The Most Shocking Celebrity Encounters in Griffin Dunne’s New Memoir

Actor, director and producer Griffin Dunne has lived a fascinating life on and off the screen, and he isn’t afraid to share any of the details.

The After Hours and This Is Us star, 69, is opening up about the ups and downs of his Hollywood upbringing and career in a new book, The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir, out now.

Raised in a family of celebrities — including father Dominick Dunne, aunt and uncle Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne and sister Dominique — Dunne tells of his childhood, as well as his own rise to fame, from a fledgling actor in New York City to becoming an Academy Award-nominated director and cult classic staple.

The Friday Afternoon Club also doesn’t look away from hardship. In it, Dunne writes of the devastating murder of his sister in 1982, and the lasting effect the tragedy had on his family.

“I let myself go into the pain,” Dunne tells PEOPLE for the June 10 print issue. “I found there was room for both humor and tragedy.”

Read on for the star-studded highlights from The Friday Afternoon Club.

Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched was his babysitter

Elizabeth Montgomery.

Screen Archives/Getty Images


Dunne was surrounded by celebrities from a young age, and even had a famous actress watch him when his parents were out. He writes that his first babysitter was Bewitched actress Elizabeth Montgomery, who, at the time, was a struggling actress and friends with Griffin’s mother, Ellen Dunne.

Montgomery and Ellen became close friends — so close, in fact, that Montgomery confided in Ellen about something personal regarding her husband.

“Elizabeth once told her, while changing my diapers, that I had a bigger dick than her husband,” Dunne writes. “That marriage was, needless to say, short-lived.”

Humphrey Bogart convinced Dominick Dunne to move to Los Angeles

Humphrey Bogart (left) and Dominick Dunne.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images; Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic


Before becoming a famous crime journalist, Dunne’s father, Dominick, was a Hollywood producer. Famed actor Humphrey Bogart had personally requested that Dominick stage manage a live remote show of The Petrified Forest that he was appearing in.

The two also bonded over the fact that they both went to boarding schools. Dunne writes that after the Casablanca star and his father toured Los Angeles houses, Dominick became smitten with Hollywood.

“If it wasn’t from Humphrey Bogart, we’d never have moved to Los Angeles,” Dunne writes. 

Sean Connery saved him from drowning when he was a kid

Sean Connery.
Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage

We can thank actor Sean Connery for saving Griffin Dunne’s life. The actor writes that Connery came to a pool party at the Dunne’s house and, in an effort to impress the James Bond actor, he dove into the family’s pool — only to realize that he couldn’t swim as well as he thought.

“Suddenly, in one swift motion, a hand lifted me by the butt and placed me at the pool’s edge.” Dunne writes. “‘A wee bit early for the deep end, sonny,’ said James Bond.”

Dunne also realized something few knew about the actor, when he came over to the family house. 
“[I] was just as surprised to see on his head a huge bald spot that must have been covered with a toupee for the movies,” Dunne writes.

He was roommates and best friends with Carrie Fisher — and the two often talked of their “sexual encounters”

Griffin Dunne and Carrie Fisher.

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images; Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage


One of the most meaningful relationships throughout the memoir is Dunne’s friendship with Carrie Fisher. The two lived together for a period in New York City — at the suggestion of Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds — and quickly became best friends. Dunne was even there when Fisher learned of her groundbreaking role in Star Wars.

Though Dunne writes that he and Carrie never officially dated, Carrie did lose her virginity to him in preparation for her first time with her boyfriend at the time.

“It all made sense in the moment, and we both understood that everything we were doing to each other under those covers would not alter our friendship one iota,” Dunne writes. Their friendship remained strong afterward, with Dunne saying that Fisher still “lived for every lurid details of my own sexual encounters.”

“I became her Farmers’ Almanac to forecast just the right conditions for when she’d be ready to plow ahead into the great outdoors of sexual confusion,” Dunne writes.

He worked a dinner party with Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote — and things got “handsy”

Tennessee Williams (left) and Truman Capote.

Derek Hudson/Getty Images; Jack Mitchell/Getty Images


Having famed writers like Dominick Dunne, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion in the family meant that Griffin was never lacking for literary inspiration. While working at a dinner party, Dunne recalls that writers Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote attended.

“Tennessee had taken to calling me “boy” to get my attention, and soon the others followed suit, running me ragged,” Dunne writes.

“Truman led the handsy charge when I leaned over to reach his empty glass and he pinched my a–, making me squeal like an Elizabethan barmaid,” Dunne writes. “My yelp really brought down the house, and every drink I delivered after was rewarded with someone grabbing, patting or fondling any of my body parts below the belt.”

Dunne recalls that the party’s host was quick to remind the writers that he was Didion’s nephew.

“After composing himself, [Williams] looked me directly in the eye,” Dunne writes. “‘Young man,’ he began, ‘Though I don’t know your aunt well, I adore her words and deeply apologize for my disgraceful behavior. Won’t you please sit with us.’”

Martin Scorsese told him to refrain from sex while filming After Hours

Griffin Dunne and Martin Scorsese (right).

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Noam Galai/FilmMagic


One of Dunne’s best-known films is 1985’s After Hours, which he produced and starred in. Dunne was originally interested in having Tim Burton direct the film, but later tapped Martin Scorsese after Burton dropped out of the project, once he knew the former director was involved.

While filming, however, Scorsese had some advice for Dunne about how to best stay in character.

“The only thing he asked of me before the start of shooting was that I not have sex until the picture wrapped,” Dunne writes. “He wanted Paul Hackett, my character, to carry the tension of a young man who hadn’t been laid in so long that a subtext of unrelenting sexual frustration would come through in every frame.”

Dunne, however, didn’t follow the rule, and Scorsese soon figured it out. The director confronted him about it on set, and threatened to shut down production. Though Scorsese ultimately didn’t halt filming, Dunne says the incident still taught him a valuable lesson.

“Marty might have been bluffing, but the lesson he taught me was that the terror on an actor’s face can sometimes look just like months of pent-up lust,” he writes. “The scene continued without a hitch.”

He met his ex-wife Carey Lowell on the set of a “career-killing film”

Griffin Dunne and Carey Lowell in 1994.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images


Dunne writes of meeting his ex-wife, actress Carey Lowell on the set of what he describes as the “career-killing” film Me and Him, about a man who is able to talk to his penis. Dunne reveals that the playwright Arthur Miller’s daughter, Rebecca Miller, was originally hired to be Dunne’s love interest in the movie.

“The author of Death of a Salesman read his daughter’s talking-penis project and forbade her to be in the movie for her own good,” Dunne writes. Though Miller dropped out of the project, her replacement was Carey Lowell, who Dunne began seeing after the first week of shooting.

“After the picture wrapped, she went on to be a Bond girl in License to Kill, and I pined for her until she returned from Europe, and when she did, we picked up where we’d left off and fell truly in love,” Dunne writes. He and Lowell were married from 1989 to 1995 and share a daughter, Hannah.

The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir by Griffin Dunne is available now, wherever books are sold.

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