Posted on 15 September 2009
One thousand mourners turn out for the funeral of America’s most celebrated society chronicler
By Kevin Chaffee
New York – Dominick Dunne was my treasured friend and confidante during the last 15 years of his life, and I knew his funeral was going to be rough going. Whirlpools of fond memories flooded my mind as I sat in Manhattan’s ornate Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer on Sept. 10 waiting for the service to begin. Not even the spectacle of the rich and famous swanning into the pews could divert my thoughts from the many wonderful moments we shared.
Nick, as he was known to his friends, had meticulously scripted every detail of the ceremony long before his death from cancer on August 26: the homily and hymns, the cordon of 14 honorary pallbearers (Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter, playwright Mart Crowley, and composer Stephen Sondheim among them), the eulogists, and, of course, the list of those he wanted invited afterwards to the reception at the Union Club.
Nick loved names, so you’ll get names (in no particular order) of a mere few notables from a crowd I estimated to be nearly 1,000 strong: William McCormick Blair Jr., Jane Stanton Hitchcock, Diane von Furstenburg, Arnold Scaasi, Carl Bernstein, Richard Gere, George Stevens, George Hamilton, Uma Thurman, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Mica Ertegun, Peter Duchin, Virginia Coleman, Pat Patterson, Harry Evans, Brooke Hayward, Jean Harvey Vanderbilt, Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman, Sam Peabody, Iris Love, Mimi Van Rensselaer Strong, Nancy Biddle, Casey Ribicoff, Fernanda Niven, Jamie Niven, Mort Janklow, Charlotte Ford, Marie Brenner, Reinaldo Herrera, Steven Aronson, Melinda Blinken, Boatie Boatwright, Ann Slater, Audrey Gruss, and Karen Lerner.