Quotes by John Gregory Dunne

"Writing is a manual labor of the mind: a job, like laying pipe."

"New York is at once cosmopolitan and parochial, a compendium of sentimental certainties. It is in fact the most sentimental of the world's great cities - in its self-congratulation a kind of San Francisco of the East"

"Hollywood is a technological crapshoot. Table stakes open at a million dollars. It was true in 1968, it is true now."

"I had been exposed to the motion picture industry at oblique angles ever since I arrived in Los Angeles in 1964, and some of its working arrangements seemed to me far more magical than that glamour for which the Industry was noted: there was the way in which failure escalated the possibilities of success, the way in which price bore no relation to demand. There was the way in which millions of dollars were gambled on ephemeral, unpredictable and, uncomfortably often, invalid ideas of marketability. There was the way that many, perhaps most, people in the Industry remained unconscious of their own myths and superstitions. There was the Eldorado mood of life in the capital, the way in which social and economic fortunes could shoot up or plummet down, as in a mining boom town, on no more than rumors, the hint of a rich vein, the gossip that the lode was played out."

"we have become a nation of ten-minute celebrities. People, issues and causes hit the charts like rock groups, and with approximately as much staying power."


Books by John Gregory Dunne

  • The Studio
  • 270 ratings
  • April 14th 1998 by Vintage Books

    (first published 1969)

  • Nothing Lost
  • 107 ratings
  • May 17th 2005 by Vintage

    (first published 2004)

  • Dutch Shea, Jr.
  • 83 ratings
  • December 1st 1982 by Simon & Schuster

    (first published 1982)

  • Playland
  • 71 ratings
  • September 1st 1995 by Plume

    (first published 1994)

  • Harp
  • 53 ratings
  • 1991 by Granta

    (first published January 1st 1989)

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John Gregory Dunne
  • John Gregory Dunne

  • Date of birth: May 25, 1932
  • Died: December 30, 2003
  • Born: in Hartford, Connecticut, The United States.

  • Description: John Gregory Dunne was an American novelist, screenwriter and literary critic.

    He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and was a younger brother of author Dominick Dunne. He suffered from a severe stutter and took up writing to express himself. Eventually he learned to speak normally by observing others. He graduated from Princeton University in 1954 and worked as a journalist for Time magazine. He married novelist Joan Didion on 30 January 1964, and they became collaborators on a series of screenplays, including Panic in Needle Park (1971), A Star Is Born (1976) and True Confessions (1981), an adaptation of his own novel. He is the author of two non-fiction books about Hollywood, The Studio and Monster.

    As a literary critic and essayist, he was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. His essays were collected in two books, Quintana & Friends and Crooning.

    He wrote several novels, among them True Confessions, based loosely on the Black Dahlia murder, and Dutch Shea, Jr.

    He was the writer and narrator of the 1990 PBS documentary L.A. is It with John Gregory Dunne, in which he guided viewers through the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.

    He died in Manhattan of a heart attack, in December 2003. His final novel, Nothing Lost, which was in galleys at the time of his death, was published in 2004.

    He was father to Quintana Roo Dunne, who died in 2005 after a series of illnesses, and uncle to actors Griffin Dunne (who co-starred in An American Werewolf in London) and Dominique Dunne (who co-starred in Poltergeist).

    His wife, Joan Didion, published The Year of Magical Thinking in October 2005 to great critical acclaim, a memoir of the year following his death, during which their daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne, was seriously ill. It won the National Book Award.