John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003) was a novelist, screenwriter and critic. His final novel is entitled Nothing Lost.

STAR!

Gavin Lambert was the first person in the movie business my wife and I met when we moved to Los Angeles in 1964. It was at a small outdoor Sunday lunch in Beverly Hills given by my brother and sister-in-law, both peers in Hollywood’s version of Debrett’s. There were six …

The Horror Is Seductive

Now all the youth of England are on fire, And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies; Now thrive the armourers, and honour’s thought Reigns solely in the breast of every man. They sell the pasture now to buy the horse…. —Henry V The volunteer military has …

A Life Worth Living

These are the books Samuel Hynes wrote between 1961 and 1989: The Pattern of Hardy’s Poetry, The Edwardian Turn of Mind, Edwardian Occasions, and The Auden Generation. Among the books he edited were Further Speculations by T.E. Hulme, The Author’s Craft and Other Critical Writings of Arnold Bennett, Romance and …

A Farewell to Arms

“Anything processed by memory is fiction.” —Wright Morris, in a lecture at Princeton, December 2, 1971, as quoted by Paul Fussell in The Great War and Modern Memory. Wright Morris was born in Central City, Nebraska, in 1910. NEBRASKA In 1851, Thomas Kerry, from the village of Trieshon in …

The Hardest War

“For most Americans, the war was about revenge against the Japanese, and the reason the European part had to be finished first was so the maximum attention could be devoted to the real business, the absolute torment and destruction of the Japanese. The slogan was conspicuously Remember Pearl Harbor. No …

Birth of a Salesman

For thirty-five years, David Halberstam, an unsilent member of the Silent Generation, has contemplated America and its place in the world, casting his eye on big subjects—Vietnam, global economics, race, mass media, and the 1950s. Like Graham Greene, who, between his weightier fictions on sin and salvation and the transgressions …

Angels of LA

James Francis Aloysius McIntyre, Roman Catholic archbishop (and eventually cardinal) of Los Angeles between 1948 and 1970, is remembered today, if at all, as a cartoon of an ecclesiastical tyrant. It was McIntyre’s misfortune to be an old man, although more or less a vigorous one, when the winds of …

‘Poet of Resentment’

In the preface of his ghostwritten autobiography, I Never Had It Made, published in 1972 two days after he died, Jackie Robinson wrote, “Money is America’s God, and business people can dig black power if it coincides with green power.”

Hollywood: Opening Moves

In the spring of 1988, my wife, Joan Didion, and I were approached about writing a screenplay based on a book by Alanna Nash called Golden Girl, a biography of the late network correspondent and anchorwoman Jessica Savitch. In the spring of 1996, the motion picture made from our screenplay, …

Keystone Killers

The most important fact to remember about Joseph Gamsky, other than his conviction for murder in the first degree and subsequent sentence to life imprisonment in the California penal system, is that during the mid-1970s he was a high school debater. Gamsky, in fact, was so confident of his ferocious …

The Simpsons

Is there anyone out there who has not heard the facts, the factoids, the allegations, the half-truths, the untruths, the leaks, the smears, heard the E-mail jokes (hundreds of them, thousands, tasteless, it is always agreed, in all mitigating sanctimony, even as they are passed on: “Did you hear that …

The Death of a Yale Man

It should be said at the outset that Calvin Trillin and I have been friends for over thirty years. It should further be said that I once dedicated a book to him and his wife, Alice, and that he, somewhat more problematically, dedicated a book to me. Or to be …

Your Time is My Time

Time was a glorious place to work in the years that I was there, from 1959 to 1964. I was twenty-seven when I was hired, and an ignoramus, vintage Princeton ’54, with a degree in history (I had written my senior thesis on Lord Lothian, the Cliveden Set’s house Christian …

Law and Disorder in LA: Part Two

When the savage beating of Rodney King by members of the Los Angeles Police Department was shown on nationwide TV last March (the incident having been captured on tape by George Holliday, an amateur camera buff), the LAPD and its chief, Daryl Gates, were subjected, for the first time, to …

Law & Disorder in Los Angeles

“I have a memory as long as forever.” —Daryl F. Gates[^1] Rodney Glenn King is a big man—225 pounds draped uneasily over a six foot, three-inch frame. His curriculum vitae is not uncommon in the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles. He has a reading disability, is a high-school …

A Star is Born

PHILLIPS, JULIA, film producer; b. Bklyn., April 7, 1944; d. Adolph and Tanya Miller; grad. Nicolet high sch.; B.A. Mt. Holyoke, 1965; m. Michael Phillips (div.); 1 dau., Kate Elizabeth. Former prodn. asst. McCall’s Mag.; later textbook copywriter Macmillan Publs.; editorial asst. Ladies Home Journal, later asso. editor; head Mirisch …

Goldwynism

In the midst of an argument to some other point, Harry Cohn, the much hated tycoon responsible for the success and ultimate respectability of Columbia Pictures, once bet that his own hated brother Jack did not know and could not recite the Lord’s Prayer. Equally full of bluster, Jack Cohn …

‘The Check Is in the Mail’

The first thing I did when I picked up Spiegel: The Man Behind the Pictures, Andrew Sinclair’s biography of film producer Sam Spiegel, was look in the index, where I found a listing I was hoping not to find: “Dunne, John Gregory, 131.” Immediately I went to page 131: Diana …

The War that Won’t Go Away

Memorial Day, 1986. Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, President Ronald Reagan paid special attention, in his remarks, to “the boys of Vietnam…who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home…. They chose to be faithful. They chose to …

The Secret of Danny Santiago

Q. So my first question is, have you at any time been a member of the Communist Party? A. I would like to answer that by saying that I am not a member of the Communist Party. However, as to the second part of your question I will stand on …

Happy Days Are Here Again

It should be stated at the outset that I have known William F. Buckley, Jr., for twenty-three years, that he published the first free-lance piece I ever wrote (about growing up Irish Catholic in Hartford, Connecticut), that my impending marriage, in 1964, was announced not in The New York Times …