Photos: Joan Didion, masterful essayist, novelist and screenwriter, dies at 87

Joan Didion with a portrait of John Gregory Dunne.
Author Joan Didion in 2005 at her home in Manhattan with a portrait of her late husband, John Gregory Dunne.
(Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Joan Didion, the celebrated prose stylist, novelist and screenwriter who chronicled American culture and consciousness with cool detachment, humor and a brittle awareness of disorder, then turned her lens on herself in books that plumbed the depths of personal tragedies, died Thursday morning at 87.

Didion died at home in New York due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne in 1977
Didion and Dunne during an interview at their Malibu home in December 1977, after the publication of her bestselling novel “A Book of Common Prayer.”
(Associated Press)

The author bridged the worlds of Hollywood, journalism and literature in a career that arced most brilliantly in the realms of social criticism and memoir.

Her essays explored an eccentric array of subjects — shopping malls, John Wayne, sojourns in Hawaii and havoc in Haight-Ashbury — in a style that was edgy, restrained and elegant.

Joan Didion holds hands on stage with Vanessa Redgrave
Actress Vanessa Redgrave, right, who played Didion in the Broadway adaptation of “The Year of Magical Thinking,” holds the author’s hand on opening night in 2007.
(Stuart Ramson / Associated Press)
Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne with a stack of books
Didion and Dunne pose with a stack of their books in 1987.
(Patrick Downs / Los Angeles Times)
Joan Didion reads a book to her daughter, Quintana, as a child.
Didion reads to her daughter, Quintana, then 2, in 1968.
(Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times)
Joan Didion stands next to a group of people in a park in 1967.
Didion in Golden Gate Park in 1967.
(Ted Streshinsky / Getty Images)
Joan Didion sits on a couch in her apartment in 2007.
Didion prepares to appear in a short promotional film for David Halberstam’s final book, “The Coldest Winter,” in 2007.
(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
Joan Didion climbs down a spiral staircase at Alcatraz.
Didion visits Alcatraz prison, which was closed in 1963.
(Ted Streshinsky / Getty Images)
A uniformed official escorts Joan Didion as President Obama looks on.
Didion is helped from the stage after receiving a National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2012.
(Pete Marovich / Getty Images)
Joan Didion stands next to a man with his face painted in Golden Gate Park.
Didion stands next to a face-painted hippie at a concert in Golden Gate Park.
(Ted Streshinsky / Getty Images)
Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne with their daughter, Quintana, in 1984.
Daughter Quintana with Didion and Dunne at her graduation in 1984 from what was then Westlake School for Girls.
(Courtesy of Joan Didion)
Joan Didion sits on an armchair in 1977.
Didion poses in 1977.
(Associated Press)
Joan Didion sits in a theater in 2007.
Didion in March 2007 at the Booth Theater in New York, where an adaptation of “The Year of Magical Thinking” was staged.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)