Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, 1925 - 2012

portrait of Gore Vidal


Born: 3 October 1925, West Point, New York
Died: 31 July 2012, Hollywood Hills, California

Vidal was born in the Cadet Hospital of the military academy at West Point, his father was the first aeronautics instructor there. His father co-founded three airlines; the Ludington Line which eventually became part of Eastern, Transcontinental Air Transport which became TWA, and, with Amelia Earhart, Northeast Airlines. Vidal's parents divorced when he was ten and he lived with his mother at Washington City, attending Sidwell Friends School and St Alban's School. His maternal grandfather, Thomas P. Gore (whose name Vidal would later assume) was a senator from Oklahoma. Senator Gore was blind, so young Vidal often read aloud for him and sometimes acted as a guide, giving him early exposure to the workings of power. Although he was involved with women from time to time, his primary partnership was with Howard Austen from 1950 until Austen's death in 2003. His fiction often scandalized conservative audiences, his Rocking the Boat (1963) was the first American novel to deal frankly with homosexual characters. He wrote several historical novels (Burr, 1876, and Julian are examples from the Quotemaster's library), worked on numerous screenplays (including Ben Hur), and many essays and magazine pieces. His politics were consistently liberal, if not always predictable, and his attitude to sex was that it was a good thing and your neighbor's sex life was not your affair. Although I can't say that I agree with everything he's written, his skill as a wordsmith is such that I've enjoyed reading everything of his that I've read. He died at home from complications of pneumonia at age 86.

Biography from Wikipedia and The American Conservative

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