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On January 29th, Damien Bona, noted author of several books about Hollywood and the Academy Awards, died after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 56.
Bona, who lived in New York City, recieved initial acclaim as the co-author of Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. The book was considered the gold standard reference for information about the Oscars.
The Daily News reports, “[when] the book first appeared in 1986, critic Vincent Canby called it a giddy social history of our place and time, full of statistics and the kind of utterly trivial details that, taken together, somehow assume significance, like centuries-old graffiti scratched onto the base of the Sphinx.'”
Known for his irreverent witticisms and and his obsessive knowledge about the ins and outs of the Hollywood scene, Bona was “the media’s go-to expert on the Academy Awards and their significance, especially during the annual run-up to the ceremony itself.”
Bona also authored several other books about the movies, including Opening Shots: The Unusual, Unexpected, Potentially Career-Threatening First Roles That Launched the Careers of 70 Hollywood Stars and Starring Demi Moore As Hester Prynne: Hollywood’s All-Time Worst Casting Blunders.
Bona grew up in New Milford, CT and received his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. He later studied law at New York University and was a lawyer for a time in New York City, but he committed himself to writing after his first book was published.
He is survived by his long-time partner, the writer and theater director Ralph Peña.