Joe McGinniss: Author of 'Fatal Vision' Passes Away at 71


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Author Joe McGinniss passed away Monday afternoon after a two-year battle with prostate cancer.

His attorney Dennis Holahan confirmed that he died while being treated at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was 71 years old.

McGinniss has written 12 books in all, mostly well-known for their politically-related storytelling.

One of those books is based on the 1968 campaign and victorious win of presidential candidate Richard Nixon. The Selling of the President 1968 became one of his first bestsellers in 1969.

The Last Brother, published in 1993, was based on the experiences Senator Edward M. Kennedy dealt with within his career and family. The Miami Herald's review stated how “McGinniss makes thoughtful ventures into the soul of the Kennedys and how they created a legend that so beguiled the public.”

In 2010 he published The Rogue, a book based on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. McGinniss made headlines after moving next door to the politician in Wasilla, Alaska, which almost landed him a lawsuit.

An interview with McGinniss on the Today show:

However, McGinnis became notorious for his 1983 book titled Fatal Vision, which recounts the murder case of a former military physician.

Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted in the stabbing and murder of his pregnant wife and two daughters at their Fort Bragg, North Carolina home. The doctor initially hired McGinniss to write his version of the case, but the novelist decided to write a completely different story about the MacDonald case from a prosecuting standpoint. Towards the end of the book he concluded that the former Green Beret doctor, who he claims was addicted to prescribed drugs, committed the crimes.

Fatal Vision was so controversial that MacDonald supporters even accused McGinniss of betrayal in 2012. Yet, MacDonald continues to maintain his innocence, despite the details presented by the novel.

Additionally, McGinniss has written other family murder trilogies including, Blind Faith (1989), Cruel Doubt (1991), and Never Enough (2007).

His most recent work, 15 Gothic Streethas yet to be published, but a summary is provided on his blog.

McGinniss leaves behind his wife Nancy Doherty, five children, and seven grandchildren. His son Joe McGinniss Jr. is also an author.

Image via Youtube