Gore Vidal, celebrated author, playwright, dies
Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills of complications from pneumonia, nephew says
Gore Vidal, the author, playwright, politician and commentator whose novels, essays, plays and opinions were stamped by his immodest wit and unconventional wisdom, died Tuesday, his nephew said.
Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday of complications from pneumonia, Burr Steers said. Vidal had been living alone in the home and had been sick for "quite a while," he said.
Along with such contemporaries as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, Vidal was among the last generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities — fixtures on talk shows and in gossip columns, personalities of such size and appeal that even those who hadn't read their books knew who they were.
His works included hundreds of essays; the bestselling novels Lincoln and Myra Breckenridge; the groundbreaking The City and the Pillar, among the first novels about openly gay characters; and the Tony-nominated play The Best Man, revived on Broadway in 2012.
Tall and distinguished looking, with a haughty baritone not unlike that of his conservative arch-enemy William F. Buckley, Vidal appeared cold and cynical on the surface. But he bore a melancholy regard for lost worlds, for the primacy of the written word, for "the ancient American sense that whatever is wrong with human society can be put right by human action."
Vidal was uncomfortable with the literary and political establishment, and the feeling was mutual. Beyond an honorary National Book Award in 2009, he won few major writing prizes, lost both times he ran for office and initially declined membership into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, joking that he already belonged to the Diners Club. (He was eventually admitted, in 1999).
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Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter One