Celebrated author, playwright, politician and commentator Gore Vidal breathed his last Tuesday and left behind a body of published works and remarks that were famous for their unconventional wit and wisdom.
Vidal, 86, passed away at his home in Hollywood Hills, Calif., due to complications from pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers told the Los Angeles Times.
His essays, novels, screenplays and mysteries drew a wide audience from across the world and won him many accolades, including the National Book Award in 1993 for his magnum opus, "United States Essays, 1952-1992."
Vidal also starred in movies, playing himself in "Fellini's Roma," a sinister schemer in sci-fi thriller "Gattaca" and a U.S. senator in "Bob Roberts."
He also tried his hand in politics, running for the Senate from California and Congress in New York. He made numerous talk show appearances as well and was known for his acidic one-liners that put contemporaries like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley on the spot.
Vidal was uncomfortable with the literary and political establishment despite his resounding success in the world of letters. Apart from the National Book Award, he won only a few major writing prizes.
Held in high regard for his independent thoughts, Vidal was better known for opposing wars from Vietnam to Iraq; his political satires; and mocking religion and prudery. Congratulating Vidal in 2009 at the National Book Awards ceremony, writer, editor and publisher Dave Eggers said: "He meant everything to me when I was learning how to write and learning how to read. His words, his intellect, his activism, his ability and willingness to always speak up and hold his government accountable, especially has been so inspiring to me I can't articulate it."
Novelist and literary critic Ralph Ellison labeled him a "campy patrician," the Fox News Network reported.
The digital media, especially Twitter, was awash with RIP messages. With over 540 tweets, including those from major publications, RIP Gore Vidal was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter Tuesday.
Exiled Writer Taslima Nasreen paid tributes, and quoted Vidal: "Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice, like Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin."
Joe Randazzo, stand-up comedian, comedy writer and editor of the Onion, in his tributes tweeted: "RIP Gore Vidal. He was among the very last of a special race of American thinkers. No more blueprints for people like him."
Actor James Urbaniak tweeted: "Aw, Gore Vidal. RIP. Who will carry on the mid-Atlantic accent? It's up to me and Kelsey Grammer now."
Marc Maron, the American stand-up comedian, radio and podcast host, stated: "Gore Vidal is dead. The truth just took a big hit. RIP."
Leading publisher of non-fiction books, the Nation Books tweeted: "Gore Vidal, the greatest essayist of our age, inimitable, funny, wise. We will miss him. Our condolences to his family."
Stand-up comedian and writer Mike Drucker tweeted: "In all seriousness, RIP Gore Vidal. You would've hated us all memorializing you on Twitter, and that's exactly why we loved you."
Hip Hop artist Sage Francis remembered the great writer, tweeting: "I was never lonely. Rather, I was solitary & wanted no company at all other than books and movies and my own imagination. - Gore Vidal#RIP."
Television Journalist Ken Wayne tweeted: "Legendary American author Gore Vidal has died at age 86."
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