|Height:||182 cm (5' 12'')|
|Birth Day:||October 3, 1925|
|Death Date:||Jul 31, 2012 (age 86)|
|Birth Place:||West Point, United States|
|Height:||182 cm (5' 12'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Gore Vidal died on Jul 31, 2012 (age 86).
He attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He rebelled against his peers and his social class, however, by choosing to enlist in the U.S. Army instead of attending an Ivy League college.
Vidal's mother, Nina Gore, was a socialite who made her Broadway theatre debut as an extra actress in Sign of the Leopard, in 1928. In 1922, Nina married Eugene Luther Vidal, Sr., and thirteen years later, in 1935, divorced him. Nina Gore Vidal then was married two more times; to Hugh D. Auchincloss and to Robert Olds. She also had "a long off-and-on affair" with the actor Clark Gable. As Nina Gore Auchincloss, Vidal's mother was an alternate delegate to the 1940 Democratic National Convention.
Eugene Louis Vidal was not baptized until January 1939, when he was 13 years old, by the headmaster of St. Albans school, where Vidal attended preparatory school. The baptismal ceremony was effected so he "could be confirmed [into the Episcopal faith]" at the Washington Cathedral, in February 1939, as "Eugene Luther Gore Vidal". He later said that, although the surname "Gore" was added to his names at the time of the baptism, "I wasn't named for him [maternal grandfather Thomas Pryor Gore], although he had a great influence on my life." In 1941, Vidal dropped his two first names, because he "wanted a sharp, distinctive name, appropriate for an aspiring author, or a national political leader ... I wasn't going to write as 'Gene' since there was already one. I didn't want to use the 'Jr.'"
Raised in Washington, D.C., Vidal attended the Sidwell Friends School and the St. Albans School. Given the blindness of his maternal grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, of Oklahoma, Vidal read aloud to him, and was his Senate page, and his seeing-eye guide. In 1939, during his summer holiday, Vidal went with some colleagues and professor from St. Albans School on his first European trip, to visit Italy and France. He visited for the first time Rome, the city which came to be "at the center of Gore's literary imagination", and Paris. When the Second World War began in early September, the group was forced to an early return home; on his way back, he and his colleagues stopped in Great Britain, and they met the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Joe Kennedy (the father of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, later the President of the United States of America). In 1940 he attended the Los Alamos Ranch School and later transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy, in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he contributed to the Exonian, the school newspaper.
The subsequent marriages of his mother and father yielded four half-siblings for Gore Vidal – Vance Vidal, Valerie Vidal, Thomas Gore Auchincloss, and Nina Gore Auchincloss – and four step-brothers from his mother's third marriage to Robert Olds, a major general in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), who died in 1943, 10 months after marrying Nina. The nephews of Gore Vidal include Burr Steers, a writer and film director, and Hugh Auchincloss Steers (1963–95), a figurative painter.
The feud continued in Esquire, where Vidal implied that in 1944, Buckley and unnamed siblings had vandalized a Protestant church in Sharon, Connecticut, (the Buckley family hometown) after the wife of a pastor had sold a house to a Jewish family. Buckley again sued Vidal and Esquire for libel and Vidal filed a counterclaim for libel against Buckley, citing Buckley's characterization of Myra Breckinridge (1968) as a pornographic novel. The court dismissed Vidal's counterclaim. Buckley accepted a money settlement of $115,000 to pay the fee of his attorney and an editorial apology from Esquire, in which the publisher and the editors said that they were "utterly convinced" of the untruthfulness of Vidal's assertions. In a letter to Newsweek magazine, the publisher of Esquire said that "the settlement of Buckley's suit against us" was not "a 'disavowal' of Vidal's article. On the contrary, it clearly states that we published that article because we believed that Vidal had a right to assert his opinions, even though we did not share them".
