15:11 01 August 2012
After being reportedly sick "for quite a while", acclaimed author, playwright and political commentator Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86, his nephew has confirmed.
Burr Steers stated that the literary legend died at his home in Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills at about 6.45pm local time on Tuesday following complications from pneumonia.
Vidal was known for acerbic outlook on American life, an attribute prevalent in his political election play 'The Best Man' (and its subsequent film) and his groundbreaking third novel 'The City and the Pillar' which caused a massive stir upon publication in 1948 for being one of the first major American novels to present homosexuality without ambiguity.
Other famed novels included 'Two Sisters', 'Burr', 'Myron', 'Lincoln' and 'Empire' but major awards didn't come until an honorary National Book Award in 2009. In all he wrote 25 novels, over 200 essays and numerous plays. He also ran for political office twice.
The author was briefly engaged to actress Joanne Woodward before she met Paul Newman. Vidal had affairs with both men and women over his lifetime, but Steers confirmed that in the end Vidal was living alone.
Ironically for a man born on a military base, he opposed major wars such as Vietnam and Iraq. Religion was also one of his frequent targets as was the idea of American democracy: "Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice like, Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin"
Vidal was as competitive as he was witty, as evidenced in famous quotes such as "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." and "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little."
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was born October 3, 1925 at West Point, New York. He died July 31, 2012 (aged 86) in Hollywood Hills, California.
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