Dennis McDougal

Dennis McDougal

Dennis McDougal Biography & Books

Speaker Biography:

Journalist Dennis McDougal (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, TV Guide, etc.) is the bestselling author of twelve books, including most recently DYLAN: The Biography released by Turner Publishing in May of 2014. In a career dating to the 1970s, he has also authored hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and produced award-winning TV documentaries.

Before he began covering movies and media as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s, McDougal reported for dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in journalism at UCLA and won a John S. Knight Fellowship in 1981, spending a year teaching and studying psychology and law at Stanford University. A producer for CNN during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, McDougal has won more than fifty honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award. He is the award-winning biographer of Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Universal Studios chieftain Lew Wasserman and the Los Angeles Times’ Otis Chandler. McDougal was featured in the 2009 PBS documentary that he co-produced about the late Los Angeles Times publisher, “Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times.” He has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach. He and his wife Sharon live near Memphis, Tennessee.

Further Reading:

Dennis McDougal's bio at Wikipedia


...a gleefully acid-etched biography...McDougal presents his caustic indictment with energy and panache.

-Publishers Weekly

Read the full text

The biographer of Lew Wasserman, Jack Nicholson and Otis Chandler returns with a sometimes-scholarly, sometimes-snarky life of songwriting and singing legend Bob Dylan...richly detailed.


Read the full text

A model biography: exhaustive, full of action, and startlingly illuminating. . . . McDougal presents an engrossing showcase of big films and bigger personalities [and he] makes Nicholson's everyday life just as fascinating as his films. . . . McDougal's research is so deep and detailed, his extensive chapter notes could make a fine book of their own."

-Publishers Weekly - starred review

Dennis McDougal paces his excellent biography of Jack Nicholson, who recently became a septuagenarian, with the command of an experienced marathoner.

-The Washington Post

Read the full text

PRIVILEGED SON is a great freeway pileup--part biography, part dysfunctional family chronicle, and part institutional and urban history, with generous dollops of scandal and gossip

-Hendrick Hertzberg for The New Yorker

Read the full text

McDougal has managed to scale the high walls that have long protected the Chandler clan and returned with wicked tales told by angry ex-wives and jealous siblings

-The Washington Post

Real glamour needs a dark side. That is part of the fascination of Dennis McDougal's wonderful book THE LAST MOGUL.

-The Economist

THE LAST MOGUL is thoroughly reported and engrossing . . . the most noteworthy trait of MCA was how it hid its power

-The New York Times Book Review

Read the full text

Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on Hollywood and the movie business, and THE LAST MOGUL is right at the top.

-The Boston Globe


  • DYLAN The Biography (Turner Publishing)
  • FIVE EASY DECADES: How Jack Nicholson Became the Biggest Movie Star in Modern Times (Wiley)
  • THE LAST MOGUL: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood (Crown)
  • FATAL ATTRACTION: How Hollywood Really Does Business, with Pierce O'Donnell (Dove Books)
  • PRIVILEGED SON: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times (DaCapo Press)
  • ANGEL OF DARKNESS (Grand Central)
  • IN THE BEST OF FAMILIES (Grand Central)
  • MOTHER'S DAY (Open Road)
  • BLOOD COLD, with Mary Murphy (Open Road)
  • THE CANDLESTICKMAKER (Rosebud Publishing)


Winner of the George Foster Peabody Award

Nominated for the Edgar Award

Winner of the National Headliner Award

Winner of the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University

Speaking Topics:

  • Los Angeles & Southern California History
  • Evolution of the Motion Picture
  • Popular Music Industry
  • Mass Media
  • Bob Dylan
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Lew Wasserman
  • Otis Chandler and the Los Angeles Times
  • Serial Murder
  • Psychedelic Drugs