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Gore Vidal Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (25) | Personal Quotes (57)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 3 October 1925West Point, New York, USA
Date of Death 31 July 2012Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from pneumonia)
Birth NameEugene Luther Gore Vidal
Height 5' 11½" (1.82 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gore Vidal was born in 1925 to West Point aeronautics instructor Gene Vidal and his wife Nina. The Vidals endured a rocky marriage divorcing ten years after Gore's birth. Young Gore spent much of his childhood with his blind grandfather, Senator T.P. Gore of Oklahoma. He is also a cousin of Tennessee ex-senator and ex-vice president Al Gore. Vidal would later become the confidant of Jacqueline Kennedy when Jacques mother married his former step father, Hugh D. Auchincloss. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1943, Gore joined the US Army Reserves. Some of his Army experiences inspired his first novel, Williwaw, which was published when he was just 19. He dedicated the novel to J.T., a deceased prep-school friend. Subsequent novels would prominently feature gay male characters, and Gore found soon found his books had staying power on bestseller lists. In 1960, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress, backed by celebrity supporters like Paul Newman & Vidal's ex-fiancé Joanne Woodward. Another unsuccessful foray into politics would occur in 1982 when he ran for governor of California. In addition to being an accomplished writer, he is also a novice actor. His biggest roles to date have been in Gattaca (1997), Bob Roberts (1992), and With Honors (1994).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (25)

Unsold script: Wrote the script for a TV movie, "The Magical Monarch of Mo", based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, which was to star Groucho Marx in the title role.
Wrote under the pseudonyms or Edgar Box, Katherine Everard and Cameron Kay.
Born at 10:00am-EST
Grandfather Thomas Pryor Gore helped create the state of Oklahoma and was first senator elected to represent the state.
Founded U.S. Peace Party with Benjamin Spock.
His father helped start three different airlines.
Cousin of U.S. ex-Tennessee senator, ex-U.S> Vice President and unsuccessful presidential candidate Al Gore.
Shared a stepfather with the late Jacqueline Kennedy when her mother Janet Norton lee married his former stepfather, Hugh D. Auchinclos.
Won a National Book Award (1993) for his non-fiction collection "United States: Essays, 1952-1992".
Uncle of Burr Steers, who is related on his mother's side to Thomas Jefferson's infamous vice president Aaron Burr, the subject of Vidal's best-selling novel "Burr" in 1973.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 132, pp. 395-409. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Is uncredited as a screenwriter on Ben-Hur (1959), although producer Sam Zimbalist had promised Vidal and Christopher Fry, who worked on the script independently from Vidal, screen credit. Karl Tunberg, who wrote the original screenplay before many rewrites by Vidal and Fry produced the final shooting script, claimed the credit. Zimbalist died before the movie ended, and thus could not testify at the Writers Guild arbitration hearing. Tunberg won the credit, but failed to win the Oscar. The film had been nominated for 12 Oscars, and won a record 11, a record that has since been tied. The movie's sole loss was for best writing-screenplay based on material from another medium. The loss is usually attributed to the fallout over the credit dispute, which Vidal made widely known.
Was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward, who broke the engagement to pledge herself to eventual husband Paul Newman. The new couple, who remained friends with Vidal, briefly lived with him in a house in Los Angeles.
Was upset with the choice of Jerry Lewis as the lead in the movie version of Visit to a Small Planet (1960).
Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as author of Best Play for "The Best Man".
Has diabetes.
In 1976, he accepted the Oscar for best writing-original screenplay on behalf of Frank Pierson, who wasn't present at the Academy Awards ceremony.
Uncle of Eric Vidal.
Gore is his mother's maiden surname.
When asked why he was running for governor of California against incumbent governor Jerry Brown, he replied that "the chance to compete against a Zen space cadet is too good to pass up.".
In the early 1970s, a Washington, D.C. television station named the host of their weekly horror movie slot Gore Dival.
Lived in Hollywood Hills, California.
In 1936, as a 10-year-old, he appeared in a Pathé Newsreel landing his father's light aircraft.
He met his long-term partner Howard Austen in 1950. They were together until Austen's death in November 2003.
