US author Gore Vidal dies aged 86

 

Celebrated US writer and commentator Gore Vidal dies aged 86

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Celebrated writer and political commentator Gore Vidal has died aged 86, his family has confirmed.

He died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, with the cause of death believed to be complications from pneumonia.

Gore Vidal produced 25 novels, including the best-selling Burr and Myra Breckenridge, more than 200 essays and several plays.

He also ran for political office twice and was a well-known commentator.

His nephew Burr Steers told US media that his uncle had been ill "for quite a while".

Sir David Frost, who interviewed Vidal, paid tribute to the writer saying he was "a great literary figure".

"He was also an outstanding subject for interviews," he told the BBC.

He was among a generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities - fixtures on chat shows and in gossip columns.

His circle included Tennessee Williams, Orson Welles and Frank Sinatra.

He was also closely linked to the Kennedy family, becoming a confidant of Jackie Kennedy, who was his stepsister.

Vidal ran for a seat in Congress in 1960 and again in 1982, but lost both times.

Legendary feuds

He wrote his first book aged 19 and later went on to become one of America's most distinguished authors.

But his career path was not straightforward.

Gore Vidal was a literary, political and intellectual heavyweight of global stature.

He said he really wanted to be a politician but found he was born a writer. He got around the problem by inserting politics into his work - whether that was social critique, or American history or essays on the contemporary political scene.

He was a passionate isolationist, who believe the two great evils of the world were hypocrisy and dishonesty - and said that, in America, he found a way to explore them both ad nauseam.

His second book, The City and the Pillar, tackled homosexuality, making it highly controversial at the time.

Bookshops refused to stock it, and he was ostracised for most of the 1950s and forced to work under pseudonyms.

In the late 1950s he began to write under his own name again, working on the screenplay to Ben Hur, among other films.

Eventually in the 1970s and 80s he was widely feted for his historical novels based on the lives of US figures such as Abraham Lincoln.

But he was not always comfortable with the literary and political establishment.

He had long-running spats with his contemporaries, conservative pundit William F Buckley Jr and writer Norman Mailer, whom Vidal once likened to killer Charles Manson.

His feud with Buckley was legendary, with the pair coming to blows several times and trading insults on national television while working as pundits on the 1968 Democratic convention.

He once described Truman Capote as a "filthy animal that has found its way into the house."

Born in 1925, Eugene Luther Vidal was the scion of one of America's grandest political dynasties.

His grandfather, TP Gore, was a senator and his father a one-time Secretary of Aviation under President Franklin D Roosevelt.

He was also a distant cousin of former Vice President Al Gore.

He took his mother's maiden name Gore and used it as his first name.

 

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  • Comment number 138.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 137.

    //slouching_towards_Bethlehem
    8 Minutes ago
    112. The Bloke

    He left no stone or argument unturned, because he was properly intellectual. You have turned his questions about 9/11 and Japan into opinions, ignoring his wider conclusions.

    You sound like a dull journalist to me./

    And you sound so tediously bound by orthodoxy that you're willing to launder your hero's glaring faults.

  • Comment number 136.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 135.

    #108jeffrey
    ah yes, that nice mr Waugh, who, when asked by a man laden with suitcases the way the the railway station, deliberately sent him in the wrong direction..an act of petty spite from a true Christian..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 134.

    131. If it wasn't true then it certainly is now!

    I think part of the reason we have less figures like Vidal in this country is that our broadcast media occupies the same kind of space as American print journalism. Whereas American news broadcasting is generally "silly" like our press.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 133.

    In my opinion he was a man of undoubted intellect & controversy from which he was savvy enough to make money. Sometimes witty but often graceless in the public arena, I neither regret nor celebrate his death but, as I suspect he would appreciate, merely note it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 132.

    #126. No, there's evidence that US intelligence was incompetent in the run up to Pearl Harbour. The US didn't need Pearl Harbour. Japan & Germany declared was on America, not vice-versa. Indeeed pre-Pearl Harbour Germany had torpedoed several US ships including a destroyer which killed 50 US sailors

    Equally with 9/11...why frame 20 Saudis then invade iraq & afghanistan? Why not frame 20 Iraqis?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 131.

    I remember him being interviewed by Michael Parkinson many moons ago, he said on the show that 'the British have a very silly press''. I was a bit miffed as a young man about this at the time and thought him a bit of an upstart, but how true his words were then and now. A great talent, I'm sad at his passing.

  • Comment number 130.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 129.

    I myself am a strong supporter of the 'Right of freedom of speech', as I'm sure most people would be if they truly understood the concept. 'Freedom of speech' means you support the right of people to say exactly those ideas which you do not agree with. (Otherwise, you don't believe in 'freedom of speech', but rather only those ideas which you believe to be acceptably stated.) R.I.P Bill..R.I.P BBC

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 128.

    Also I would say false flags take many forms

    Ask Steve Pieczenik (who also reconises 9/11 as a clear false flag) & Robin Cook

    The main picture is to see above what these countries are USA, UK GERMANY ETC

    There is now allot of evidence to show what these countries are being projected as is false! THE KEY IS WHAT BINDS THEM "world Psycho economics" The left right tags are just a device

  • Comment number 127.

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    0

    Comment number 126.

    121 Peter_Sym

    A new pearl harbour (project for the new american century)

    The bit in brackets is the key to what i was getting at for it was this document that suggested that without a "new pearl harbour" the Neocon agenda was Going to be hard to for fill within its given time span so therefore one needed to be created; SEE 9/11

    Though I would say there is evidence to show "they" let PH happen

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 125.

    ~120.
    PatBenatar

    "Kinda weirded out that there are so many "he will be judged by almighty God" comments on here. I don't like to assume a malicious homophobic or anti-atheist intent...."

    I guess many of the posters who mention God or Christ don't know why they mention God either. I wrote "God is great" in post 84, yet it's received so many negative ratings.
    God is all that counts to me :)

  • Comment number 124.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 123.

    //Pancha Chandra
    44 Minutes ago
    A celebrated, prolific, charismatic writer with very strong, deep convictions. ..//

    And a penchant for murderous terrorists and Japanese aggression. Seems like he enlisted in WW2 but managed not to fight. Sounds like he was utterly vile to his lover and lovers.

    The glorification of him by the lefty/luvvies here is bizarre.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 122.

    115 pculbert
    8 MINUTES AGO
    "Now he knows that Jesus is real and is who He said He was."

    OH I DIDN'T KNOW HE HAD EXPOSED THAT OLD MYTH AS WELL.

    SEEMS LIKE VIDAL WAS WELL AHEAD OF THE GAME CONSIDERING "THE JESUS STORY" IS JUST THAT & i'm not saying, as a story, it doesn't have value, FAR FROM IT, after all JCisJD

    PS In the story didn't JC say I am the TRUTH? Vidal seemed to new allot about that

  • Comment number 121.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 120.

    Kinda weirded out that there are so many "he will be judged by almighty God" comments on here. I don't like to assume a malicious homophobic or anti-atheist intent, but I can't see any other reason for it that would account for them being found here and not on, say, Maeve Binchy's obituary article.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 119.

    We've lost a great raconteur,& commentator on the 'human condition.' Its sad to think that we're now to be deprived of his acerbic observations on life & its vicissitudes.

    In an increasingly 'dumbed down' world,where is his replacement to be found?

    RIP Mr Vidal.

 

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