Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal Has Died


Gore Vidal, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86. Gore was a crazy guy. There is no other way to describe him. He could write anything. He wrote Ben Hur, or at least made it watchable. It went on to win Best Picture. He wrote a Tony Award winning play. He was among the first people to have openly gay characters in books. If you have never read The City And The Pillar you should. He wrote it in 1948 and the world just about freaked. He was also on The Simpsons. Just an all around do everything kind of guy. Not to say that he could not be an a-hole, because he could be the biggest one in a room. Still though, a very very interesting guy.

The video below is him fighting with William Buckley in 1968. They hated each other.



The video below is Gore Vidal fighting with Norman Mailer. They hated each other.

31 comments:

GladysKravitz said...

My first literary hero. He taught me about writing, reading, the way politics shapes us, and how to use humor. RIP.

nora nader said...

Wow. Is it just me or were television interviews back in the day just fucking awesome! Nowadays everyone is so friggin' PC, no one ever actually says what they really mean. I love the showdown(s). I love it, I love it. Two passionate people not holding back. I sure do wish things were still that way, during interviews, anyway.

Good stuff enty! Love you for posting it.

discoflux said...

RIP, Mr. Vidal. He was truly an amazing writer. And these clips with Buckley and Mailer? That is an amazing peer group from an era of writing that was groundbreaking in its humor, honesty and controversy.

OT, this hits home with his age. My man's grandfather, who is 86, just had valve replacement surgery last week and as I've been caring for him, I realize how fortunate we are that he is so lucid and healthy and what a gift it is that he has been recovering so amazingly well. I love you, abuelo!

Connie151 said...

Old enough to remember the Vidal/Mailer fights on Dick Cavett. You know, back when interview shows were actually interesting.

AuntJess said...

He also had a close Kennedy tie. His mother Nina was married to Jackie's stepfather Hugh Auchincloss. They were kinda sorta loosely step siblings. They were all close for a time but SURPRISE started feunding cause of some drunken argument with Bobby. He then became a vocal critic. Read The Holy Family. Also check him out on Bill Maher from a few years ago. Amazing.

Agent**It said...

Myra Breckinridge (Not the film).

As a young kid in N.E. I remember parents watching Firing Line with William Buckley Jr (Yale) and Open End with David Susskind (Harvard).

I had to watch Buckley and write down 2 new words each week and use them in sentences.

Add in Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer and it was all wonderful and very witty (most of the time).

Wow, RIP . I feel oddly sad

auntliddy said...

Exactly what u said!!! I remember that stuff!!!! It was great!!!! B

auntliddy said...

I remember david susskind show! He frequently had kennedy assination theorists on and man! They cld go on for hours!! I must hv seem macpuder (sp) film 10,000 times there alone! Now this was rad, because it was like 1960's, and conspiracy theories were odd at that time. Its true, on these shows, they spoke as if they were at a dinner party, held nothing back. Nowadays, who possibly has anywhere near the intellect to converse this way??!!

Barton Fink said...

"Oh William, stop licking your lips at me."

Jennifer H. said...

Interview shows were better then because the participants weren't pushing talking points assigned to them by whatever political group they were affiliated with. They spoke from their own hearts and minds.

Agent**It said...

The time Normal Mailer headbutted him and Vidal responded from the ground: "Ah, it appears words have failed Norman Mailer yet again."

Turkish Taffy said...

We were little hippie geek pseudo-intellectuals in high school, and never missed The Dick Cavett show. "Would you like two chairs for your enormous intellect?" Priceless. Wish I could work that into conversation today.

motcollins said...

God, I miss Cavett.

AKM said...

I wish I could have been around for the original run of "The Dick Cavett Show." Damn.

Was gonna mention the JBKO link, but AuntJess beat me to it. That blew my mind when I learned about it.

Audrey said...

Oh, Mailer vs Vidal! THESE are the kind of talk shows that require IQ over 100. Fun to watch. Thanks Enty!

tracynator said...

Interesting tidbit: Gore Vidal was "engaged" to Joann Woodward before she got together with Paul Newman and they lived together as well. They all remained great lifelong friends afterwards (along with Vidal's partner) and had wild weekend parties at a house they shared, I believe, on Fire Island.

I used to love watching Dick Cavett.

smashbash said...

Oh Mr. Vidal
I just watched Gatica not even four days ago. My boyfriend was shocked and pleased to see him in it. It made him like a movie I love. He was hilarious on Da Ali G show. History.... Aint nothin.. But a mystery. Rest in peace you wonderful man. You will be missed dearly.

Agent**It said...

Sorry, don't know how to link. This is the best obituary I have found:

http://www.boston.com/culturedesk/2012/08/01/gore-vidal-celebrated-and-debonair-writer-commentaor/JIf9aii53Q4vg5WHhtfFIJ/story.html

Agent**It said...

Note- the above shows the Kennedy connections to Vidal. If you like history.

dia papaya said...

Thanks Agent! I like history :)

Wahhh! All my childhood heroes are dying this summer. I feel like I'm getting dumber with every passing bc we don't really have modern day replacements... I'm looking at you Kuntrashians.

anita_mark said...

Then there's his quoute in The Atlantic when asked about Roman Polanksi:

"I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?

Here's the entire interview: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/10/a-conversation-with-gore-vidal/7767/# (right-click and open in new tab)

Agent**It said...

@anita- that's a good article.

lazyday603 said...

He is also a second cousin of Al Gore (the 1st name is a family surname). I remember a piece he wrote once on a huge gathering of the American Gores in Atlanta or someplace in the South. Oh and Jackie O inherited his bedroom when her mother married his former stepfather. She used to wear his left behind dress shirts as casual wear.

Agent**It said...

I did hate his support of Timothy McVeigh.

Weekend decorator said...

@Agent**It - thanks for pointing out his nasty comments re: Polanski. When I learned of his death this morning, first thing that came to my mind was "he supports child molesters." I doubt we will see that in any obits today.

Sandy said...

Aw, RIP. My favorite Vidal story was the one he told about his down-low rewrite of "Ben Hur." He claims he and the director told actor Stephen Boyd (who played villain Masala) to act as if his character was in love with Ben Hur, who was played by Charlton Heston. Boyd did it (you can see the subtext screaming in the film) and they kept it a secret from the super-conservative Heston, who angrily denied it years later. Heh. Pretty funny. Good on you, Gore.

doctressjulia said...

Good fucking riddance. One more misogynist rape apologist, dead. And, I REALLY DON'T GIVE A FUCK.

Ogie Ogilthorpe said...

Anita_Mark, you beat me to it.

No pity here for another misogynist rape apologist. Talent, schmalent. It was only a few years ago he called the 13-year-old that Roman Polanski raped a "hooker."

Anybody need tissues? Not using them now.

The Black Cat said...

I use to love talk shows from the 60's and 70's too. People get excited when special guests were on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Dick Cavetts show. I noticed that Oprah changed that aspect of the talk show. She had access to all the big stars but she never asked them the questions we wanted her to. Now they're all so tamed down and boring that I don't bother watching anymore.

Dagny said...

He wrote my favortie book. I am a huge history buff, and love Abraham Lincoln in particular, and his novel of Lincoln's presidency was very accurate and incredibly well written. When someone asks me which biography of Lincoln they should start with, I always point to Vidal's, even though it's a novel. I've read it about 15 times since discovering it in high school. I'm disappointed that I never got the chance to thank Vidal for making Lincoln come alive for me, more than any other author ever has. RIP.

Sian said...

I have never heard if this guy but watched the clips and he looks awesome! The guy in the second clip got owned but it all seemed a bit scripted