Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images.
Gore Vidal, the celebrated and iconoclastic author, playwright and commentator, died Tuesday at the age of 86.
His death was first reported by the Associated Press shortly after midnight Tuesday on the East Coast, and later confirmed by a number of other media outlets. His nephew, Burr Steers, said that Vidal died that evening at his California home of complications of pneumonia.
The Los Angeles Times on his literary legacy: "Vidal was a literary juggernaut who wrote 25 novels, including historical works such as 'Lincoln' and 'Burr' and satires such as 'Myra Breckinridge' and 'Duluth.' He was also a prolific essayist whose pieces on politics, sexuality, religion and literature—once described as 'elegantly sustained demolition derbies'—both delighted and inflamed and in 1993 earned him a National Book Award for his massive 'United States Essays, 1952-1992.' "
And the AP on Vidal as a celebrity: "Along with such contemporaries as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, Vidal was among the last generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities—fixtures on talk shows and in gossip columns, personalities of such size and appeal that even those who hadn't read their books knew who they were."
Slate and "Brow Beat" will have more on Vidal and his legacy in the morning.