Novelist Gore Vidal Dies at 86

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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(fixes typo graf 4))

American writer Gore Vidal, whose intellectual novels, essays and plays sharply examined politics and culture, has died at his Los Angeles home. He was 86.

His literary career began with a novel he wrote while enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II.

But it was his third book, “The City and the Pillar,” published in 1948, that marked his early career. The story about two male lovers was met with a backlash, leading Vidal to abandon novels and shift to writing for the theater and television. He penned the Tony-nominated play “The Best Man,” which later became a movie.

After a failed attempt to run for Congress in 1960, Vidal returned to writing books, producing a series of acclaimed historical novels that many critics considered his best work. These include best selling novels “Lincoln” and “Myra Breckenridge.”

His commentary included discussion of America's decline, and included a controversial defense of anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh and the assertion that former president George W. Bush had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks.

Vidal was known for high-profile clashes with writers and pundits, including Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and William Buckley, Jr.

His grandfather was a United States Senator, and in 1982 Vidal lost his own bid for a Senate seat.