When asked what his favorite film was, he would usually facetiously name an obscure Lana Turner film from 1944, "Marriage Is A Private Affair", which was also a favorite of his fictitious character Myra Breckinridge. The reason for this was that Vidal knew that Tennessee Williams, a friend of his, had, as an unknown and impoverished writer, contributed some additional dialogue to the film without credit. Williams was always embarrassed whenever anyone mentioned the film.

Personal Quotes (57)

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.
In the next few years, the empire is going to strike back at the Internet in the interest of protecting our children from porn, drugs and terrorism - all of which the U.S. government will claim is being peddled by the Internet. There is not a trick they won't pull to get control. After all, what better way to control everyone's mind, or at least the input of information?
[asked to describe himself in one word] Realist.
A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.
Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. [William Shakespeare] has perhaps twenty players, and Tennessee Williams has about five, and Samuel Beckett one - and maybe a clone of that one. I have ten or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.
[interview in "The Secular Humanist Bulletin", Summer 1995] Once people get hung up on theology, they've lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.
The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.
I'm a born-again atheist.
[in 1988] I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity or Islam -- good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.
Politics is made up of two words: "Poli," which is Greek for "many," and "tics," which are bloodsucking insects.
[5/23/04] One day the Bush family may develop a conscience and they may develop some idea of statesmanship. But that day is nowhere near, that the Bush family will ever be anything but dishonorable. And so, we can't wait, but we've got to discuss how they have dishonored us and what they have done wrong, and replace them - with anything, at the moment.
I find stupidity very exciting. And I'm excited all day long.
[regarding the US being an empire] It is a pointless empire, which gives a satirist like me great pleasure, the fact that nothing makes any sense.
Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.
[interview on Swedish radio, 2004] We pay large taxes to the government. The rich don't but the average working person does. We're the only First-World country that gets nothing back. There's no health service. The educational system is pre-Copernicus. It's a scandal. But the Americans don't know it because they have never been told about other countries. They just know they're bad.
To write a script today means working for a committee of people who know nothing about movies, as opposed, say, to real estate or the higher art of bookkeeping.
There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.
Look, homophobia is fed into every child in the United States at birth. It is unrelenting, it never lets up. They asked a whole raft of high school boys across the country a couple years ago, one of those polls about what they would most like to be in life, and what they would hate to be, and so forth, and what they would most hate to be was homosexual. There wasn't anyone, not one, who just skipped the question. They all said 'oh no, that's the worst thing you could be.'
I don't go to movies for love, do you?
It's realism. Life is mostly luck!
[upon learning of Truman Capote's death] Good career move.
[an interview in 2007] I do a lot of reading of the dead. I finally got around after 50 years to reading all of Aristotlex. He's very good on republics, how they always come a cropper, and why. Required reading. Republics, once lost, don't easily come back.
The only time I went on stage, in the part of Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted writer on Broadway, was right after Howard [Austen, his companion of 53 years] died. Before I knew it, I was standing out there in front of the audience. It was the best thing I ever did. If you want to drown your grief, play on Broadway.
There are no homosexual people, only homosexual acts.
[on leaving La Rondinaia, Italy, for Hollywood when his partner Howard Austen had required specialist treatment] It was an intelligent thing to live in California, [but now] as the American dictatorship gets going, I don't know if it's the right setting to say farewell to the Republic.
The protocols for impeachment are meant to be used. Of course Dick Cheney should be impeached, and then I would impeach the president. They are guilty of high crimes against the Constitution of the United States. We have a bad government, just out of control. We have turned into a very ugly, totalitarian society.
[on America during the George W. Bush years] Never have so many things gone so wrong all at once. Saboteurs and thieves have been in charge of every part of government.
I remember ndfather Senator T. P. Gore] always said, "This whole country is based on only one thing: due process of law, involving Habeas Corpus." The only good thing England gave us was Magna Carta, which he regarded as sacred.
[on his 53-year relationship with Howard Austen] It is very easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part, and impossible when it does.
My grandmother would say, "If it's in the newspapers, it's just not true." That was our automatic take.
