Damien Bona

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Damien Conrad Bona (March 18, 1955 – January 29, 2012) was an American film historian, writer, film critic and journalist. Bona co-authored the 1986 reference book, "Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards," a definitive history of the Academy Awards with Mason Wiley, a former classmate at Columbia University.[1][2] In 1982, Bona quit his job as a Manhattan lawyer and moved to Los Angeles, where he and Wiley embarked on extensive research to write a reference guide to Oscar history from the first ceremony in 1929.[1] Much of the research was conducted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library in Beverly Hills, California.[1] The two missed their original publication deadline of November 1982.[1] They submitted the final copy two years later with updates on the 1985 Academy Awards.[1] Co-author Wiley died in 1994.[1] Bona was the sole author of the book's sequel, "Inside Oscar 2," which was released in 2002 and covered the Academy Awards from 1995 through 2000.[1]

Bona was born in Sharon, Connecticut, and raised in New Milford.[2] He earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1977 from Columbia University, where he worked as a film critic for the university newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator.[1][2] He earned a law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1980.[1] He worked as a lawyer in Manhattan for two years before resigning and temporarily moving to Los Angeles where he and Mason Wiley began researching their book on the Academy Awards.[1] After their research in Los Angeles, both Bona and Wiley moved back to New York City.

Bona is the author of two other books, "Opening Shots: The Unusual, Unexpected, Potentially Career Threatening First Roles That Launched the Careers of 70 Hollywood Stars" (1994) and "Starring John Wayne as Genghis Kahn: Hollywood's All-Time Worst Casting Blunders" (1996).[1]

Bona died in Manhattan of sudden cardiac arrest on January 29, 2012, at the age of 56.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McLellan, Dennis (February 20, 2012). "Damien Bona dies at 56; co-wrote 'Inside Oscar' on Academy Awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hevesi, Dennis (February 9, 2012). "Damien Bona Dies at 56; Creator of Guide for Oscar Buffs". New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2012.