The literary career of Gore Vidal began with the success of the military novel Williwaw, a men-at-war story derived from his Alaskan Harbor Detachment duty during the Second World War. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948) caused a moralistic furor over his dispassionate presentation of a young protagonist coming to terms with his homosexuality. The novel was dedicated to "J. T."; decades later, Vidal confirmed that the initials were those of James Trimble III, killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima on March 1, 1945 and that Trimble was the only person he ever loved. Critics railed against Vidal's presentation of homosexuality in the novel as natural, a life viewed generally at the time as unnatural and immoral. Vidal claimed that New York Times critic Orville Prescott was so offended by it that he refused to review or to permit other critics to review any book by Vidal. Vidal said that upon publication of the book, an editor at E. P. Dutton told him "You will never be forgiven for this book. Twenty years from now, you will still be attacked for it". Today, Vidal is often seen as an early champion of sexual liberation.
In 1950, Gore Vidal met Howard Austen, who became his partner for the next 53 years, until Austen's death. He said that the secret to his long relationship with Austen was that they did not have sex with each other: "It's easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part, and impossible, I have observed, when it does." In Celebrity: The Advocate Interviews (1995), by Judy Wiedner, Vidal said that he refused to call himself "gay" because he was not an adjective, adding "to be categorized is, simply, to be enslaved. Watch out. I have never thought of myself as a victim ... I've said – a thousand times? – in print and on TV, that everyone is bisexual". During their relationship, the two would often hire male prostitutes - the control appealed to Vidal. He was always the top.
In 1956, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hired Gore Vidal as a screenplay writer with a four-year employment contract. In 1958, the director William Wyler required a script doctor to rewrite the screenplay for Ben-Hur (1959), originally written by Karl Tunberg. As one of several script doctors assigned to the project, Vidal rewrote significant portions of the script to resolve ambiguities of character motivation, specifically to clarify the enmity between the Jewish protagonist, Judah Ben-Hur, and the Roman antagonist, Messala, who had been close boyhood friends. In exchange for rewriting the Ben-Hur screenplay, on location in Italy, Vidal negotiated the early termination (at the two-year mark) of his four-year contract with MGM.
In 1960, Vidal was the Democratic candidate for Congress for the 29th Congressional District of New York, a usually Republican district on the Hudson River but lost to the Republican candidate J. Ernest Wharton, by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. Campaigning under the slogan of You'll get more with Gore, Vidal received the most votes any Democratic candidate had received in the district in fifty years. Among his supporters were Eleanor Roosevelt and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, friends who spoke on his behalf.
In 1967, Vidal appeared in the CBS documentary, CBS Reports: The Homosexuals, in which he expressed his views on homosexuality in the arts.
In 1968, the ABC television network hired the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. as political analysts of the presidential-nomination conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties. Their commentaries led to Buckley threatening to assault Vidal. After days of bickering, their debates degraded to vitriolic ad hominem attacks. Discussing the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests, the public intellectuals argued about freedom of speech, namely the legality of protesters to display a Viet Cong flag in America, Vidal told Buckley to "shut up a minute". Buckley had likened violent left wing protesters to German National Socialists. Vidal stated "As far as I'm concerned, the only sort of pro-crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself". Buckley replied, "Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face, and you'll stay plastered". ABC's Howard K. Smith interjected, and the debate resumed without violence. Later, Buckley said he regretted having called Vidal a "queer" yet said that Vidal was an "evangelist for bisexuality".
In 1969, in Esquire magazine, Buckley continued his cultural feud with Vidal in the essay "On Experiencing Gore Vidal" (August 1969), in which he portrayed Vidal as an apologist for homosexuality; Buckley said, "The man who, in his essays, proclaims the normalcy of his affliction [i.e., homosexuality], and in his art the desirability of it, is not to be confused with the man who bears his sorrow quietly. The addict is to be pitied and even respected, not the pusher." The essay is collected in The Governor Listeth: A Book of Inspired Political Revelations (1970), an anthology of Buckley's writings from the time.
Despite that, Vidal said, "I think of myself as a conservative", with a proprietary attitude towards the United States. "My family helped start [this country] ... and we've been in political life ... since the 1690s, and I have a very possessive sense about this country". Based upon that background of populism, from 1970 to 1972, Vidal was a chairman of the People's Party of the United States. In 1971, he endorsed the consumer-rights advocate Ralph Nader for U.S. president in the 1972 election. In 2004, he endorsed Democrat Dennis Kucinich in his candidacy for the U.S. presidency (in 2004), because Kucinich was "the most eloquent of the lot" of presidential candidates, from either the Republican or the Democratic parties and that Kucinich was "very much a favorite out there, in the amber fields of grain".
