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Velez-Mitchell, Jane 1956-

Velez-Mitchell, Jane 1956-

PERSONAL:

Born 1956, in New York, NY.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, television news journalist. Celebrity Justice, Warner Brothers/Telepictures television, longtime reporter; commentator on criminal cases for Cable News Network (CNN), Microsoft National Broadcasting Company (MSNBC), Court TV, Fox News, and other national cable television shows. KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, CA, anchor and reporter for ten years; WCBS-TV, New York, NY, anchor and reporter for eight years; television journalist in Philadelphia, PA, Minneapolis, MN, and Fort Myers, FL.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Los Angeles Emmy Award and a New York Emmy Award; three Southern California Golden Mike Awards, for KCAL-TV newscasts coanchored; two Genesis Awards, Humane Society of the United States, for Celebrity Justice.

WRITINGS:

Secrets Can Be Murder: What America's Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us about Ourselves, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Also writer, director, and producer of documentary Dancing through Life.

SIDELIGHTS:

Emmy Award-winning television news journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell is perhaps best known for her reporting on the syndicated television series Celebrity Justice. She has also reported on such high-profile cases as the Michael Jackson molestation trial and is often seen as a commentator on numerous cable channels, reporting on criminal cases. Dancing through Life, a documentary she wrote, directed, and produced, won numerous awards. In that film, Velez-Mitchell, moved by the sudden death of her father, looked at her relationship with her Puerto Rican-born mother, a former circus performer. The television journalist spent three years filming the documentary.

In 2007 Velez-Mitchell turned author with the publication of her debut work, the nonfiction title Secrets Can Be Murder: What America's Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us about Ourselves. Here Velez-Mitchell chooses a number of well-known cases to profile, among them that of Scott Peterson, who was found guilty of killing his pregnant wife, the music producer Phil Specter, charged with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, the actor Robert Blake, who was found innocent of killing his wife, and the mother of five, Andrea Yates, who killed her children. Velez-Mitchell also describes how policeman David Camm killed his wife and children execution style, looks at wealthy Robert Durst, who was charged with homicide and dismemberment, and tells of various statutory rape cases involving adolescent boys and their teachers.

As a Kirkus Reviews critic noted, Velez-Mitchell contends "that many [of these crimes] were precipitated by shameful secrets also harbored by plenty of Americans who never resort to murder." Velez-Mitchell argues in her book that such repressed secrets finally erupt in acts of violent rage visited upon those who may be far removed from the initial secret or buried emotional pain. The Kirkus Reviews contributor went on to observe that Velez-Mitchell's "unflinchingly feminist viewpoint" is consistent throughout the work as she examines the effects family, religion, and sexual politics have on such violent crimes. Reviewing the work in Booklist, David Pitt felt that though this approach seemed promising, the author failed to develop it "with much depth." Pitt also found Velez-Mitchell's tone at times glib but went on to note that for readers who simply want to review factual accounts about "recent celebrities on trial for and convicted of serious crimes," this book will prove useful. A similar mixed review was offered by the Kirkus Reviews critic, who concluded that the work eventually "becomes a predictable, grating agenda."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America's Intelligence Wire, January 18, 2003, "Celebrity Crime Analysis with Jane Velez-Mitchell"; June 8, 2003, "Interviews with Roger Diamond, Jane Velez-Mitchell"; November 22, 2003, "Interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Victoria Gotti"; December 22, 2003, "Interview with ‘Celebrity Justice’ Correspondent Jane Velez-Mitchell, Criminal-Defense Attorneys Mickey Sherman, Ted Williams, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Jim Hammer"; December 22, 2003, "Interview with ‘Celebrity Justice’ Correspondent Jane Velez-Mitchell, Jackson Family Attorney Brian Oxman"; December 29, 2003, "Unresolved Problem: Interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Melinda McAllister"; January 17, 2004, "Interview with Linda Deutsch, Jane Velez-Mitchell"; January 31, 2004, "Interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Ahmad Elatab, Gloria Allred"; December 4, 2004, "Interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell, Deb Opri"; January 8, 2005, "Interview with Jack Gordon, Deb Opri, Jane Velez-Mitchell."

Booklist, June 1, 2007, David Pitt, review of Secrets Can Be Murder: What America's Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us about Ourselves, p. 11.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of Secrets Can Be Murder.

ONLINE

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (January 13, 2008), "Jane Velez-Mitchell."

Jane Velez-Mitchell Home Page,http://www.secretscanbemurder.com (January 13, 2008).

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