Hollywood favorite Gore Vidal, a literary powerhouse, essayist, screenwriter and political activist, has died. Vidal passed away today at his Hollywood Hills home from complications of pneumonia, according to his family. He was 86. Vidal wrote 25 novels, including the groundbreaking The City and the Pillar, among the first novels about openly gay characters, and the Tony-nominated play The Best Man, revived on Broadway in 2012. His hundreds of satires included Myra Breckinridge and Duluth. His pieces on politics, religion, sexuality and literature drew praise as well as criticism. He won a National Book Award in 1993 for his United States Essays, 1952-1992. Woven throughout his works were anecdotes from his famous friends, including Hollywood stars Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and Kennedy family. His screenplay credits include Suddenly Last Summer, Ben Hur, and Billy The Kidd. He also played himself in Fellini’s Roma, and a U.S. senator in Bob Roberts. He made two unsuccessful political runs, for the Senate in California and Congress in New York.
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