On December 15, 1971, during the recording of The Dick Cavett Show, with Janet Flanner, Norman Mailer allegedly head-butted Vidal when they were backstage. When a reporter asked Vidal why Mailer had knocked heads with him, Vidal said, "Once again, words failed Norman Mailer". During the recording of the talk show, Vidal and Mailer insulted each other, over what Vidal had written about him, prompting Mailer to say, "I've had to smell your works from time to time". Apparently, Mailer's umbrage resulted from Vidal's reference to Mailer having stabbed his wife of the time.
In 1975 Vidal sued Truman Capote for slander over the accusation that he had been thrown out of the White House for being drunk, putting his arm around the first lady and then insulting Mrs. Kennedy's mother. Said Capote of Vidal at the time: "I'm always sad about Gore – very sad that he has to breathe every day". Mutual friend George Plimpton observed "There's no venom like Capote's when he's on the prowl – and Gore's too, I don't know what division the feud should be in." The suit was settled in Vidal's favor when Lee Radziwill refused to testify on Capote's behalf, telling columnist Liz Smith, "Oh, Liz, what do we care; they're just a couple of fags! They're disgusting".
In 1982, he campaigned against Jerry Brown, the incumbent Governor of California, in the Democratic primary election for the U.S. Senate; Vidal forecast accurately that the opposing Republican candidate would win the election. That foray into senatorial politics is the subject of the documentary film Gore Vidal: The Man Who Said No (1983), directed by Gary Conklin.
As a public intellectual, Vidal criticized what he viewed as political harm to the nation and the voiding of the citizen's rights through the passage of the USA Patriot Act (2001) during the George W. Bush administration (2001–2009). He described Bush as "the stupidest man in the United States" and said that Bush's foreign policy was explicitly expansionist. He contended that the Bush Administration and their oil-business sponsors, aimed to control the petroleum of Central Asia, after having gained hegemony over the petroleum of the Persian Gulf in 1991.
For six decades, Vidal applied himself to socio-political, sexual, historical and literary subjects. In the essay anthology Armageddon (1987) he explored the intricacies of power (political and cultural) in the contemporary United States. His criticism of the incumbent U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, as a "triumph of the embalmer's art" communicated that Reagan's provincial worldview, and that of his administration's, was out of date and inadequate to the geopolitical realities of the world in the late twentieth century. In 1993, Vidal won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for the anthology United States: Essays 1952–92 (1993).
In 1997, Gore Vidal was one of thirty-four public intellectuals and celebrities who signed an open-letter addressed to Helmut Kohl, the Chancellor of Germany, published in the International Herald Tribune, protesting the treatment of Scientologists in Germany. Despite that stance, as a dispassionate intellectual Gore Vidal was fundamentally critical of Scientology as religion.
In 2000, Vidal published the collection of essays, The Last Empire, then such self-described "pamphlets" as Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta and Imperial America, critiques of American expansionism, the military-industrial complex, the national security state and the George W. Bush administration. Vidal also wrote a historical essay about the U.S. founding fathers, Inventing a Nation. In 1995, he published a memoir Palimpsest and in 2006 its follow-up volume, Point to Point Navigation. Earlier that year, Vidal had published Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories.
In a 2001 article, "The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh", Gore undertook to discover why domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh perpetrated the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He concluded that McVeigh (a politically disillusioned U.S. Army veteran of the First Iraq War, 1990–91) had destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building as an act of revenge for the FBI's Waco massacre (1993) at the Branch Davidian Compound in Texas, believing that the U.S. government had mistreated Americans in the same manner that he believed that the U.S. Army had mistreated the Iraqis. In concluding the Vanity Fair article, Vidal refers to McVeigh as an "unlikely sole mover," and theorizes that foreign/domestic conspiracies could have been involved.
