Dunne was well known for his coverage of the trials of O.J. Simpson, Ted Kenney's nephew William Kennedy Smith, and Claus von Bulow. He also covered the impeachment proceedings of then President Bill Clinton.
Dunne's fascination with and voice for writing about high profile murder cases stemmed from his own personal tragedy, according to the New York Times. His 22-year-old daughter, Dominique, was brutally strangled to death in 1982 by her ex-boyfriend John Sweeney. But the jury would not put Sweeney away. He was convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and served less than three years.
Dunne chronicled his feelings during the trial and eventually published them in Vanity Fair in 1984.
Dunne's son, Griffin Dunne, said that his father had been battling bladder cancer at his home.
The cancer, however, had not prevented Dunne from working and socializing, his twin passions.
In September 2008, against his doctor's orders and his family's wishes, Dunne flew to Las Vegas to attend O.J. Simpson's kidnap-robbery trial, a postscript to his coverage of the football great's 1995 murder trial, which spiked Dunne's considerable fame.
In the past year, Dunne had traveled to Germany and the Dominican Republic for experimental stem cell treatments to fight his cancer.
Dunne discontinued his Vanity Fair column to concentrate on finishing another novel, "Too Much Money," which is to come out in December. He also made a number of appearances to promote a documentary film about his life, "After the Party," which was being released on DVD.
Dunne, who lived in Manhattan, was beginning to write his memoirs and until recently had posted messages on his Web site commenting on events in his life and thanking his fans for their support.