Getty photo

Getty photo

Dominick Dunne passed away yesterday at age 83. He was a great friend, something of a mentor and adviser, and a rare man of substance who loved the superficial. You’ll read a lot about him today, but I think of Nick covering the O.J. Simpson trial, making his way downtown every morning from the Chateau Marmont, taking notes. We discussed the how and why of O.J. a lot ‘ how and why he killed two people ‘ and Dunne always had the best theories. He skipped the Michael Jackson trial after covering Scott Petersen, but knew everything about Phil Spector. He relished the details, and was always helpful with hints and information he couldn’t incorporate into his own stories. It’s just impossible to think that he and his writer brother John Gregory Dunne are now each gone. The substantial people to whom we looked for direction seem to be vanishing quickly. I will really miss Dominick Dunne.

Ellie Greenwich had a heart attack and died at 68 yesterday after a bout of pneumonia. I didn’t know her, but like everyone, just loved the music she made. Her off Broadway show at the Bottom Line, “Leader of the Pack,” was a triumph. Her songwriting credits number into the hundreds. So many hits, from the Phil Spector stuff like “Baby I Need Your Lovin”” and “Be My Baby” to the Beach Boys’ “I Can Hear Music,” as well as her signature hit, “Leader of the Pack.” Her songwriting partner was Jeff Barry. They wrote one of the greatest songs in the pop canon, “River Deep Mountain High.” (Ike and Tina are good, but check out the Supremes-Temptations version.) What else? “Chapel of Love,” “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” “And Then He Kissed Me.”

Thanks, Ellie, for all of it.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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