After publishing the plays Weekend (1968) and An Evening With Richard Nixon (1972) and the novel Two Sisters: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir (1970), Vidal concentrated upon the essay and developed two types of fiction. The first type is about American history, novels specifically about the nature of national politics. The New York Times, quoting critic Harold Bloom about those historical novels, said that Vidal's imagination of American politics "is so powerful as to compel awe." The historical novels formed the seven-book series, Narratives of Empire: (i) Burr (1973), (ii) Lincoln (1984), (iii) 1876 (1976), (iv) Empire (1987), (v) Hollywood (1990), (vi) Washington, D.C. (1967) and (vii) The Golden Age (2000). Besides U.S. history, Vidal also explored and analyzed the history of the ancient world, specifically the Axial Age (800–200 B.C.), with the novel Creation (1981). The novel was published without four chapters that were part of the manuscript he submitted to the publisher; years later, Vidal restored the chapters to the text and re-published the novel Creation in 2002.
In 2003, Buckley resumed his complaint of having been libelled by Vidal, this time with the publication of the anthology Esquire's Big Book of Great Writing (2003), which included Vidal's essay, "A Distasteful Encounter with William F. Buckley, Jr." Again, the offended Buckley filed lawsuit for libel and Esquire magazine again settled Buckley's claim with $55,000–65,000 for the fees of his attorney and $10,000 for personal damages suffered by Buckley.
In the course of his life, Vidal lived at various times in Italy and in the United States. In 2003, as his health began to fail with age, he sold his Italian villa La Rondinaia (The Swallow's Nest) on the Amalfi Coast in the province of Salerno and he and Austen returned to live in their 1929 villa in Outpost Estates, Los Angeles. Howard Austen died in November 2003 and in February 2005 his remains were re-buried at Rock Creek Cemetery, in Washington, D.C., in a joint grave plot that Vidal had purchased for himself and Austen.
In May 2007, while discussing 9/11 conspiracy theories that might explain the "who?" and the "why?" of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Vidal said
In the obituary "RIP WFB – in Hell" (March 20, 2008), Vidal remembered Buckley, who had died on February 27, 2008. Later, in the interview "Literary Lion: Questions for Gore Vidal" (June 15, 2008), New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon asked Vidal, "How did you feel, when you heard that Buckley died this year?" Vidal responded:
In 2009, he won the annual Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, which called him a "prominent social critic on politics, history, literature and culture". In the same year, the Man of Letters Gore Vidal was named honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
In The Atlantic magazine interview, "A Conversation with Gore Vidal" (October 2009), by John Meroney, Vidal spoke about topical and cultural matters of U.S. society. Asked his opinion about the arrest of the film director Roman Polanski, in Switzerland, in September 2009, in response to an extradition request by U.S. authorities, for having fled the U.S. in 1978 to avoid jail for the statutory rape of a thirteen-year-old girl in Hollywood, Vidal said, "I really don't give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of?"
In 2010 Vidal began to suffer from Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, a neurological disorder. On July 31, 2012 Vidal died of pneumonia at his home in the Hollywood Hills at the age of 86. A memorial service was held for him at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York City on August 23, 2012. He was buried next to Howard Austen in Rock Creek Cemetery, in Washington, D.C.
On August 23, 2012, in the program a Memorial for Gore Vidal in Manhattan, the life and works of the writer Gore Vidal were celebrated at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with a revival of The Best Man: A Play About Politics (1960). The writer and comedian Dick Cavett was host of the Vidalian celebration, which featured personal reminiscences about and performances of excerpts from the works of Gore Vidal by friends and colleagues, such as Elizabeth Ashley, Candice Bergen and Hillary Clinton, Alan Cumming, James Earl Jones and Elaine May, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd and Liz Smith.
Gore was the only child of Eugene Luther Vidal and Nina Gore. In his adulthood, Gore Vidal had numerous partners of both sexes and had a long-lasting and, he claimed, sexless, relationship with Howard Austen.
Currently, Gore Vidal is 97 years, 7 months and 27 days old. Gore Vidal will celebrate 98th birthday on a Tuesday 3rd of October 2023. Below we countdown to Gore Vidal upcoming birthday.
Oct. 3 - Gore Vidal's 86th Birthday » Watch McGill University’s ‘Questioning Gore Vidal on the Media’
In May, Gore Vidal was the honored guest at the annual [email protected] Beaverbrook Annual Lecture. Video of the event, in five segments, has been made available online. We are publishing all five of them here today as part of Mr. Vidal’s birthday celebration. via www.gorevidalnow.com