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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal Has Died

The "fact" of the death of the great Gore Vidal bounced around Twitter for half an hour tonight, as I pointed out that it seemed to be based on one line on Facebook and a very hackable web site.  But now the L.A. Times has put a headline on the front page and posted an obit, attributing the confirmation to nephew Burr Steers.  The AP also  now reporting it.  The NYT has a full obit by Chip McGrath. Opens by calling him "the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization."

Of course, where to begin with Gore:  novelist, playwright, historian, movie actor, gay icon, witty and provocative TV debater (see classic encounters with  Buckley and Mailer),  electoral candidate, frequent essayist at my Nation home. He penned dozens of screenplays for TV and movies ranging from Bob Guccione's Caligula to Suddenly Last Summer.  I'm so glad he got to fulfill a dream and become a U.S. Senator--in Tim Robbins' classic film, Bob Roberts.  Jon Wiener at The Nation has a fine tribute, based on his interplay with Gore over the year. Pulse has collected some fine archival things hereThe Guardian collects 26 of his greatest quotes.

From the AP obit "Vidal had an old-fashioned belief in honor, but a modern will to live as he pleased. He wrote in the memoir Palimpsest that he had more than 1,000 sexual encounters, nothing special, he added, compared to the pursuits of such peers as John F. Kennedy and Tennessee Williams.  Vidal was fond of drink and alleged that he had sampled every major drug, once. He never married and for decades shared a scenic villa in Ravello, Italy, with companion Howard Austen."

In 1982, he ran for the Democratic nomination for Senate in California and lost to Jerry Brown--but finished second and got over 15% and more than 400,000 votes.  A few minutes of 1994 and 1995 interviews with Charlie Rose:

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