'Fatal Vision' Author Joe McGinniss Dies at 71 From Prostate Cancer

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 10:10 AM

By Michael Mullins

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'Fatal Vision' author Joe McGinniss died Monday at the age of 71 at a hospital in Worcester, Mass., according to his attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan.

The author announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer, complications from which led to his death, the Associated Press reported.

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Aside from his best-selling 1983 true crime book "Fatal Vision" and his non-fiction book "The Selling of the President 1968," a New York Times bestseller about the marketing of President Richard Nixon, McGinniss was most recently known for his unauthorized biography on Sarah Palin published in 2011 called "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin."

The book was highly critical of the former Alaskan governor and vice president nominee, alleging instances of infidelity and drug use among the Palin family, which the Palins dismissed as nothing more than "disgusting lies, innuendo and smears."

Prior to writing the book, McGinniss rented a house next door to Palin's home on Lake Lucille in Wasilla, during which time the Palin family said he was a harassing presence in the area.


"This is a man who has been relentlessly stalking my family to the point of moving in right next door to us to harass us and spy on us to satisfy his creepy obsession with my wife," Todd Palin, Sarah's husband, wrote on SarahPAC’s website. "His book is full of disgusting lies, innuendo and smears. Even The New York Times called this book 'dated, petty,' and that it 'chases caustic, unsubstantiated gossip.'"

McGinniss' treatment of Palin was an apparent attempt to repeat his success in covering Nixon some 40 years earlier. He was one of few journalists given access to the president before he turned away from the media.

McGinniss "sneaked in under the radar screen, presenting himself to Nixon's men as such an insignificant fly on the wall that they never thought to swat him away," historian David Greenberg wrote in the book "Nixon's Shadow," the Associated Press noted.

"McGinniss was an emissary from the New Journalism, with his countercultural accents, youthful iconoclasm, and nonchalant willingness to bare his left-leaning political views," Greenberg concluded.

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