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Gore Vidal

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The novelist, essayist, and playwright Gore Vidal has died. Since I first secretly read Myra Breckenridge as a teenager, Gore Vidal has been one of my favorite writers. He was the son of an aviation pioneer, the stepbrother of Jackie Kennedy, a cousin of Vice-President Al Gore, and the grandson of the blind Senator Thomas V. Gore of Oklahoma, whom he often guided through the Capitol as a boy. He made history as the author of one of the first popular novels to address the issue of homosexuality, the controversial (for 1948) The City and the Pillar. Because of the controversy, he was forced to write novels in the fifties under a couple of pseudonyms. He was a script doctor on Ben Hur, the author of the award-winning play, The Best Man, and the creator of his American Chronicles, which included Burr, Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and The Golden Age, each of which is fascinating and impossible to put down. He had famous feuds with Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and William F. Buckley, Jr. He will be buried next to his longtime companion, Howard Austen, and not far from the great love of his life, his schoolmate from Phillips Exeter, Billy Trimble, a great athlete who died on Iwo Jima.

I have never disliked anything of his that I have read. He was a man of strong opinions with whom I did not always agree, but he was always fascinating to read and listen to. I would not have minded living Gore Vidal's life. I am sad there will be nothing new of his to read.

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I told my partner that story about "Mister Veedle" -- he didn't know that that's was who Ernestine the operator was referring to. "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" Classic comedy. "We are the telephone company... we are omnipotent!"

Gore Vidal was a superb commentator and novelist, and an incredibly bright guy. I still laugh at the "crypto-Nazi" clip that they've been running on the news, showing his confrontation with William F. Buckley.

A great remembrance by noted talkshow host Dick Cavett:


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Tea With Mussolini is one of my all-time favorites! Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Cher, Lily Tomlin, and...oh, my God, Luca!!!!! Oh, what a beautiful young man! He's worth watching the movie for even without this stellar cast!

I don't think Gore Vidal had anything to do with this movie, though, unless we're playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. :atthebar[1]:

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