Gore Vidal at his home in Hollywood, California, 2008. ©2012 IsaacHernandez.com
Novelist, screenwriter, essayist, playwright, writer, politician
Vidal, prolific author and critic of American policy, died on July 31st, at his home in Hollywood Hills, north of downtown Los Angeles, where he lived since 2003, after years residing in Ravello, Italy. He was 86.
Early in his career he wrote the ground-breaking The City and the Pillar (1948), which outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality. Vidal argued that “although our notions about what constitutes correct sexual behavior are usually based on religious texts, those texts are invariably interpreted by the rulers in order to keep control over the ruled.”
For over six decades, Gore Vidal applied himself to a wide variety of sociopolitical, sexual, historical, and literary themes, including more than 20 novels, eight plays, 13 screenplays, and over 200 essays, including the critically lauded Palimpsest: A Memoir. Vidal’s United States (Essays 1952-1992) won the 1993 National Book Award.
His grandfather served as Democratic senator from Oklahoma, which contributed to Gore Vidal’s political philosophy, critical of USA’s foreign policies. He ran for Congress in 1960 (lost narrowly), and ran for Senate in 1982 in California, losing in the primary to Jerry Brown.
Vidal was a member of the advisory board of the World Can’t Wait.