cases as the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Claus von Bülow; and his voluminous correspondence with political, literary and entertainment figures, including Elizabeth Taylor, Stephen Sondheim, Tina Brown, Graydon Carter and Jane Fonda. The exhibit also gives an inside look at Dunne's work for Vanity Fair. He wrote for the magazine from 1984 until his death in 2009, and was known for his feature stories, trial coverage, profiles and "Dominick Dunne's Diary," a regular column in which Dunne shared his observations on everything from murder trials to Beverly Hills dinner parties.

Whether he was reporting on horrific crimes with the passionate zeal of an avenger, or giving readers special entrée into the world of the powerful and wealthy, Dunne's writing was deeply personal and revealing, sharing the full scope of his own extraordinary life.

For more information on hours and location, please call (512) 495-4518.