Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (/ˌɡɔr vɨˈdɑːl/; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 -- July 31, 2012) was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. As a well-known public intellectual, he was known for his patrician manner and witty aphorisms. Vidal's grandfather was the U.S. Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma.
Vidal was a lifelong Democrat; he ran for political office twice and was a longtime political commentator. As well known for his essays as his novels, Vidal wrote for The Nation, New Statesman, the New York Review of Books and Esquire. Vidal's major subject was America, and through his essays and media appearances he was a longtime critic of American foreign policy. He developed this into a portrayal of the United States as a decaying empire from the 1980s onwards. He was also known for his well-publicized spats with such figures as Norman Mailer, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Truman Capote. His most widely regarded social novel was Myra Breckinridge; his best known historical novels included Julian, Burr, and Lincoln. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), outraged conservative critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality. Vidal always rejected the terms of "homosexual" and "heterosexual" as inherently false, claiming that the vast majority of individuals had the potential to be pansexual. His screenwriting credits included the epic historical drama Ben-Hur (1959), into which he claimed he had written a "gay subplot." Ben-Hur won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
At the time of his death, he was the last of a generation of American writers who had served during World War II, including J. D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Joseph Heller. Perhaps best remembered for his caustic wit, he has been described as the 20th century's answer to Oscar Wilde.
Media appearances: CBS Reports: The Homosexuals (1967) Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976 — 7 episodes) — as himself Profile of a Writer: Gore Vidal — RM Productions (1979 documentary film) Gore Vidal: The Man Who Said No (1983 documentary film) Weekend In Wallop (1984) Vidal in Venice — Antelope Films for Channel Four Television (1987 documentary film) Bob Roberts — as Senator Brickley Paiste (1992 film) With Honors — Plays the pessimistic and right-wing Prof. Pitkannan (1994 film) The Celluloid Closet (1995 documentary film) Gattaca — Plays Director Josef in science-fiction film (1997) Shadow Conspiracy — Plays Congressman Paige Political Thriller (1997) Igby Goes Down (2001 film) — School headmaster (uncredited) The Education of Gore Vidal (2003) Documentary by Deborah Dickson, aired in the US on PBS Thinking XXX (2004 documentary) Da Ali G Show (2004 TV) Why We Fight (2005 film) Inside Deep Throat (2005 film) One Bright Shining Moment (2005 film) Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005 spoof trailer) Foreign Correspondent — with former NSW premier Bob Carr The U.S. Versus John Lennon (2006 film) Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra concert, August 2, 2007 — Narrated Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait (conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas) from a wheelchair. The Henry Rollins Show (2007 TV) The Simpsons episode: "Moe'N'a Lisa" Family Guy episode: "Mother Tucker" Alex Jones radio show Jon Wiener's radio program in Los Angeles Terrorstorm: Final Cut Special Edition (2007) Lateline — ABC Television Australia Interview (May 2, 2008) Democracy Now — interview: on the Bush Presidency, History and the "United States of Amnesia" (May 14, 2008) The South Bank Show (May 18, 2008) Hardtalk — BBC News (May 22, 2008) The Andrew Marr Show (May 25, 2008) The US is not a republic anymore (June, 2008) Zero: An Investigation Into 9/11 (June, 2008) Interview on the BBC's US Presidential Election Coverage with David Dimbleby (November 04, 2008) "Writer Against the Grain": Gore Vidal in conversation with Jay Parini at the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar (audio, 59:09) Real Time with Bill Maher (April 10, 2009) Shrink (2009 film) "Gore Vidal's America" on The Real News Network (December 24, 2010) What's My Line? occasional guest panelist (early 1960s)