Gore Vidal, 86 Obituaries

Gore Vidal at arrivals for MOCA 30th Anniversary Gala, The Museum of Contemporary Art – MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA November 14, 2009. Photo By: Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

Novelist, essayist, and playwright Gore Vidal died yesterday (July 31) at his Los Angeles home. He was 86. The blue-blood East Coaster had his first novel, Williwaw, published in 1946; he went on to write fiction (including The City and the Pillar, Washington D.C., Myra Breckinridge, Burr, 1876, Empire, Live from Golgotha), non-fiction, plays (Visit to a Small Planet, The Best Man) and screenplays (The Sicilian, Dress Gray, Caligula, Is Paris Burning?, Suddenly, Last Summer, Ben Hur, The Catered Affair). Often overwrought and outspoken (more so in recent years), Vidal alternately sparred and palled around with fellow literary lions Norman Mailer, William F. Buckley, and Truman Capote (“the only genius I’ve ever known with an I.Q. of 60”). “The four most beautiful words in our common language: ‘I told you so’” was one of his Oscar Wildean bon mots; also, “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”—