William Faulkner told me not to fall into the trap F. Scott Fitzgerald did. He thought you could make something out of a movie. You can't. Go, get the money, go home, write your books.
My father was asked, "How do you explain Gore's courage?" "Courage about what?" replied my father. "It's not courageous if you don't care what people think of you." He had my number. Of course, one does care, but which kind of people is the question.
[on working in Hollywood in the 1950s] We did too much. Someone would ring up and say, "We've got a bar, a bedroom and a kind of ballroom. We've got Paul Newman and Vincent J. Donehue is going to direct. Can you think of a play?" In three or four days you'd write something to fit the sets and the cast.
[on post-WW2 America, from 1945-1950] For the first time, the US was not involved in a war. The Depression was over. Suddenly, there were 13 million of us who'd served in the military and were home. There was a cultural burst that Americans had never known before: we became number one for things like ballet. We had dozens of first-rate poets, several not so bad novelists, wonderful music, Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland. It was a great moment, and it lasted for five years. Then the Korean War came, and we've never stopped being at war since.
The best thing about being Anglophone is that you have two countries.
Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.
Shit has its own integrity.
[on John McCain's 2008 Republican presidential campaign] Anyone could beat McCain! I've never met anyone in America who has the slightest respect for him. He went to a private school and came bottom of his class. He smashed up his aeroplane and became a prisoner of war, which he is trying to parlay into "war hero". He's a goddamned fool. He was on television talking about mortgages, and it was quite clear he does not know what a mortgage is. His head rattles as he walks.
But John F. Kennedy had great charm. So has Barack Obama. He's better educated than Jack. And he's been a working senator. Jack never went to the office - he wanted the presidency and his father bought it for him.
I never believed in John F. Kennedy's charisma. He was one of our worst presidents. Robert F. Kennedy was a phony, a little Torquemada and their father [Joseph P. Kennedy] was a crook--should have been in jail.
[on Barack Obama's 2008 Democratic Party nomination campaign] I liked the idea of him, but he never managed to get my interest. I was brought around by his overall intelligence - specifically when he did his speech on race and religion. He's our best demagogue since Huey Long or Martin Luther King.
[on Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 Democratic Party nomination campaign] I think her strategy is more or less insane. I'd always rather liked her. She's a perfectly able lawyer . . . But this long campaign, this daily search for the grail, has driven her crazy.
The George W. Bush people have virtually got rid of Magna Carta and habeas corpus. In a normal republic I would probably have raised an army and overthrown them. It will take a hundred years to put it all back.
[commenting on the giant Jerusalem set for Ben-Hur (1959)] This Jerusalem is the Jerusalem of Jesus Christ. He could move through the city and feel that He was absolutely at home. He would know where to go to order a pizza.
[on Truman Capote] Capote should be heard, not read.
Those presidential ninnies should stick to throwing out baseballs and leave the important matters to serious people.
[on writer Carson McCullers] Of all our Southern writers, Carson McCullers is the one most likely to endure.
(When asked by interviewer David Frost if his first sexual experience was heterosexual or homosexual) I was too polite to ask.
(On Anita Bryant) As to Anita's fear that she'll be assassinated? The only people who might shoot Anita Bryant are music lovers.
Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.
It's easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part and impossible, I have observed, when it does.
[on William F. Buckley] Looks and sounds not unlike Hitler, but without the charm.
[on Ronald Reagan] A triumph of the embalmer's art.
[ on his role at a christening] Always a godfather, never a god.
[observation, 1973] The bad movies we made twenty years ago are now regarded in altogether too many circles as important aspects of what the new illiterates want to believe is the only significant art form of the twentieth century. An entire generation has been brought up to admire the product of that era. Like so many dinosaur droppings, the old Hollywood films have petrified into something rich, strange, numinous-golden. For any survivor of the Writers' Table, it is astonishing to find young directors like Bertolucci, Bogdanovich, Truffaut reverently repeating or echoing or paying homage to the sort of kitsch we created first time round..
When you get to a certain age, a juicy lawsuit is sometimes the only thing that gets you up in the morning.

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