Manny P. here…
Gore Vidal was an accomplished author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and a political activist. His swath of friendship transcended American presidents, Oscar-winning actors, scribes who earned a Pulitzer Prize, and other iconic 20th century figures. He was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward, before she met Paul Newman; and Vidal was a distant relative to President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Al Gore. He was also a World War II veteran.
Vidal’s lineage included a grandfather who was Democratic Senator from Oklahoma; and his father was an athlete at in the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics; and he co-founded three American airlines, one with his great love, Amelia Earhart. His mother appeared on Broadway. Gore claimed she had a longtime affair with Clark Gable. She was also an alternate delegate to the 1940 Democratic National Convention.
Gore Vidal’s body of work was so immense, he was often compared to Oscar Wilde; and his contemporaries — Norman Mailer and Truman Capote. His Hollywood connection was obvious. In 1956, Vidal was hired by MGM as a contract screenwriter. Director William Wyler had him work on a re-write of Ben-Hur, though didn’t receive title credit. He adapted his own stage production of The Best Man to the screen in 1964. Gore was the cinematic author of The Catered Affair, I Accuse, Suddenly Last Summer, Is Paris Burning, and Caligula. His novel Myra Breckinridge was developed into a creative film, but it received scathing negative movie reviews.
As a political activist in 1960, Gore Vidal was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress, losing an election in New York’s 29th Congressional District. Among his supporters were Eleanor Roosevelt, and ironically, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. He campaigned against incumbent Governor Jerry Brown for the California Democratic primary election to the United States Senate in 1982. Vidal lost to Brown in the primary. His political adversaries on television and in print included Mailer and William F. Buckley Jr.
Among his literary accolades: Newsweek once called Gore Vidal — the best all-around American man of letters since Edmund Wilson. The critic John Keats praised him as — the twentieth century’s finest essayist. Vidal won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1993 for his collection United States: Essays 1952–1992. 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. For over six decades, Vidal applied himself to a wide variety of socio-political, historical and literary themes.
Gore Vidal — an ardent observer of post-war American modernism… and a self-proclaimed, unabashed national treasure — was 86.
Until next time> “never forget”