Writer Gore Vidal passed away yesterday (July 31/12) at age 86, complications from pneumonia. Vidal wrotes novels, plays, essays, dabbled in politics and was for a time a star personality and commentator. One might say he was the last of a generation of writers who were superstars, and has often been associated with contemporaries like Norman Mailer and Truman Capote.
His best known works include Myra Breckenridge, The City and the Pillar, among the first novels about openly gay characters, and The Best Man, a play currently revived on Broadway. His first book, Williwaw was published in 1946, his last, a collection of short stories, in 2006. In between he wrote dozens of books, plays and screenplays, along with numerous articles and essays for major publications.
LAST OF HIS KIND
Vidal claimed to have relationships with both men and women and for a time was engaged to Joanne Woodward before she married Paul Newman. The great novelist Anais Nin also claims to have had a relationship with him. In 1950 he met his long term partner, Howard Austen. Austen passed away in 2003. It was Vidal's position that his homosexuality denied him full recognition in the literary community. Others say it was because he mocked both enemies and peers mercilessly. Vidal was a true independant thinker.
To me what speaks loudly about Vidal's sense of self was that he voiced himself on both the Simpsons and Family Guy and allowed himself to appear on Da Ali G Show where Ali G mistakes him for Vidal Sassoon. For many fans of pop culture that may be their memory of him, and hopefully some will be inspired to find out who he was, and read his writing.
In modern times Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray dominate best sellers lists, but Gore Vidal lived mostly in a literary time he helped create. Here's his Wikipedia page, and here's a story about this passing.
For those who don't know Gore Vidal, hopefully you can take the time to get to know him at least a little and honor the writer in his passing. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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Here's the Ali G. episode. ***NOTE: Contains adult content. The Vidal Sassoon bit starts at around 2:30.