Gore Vidal (1925-2012)

Author Gore Vidal, 86, died July 31, 2012 in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia.

Vidal was known for his biting satire and fearless willingness to engage with controversial subjects, and he often used elements of the fantastic in his fiction. Books of particular genre interest include A Search for the King: A Twelfth Century Legend (1950); Visit To a Small Planet and Other Television Plays (1956); Messiah (1954); Kalki (1978); Myra Breckenridge (1968) and sequel Myron (1974); Duluth (1983); Live from Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal (1992); and The Smithsonian Institution: A Novel (1998).

In all he published 25 novels, including mystery novels under the pseudonym Edgar Box; two volumes of memoirs; and many plays, teleplays, and screenplays. His numerous essay collections covered a wide range of topics, notably sex, culture, literature, history, and politics, and he won a National Book Award for collection United States: Essays 1952-1992 (1992).

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was born October 3, 1925 in West Point NY. He grew up in Washington DC, and graduated from Philips Exeter Academy in 1943 before serving in the US Army during WWII. He first came to wide attention as a writer with The City and the Pillar (1948), controversial for its frank treatment of homosexuality. He received a lifetime achievement award at the National Book Awards in 2009.

For many years Vidal divided his time between living in the US and Italy, but in 2003 he settled permanently in Los Angeles. Vidal’s partner of 53 years, Howard Austen, predeceased him in 2003.