One of the towering figures of American cultural and political life for more than six decades has died of complications from pneumonia.
The novelist, essayist, wit and contrarian Gore Vidal, one of the towering figures of American cultural and political life for more than six decades, has died of complications from pneumonia, aged 86.
Vidal died at his home in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angels at about 6.45pm on Tuesday, his nephew Burr Steers said. Vidal had been living alone in the home and had been sick for "quite a while", Steers said.
Winner of the National Book Award in 1993, Vidal's literary output was prodigious, with more than 20 novels, including the transsexual satire Myra Breckinridge, the black comedy Duluth, and a series of historical fiction charting the history of the United States. But his greatest work was, perhaps, his life itself – an American epic which sprawled beyond literature to encompass Hollywood, Broadway, Washington and the Bay of Naples, with incidental roles for almost every major American cultural and political figure of the 20th century. Vidal, who once said he had "met everyone, but knew no one", gave JFK the idea for the Peace Corps, was called in to rescue the script for Ben-Hur, ran unsuccessfully for both Congress and the Senate, and got into a fist-fight with Norman Mailer.