Iconic writer Gore Vidal has passed away at the age of 86 at his Hollywood home, it has been reported, after battling pneumonia.
Gore Vidal’s nephew Burr Steers confirmed that his uncle died at just before 7PM Pacific time, after being ill with pneumonia for “quite a while.”
Vidal was one of the last living writers from a golden age of American literature, writer of the groundbreaking 1948 novel “The City and the Pillar,” one of the first to portray openly gay characters. At the time of the book’s release, it outraged mainstream critics and Vidal’s writings were banned from review in the New York Times for five books following the novel’s publication.
Vidal himself lived an enviable and open life, prolifically boasting many notable lovers over the years — both men and women among them. To call Gore Vidal plainspoken is nearly an insult, as his unvarnished view of the world and its inhabitants elevated direct speech to a very refined form of art.
According to the Associated Press, Vidal’s later years were marked by no loss of wit or pragmatism, and that the author, saddened by the deaths of his contemporaries and wheelchair bound in old age, commented of his feelings on life, God and growing old:
“Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy’s edge,” he once wrote, “all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. “Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.”
Below, a clip of Gore Vidal in 2009 on Bill Maher’s show, recounting the time he accompanied Amelia Earhart to a football game — with a prior exchange:
“Bill Maher: When I said you were the most interesting man in the world, I wasn’t kidding. Amelia Earhart once took you to a football game?
Gore Vidal: I took her, but anyway, yeah.”