Literary Legend Gore Vidal Dies at 86

Celebrity News Aug. 1, 2012 AT 8:40AM
 American writer Gore Vidal poses during a portrait session held on March 20, 1983 in Paris, France. American writer Gore Vidal poses during a portrait session held on March 20, 1983 in Paris, France. Credit: Ulf Andersen/Getty images

Rest in peace, Gore Vidal.

The outspoken, brilliant and trailblazing literary icon died Tuesday at home in the Hollywood Hills due to complications from pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers told the Los Angeles Times.

The author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and gay icon was 86 years old, whose most well-known novels were Myra Breckinridge, Two Sisters and Lincoln. His 1948 novel, The City and the Pillar, was revolutionary at the time, centering around a protagonist who struggles to come out as gay.

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In addition to 24 novels, Vidal (whose peers included Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams) wrote prolifically for TV, film, and the stage, including his Broadway play The Best Man, which was recently revived this year, starring James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury and Eric McCormack.

Consistently outspoken about politics and gay rights, Vidal (born to a politically prominent family and close with Jackie Kennedy) once ran unsuccessfully for a seat in New York's heavily conservative 29th congressional seat -- and was well-known for his fearless wit.

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He and longtime companion Howard Austen were together for 53 years before Austen's 2003 death, which he wrote about in his 2006 memoir Point to Point Navigation.

"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."

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