Arts & Entertainment

Acclaimed writer Joan Didion dies

New York, Dec 23 (EFE).- Joan Didion, whose achievements as a journalist, novelist, screenwriter and essayist made her a cultural icon in the United States, died Thursday at her home in New York. She was 87.

The California native succumbed to Parkinson’s disease.

“She established a distinctive voice in American fiction before turning to political reporting and screenplay writing,” The New York Times said in its obituary.

Among her best-known works are “The Year of Magical Thinking,” about the sudden death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in 2003 as the couple’s daughter was in a coma; essay collections “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The White Album” and the screenplay for the 1976 film “A Star is Born,” co-written with Dunne.

Didion’s first job was with Vogue magazine, a position she obtained on the strength of an essay she wrote during her final year at the University of California, Berkeley.

An early exponent of what would become known as “New Journalism,” she went on to write for a range of publications, including The New York Review of Books.

Didion published her first novel, “Run, River,” in 1963, while her second work of fiction, “Play It as It Lays,” was made into a film starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins.

The 1980s saw her produce non-fiction books about the civil war in El Salvador (“Salvador”) and the Cuban community in South Florida (“Miami”)

Though Didion and Dunne’s adopted daughter, Quintano Roo Dunne, survived the 2003 illness that plunged her into a coma, she died a few months after the publication of “The Year of Magical Thinking” at the age of 39.

In 2017, Netflix aired the documentary “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold,” which was produced and directed by her nephew, actor Griffin Dunne. EFE jfu/dr

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