After a valiant two-year fight against lung and stomach cancer, entertainment journalist and screenwriter Amy Dawes died at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles Friday morning, according to her husband Billy Vasquez, who was by her side. Over three decades, Dawes wrote insightfully about movies, television, music, popular culture and the city of Los Angeles. She was the consummate Hollywood insider and contributed frequently to Emmy Magazine and the Director’s Guild Quarterly as well as the Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, L.A. Weekly, Buzz magazine, the Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and Santa Fe. After working eight years as a film reporter and senior features editor at Daily Variety, she served as the editor of Creative Screenwriting Magazine. She also held staff positions at The Los Angeles Daily News and the L.A. Herald-Examiner. She wrote several screenplays, including Deborah Attoinese’s indie drama “Zoe” (2001). Over the years she has interviewed filmmakers and actors including Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Anthony Hopkins, Ron Shelton, Will Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Randy Newman and many others. (See her clips here.)
Her lively, well-researched book “Sunset Boulevard: Cruising The Heart of Los Angeles,” published in 2002 by Los Angeles Times Books, became a Southern California bestseller. In the book she follows the character and history of each neighborhood along that fabled street, from downtown to the ocean, describing the landmarks, lore and pop culture associated with each. Before that, Dawes contributed to the coffee-table book “Imagining Los Angeles: Photographs Of A Twentieth Century City” and “L.A. Unconventional: The Men And Women Who Did L.A.Their Way,” by Cecilia Rasmussen, also published by Los Angeles Times Books. Dawes earned a Masters Degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in journalism from Auburn University.
One of her last Facebook posts, on New Year’s Day, captures Dawes’ spirited joie de vivre, which she never lost. I have spent many enjoyable hours in her company. She will be sorely missed by her family and many, many friends. Could not get a photo in time so trust me when I say that New Year’s Eve dinner included the biggest oyster on the half shell I’ve ever had (like a half dozen in one, and delicious), and all the warm lobster in melted butter I could eat. Followed by “La La Land” on a screener. With Billy Vasquez, Mike Dawes and Mom at Redondo Beach Pier.