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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Prosecutors on Monday charged James Holmes with two dozen counts of first-degree murder

Alleged Colo. movie theater shooter James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder today -- 12 counts of first-degree murder and 12 counts of murder without remorse. Prosecutors hit Holmes with dual charges for each death in the mass shooting.
Prosecutors on Monday charged James Holmes with two dozen counts of first-degree murder and slew of other violent offenses related to the recent deadly rampage at a Colorado movie theater.

LINK: PUERTO RICO NEWS: 8/1/2012 - News Review

PUERTO RICO NEWS: 8/1/2012 - News Review: 6:56 AM 8/1/2012 Noticias de Puerto Rico "Noticias de Puerto Rico" bundle created by Mike Nova Description: Puerto Rico ...

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012: Remembering the US writer, who has died...


Gore Vidal, 1925-2012: Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer


Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012
Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer
Mr. Vidal was an elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012


‎"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so." Gore Vidal, 1925-2012.

Photograph: AP

Here are Remembering the US writer, who has died...

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Gore Vidal, iconoclastic author, dies at 86
Los Angeles Times
... deaths of 2012 · 'The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal' · Gore Vidal dies: Cultural icon made his mark on Broadway. By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times. July 31, 2012, 10:56 p.m.. Gore Vidal was impossible to categorize, which was exactly the way he ...
Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic WriterNew York Times
A look back at Gore VidalCNN (blog)
Celebrated author, playwright Gore Vidal dies at 86NBCNews.com
USA TODAY -The Guardian -Washington Post
all 1,052 news articles »

Gore Vidal dies at 86
Washington Post
1, 2012 - Author and playwright Gore Vidal died in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He wrote hundreds of essays and many best-selling novels in his long career. (/Associated Press) Correction: Clarification: E-mail · Save/Share · Embed · Comments · Permalink ...

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Video of the Day: Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley in 1968
The Atlantic
Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday at 86, is being eulogized almost entirely as a "man of letters." But the author was also a man of politics. An outspoken liberal, he ran against Jerry Brown for Senate in California in 1982 and also for the House in New York.

via gore vidal - Google News on 7/31/12

Gore Vidal, celebrated author, playwright, dies
Monterey County Herald
19, 2009 file photo, actress Joanne Woodward, left, stands by as Gore Vidal speaks at the National Book Awards in New York. Woodward presented Vidal with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Vidal died Tuesday, July 31, 2012, ...

Author, playwright Gore Vidal dead at 86
Duluth News Tribune
Gore Vidal tosses barbs in all directions as he discusses Hollywood unions, politics, lecturing and publicizing books during an interview in Los Angeles in this Dec. 9, 1974, file photo. Vidal died Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at his home in Los Angeles. He ...
AP PHOTOS: Scenes from massive Indian power outageKFVS

all 7 news articles »

The Independent (blog)

Snoop Lion, #WiggoWednesday, Gore Vidal, Zara Phillips
The Independent (blog)
Snoop Lion, #WiggoWednesday, Gore Vidal, Zara Phillips. Ellen E Jones. By Ellen E Jones · Notebook; Wednesday, 1 August 2012 at 9:30 am. ecsImg657574 3923809574652352358 225x300 Snoop Lion, #WiggoWednesday, Gore Vidal, Zara Phillips ...

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Author Gore Vidal dead at 86 Add to ...
Globe and Mail
Author Gore Vidal dead at 86 Add to ... AP Video. Published Wednesday, Aug. 01 2012, 2:31 AM EDT. Last updated Wednesday, Aug. 01 2012, 2:31 AM EDT. Author and playwright Gore Vidal died in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He wrote hundreds of essays ...

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Gore Vidal tribute: Erica Wagner and Jonathan Miller
BBC News
Gore Vidal, who wrote two dozen novels, countless essays and screenplays, and gave a lifelong commentary on the USA and its habits, has died aged 86. After listening to an extract of the author reading from his memoirs, Point to Point Navigation, on ...


How Christopher Hitchens fell out with Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal was an influential figure in the life of Christopher Hitchens, the writer, broadcaster and polemicist who died in December 2011. Hitchens once wrote about how Gore Vidal had advised him never to miss a chance either to have sex or to appear ...

Top Stories: India Blackouts Infuriate Millions; Gore Vidal Dies
NPR (blog)
Top Stories: India Blackouts Infuriate Millions; Gore Vidal Dies. Categories: Morning roundup. 08:21 am. August 1, 2012. Twitter; Facebook; E-mail; Share. Stumble Upon · Reddit · Linkedin · Digg · What is this? Share. Print; Comments (). by Korva ...

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via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by The Huffington Post News Editors on 7/31/12
In a world more to his liking, Gore Vidal might have been president, or even king. He had an aristocrat's bearing – tall, handsome and composed – and an authoritative baritone ideal for summoning an aide or courtier.

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by admin on 7/31/12
The official website of Gore Vidal. ... In Memoriam. Left: Warrant Officer Junior Grade Gore Vidal circa 1944, the Gore Vidal Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University; right: Gore Vidal in 2006 © Stathis Orphanos ...

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by dcrisscnn on 7/31/12
Gore Vidal, an eclectic author who chronicled major cultural shifts in the United States in books, essays and plays, has died at his Los Angeles home. He was 86.

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by THE DEADLINE TEAM on 7/31/12
Hollywood favorite Gore Vidal, a literary powerhouse, essayist, screenwriter and political activist, has died. Vidal passed away today at his Hollywood Hil.

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by Jason Boog on 7/31/12
The novelist and essayist Gore Vidal has passed away. He was 86 years old. He wrote many novels, screenplays and a bookshelf full of inspiring essays. His novels included: Myra Breckinridge, Burr , Lincoln, 1876, Empire, ...

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by THE DEADLINE TEAM on 7/31/12
Gore Vidal, a literary powerhouse, essayist, screenwriter and political activist, has died. Vidal passed away today at his home from complications of pneum.

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by Alex Alvarez on 8/1/12
uthor and playwright Gore Vidal has passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 86, leaving behind him a literary body of work spanning several decades and touching upon such issues as sexuality, pop culture and (most ...

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by Attaturk on 8/1/12
There are three definite things you could say about Gore Vidal.

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades) on 7/31/12
Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los ...

via gore vidal - Google Blog Search by Agence France-Presse on 7/31/12
US novelist Gore Vidal, the iconoclastic commentator on American life and history in works like “Lincoln” and “Myra Breckenridge”, has died at age 86, the Los Angeles Times reported. The writer's newphew Burr Steers said ...


Gore Vidal quotes: 26 of the best

Read by 2,889 people

"I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television."

"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."

"A narcissist is someone better looking than you are."

"Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so."

"Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice like, Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin."

"Envy is the central fact of American life."

"Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little."

"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven't seen them since."

"Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be."

"Andy Warhol is the only genius I've ever known with an IQ of 60"

"A good deed never goes unpunished."

"All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting to encounter yourself."

"Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."

"Fifty percent of people won't vote, and fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent."

"Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences."

"The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return"

"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."

"The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes."

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."

"Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine."

"We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic."

"As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not
the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to
be these days."

"Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself."

"Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die."

"There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices."

"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."

   Mike Nova

 Gore Vidal: "Envy is the central fact of American life."

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal quotes: 26 of the best

The New York Times

August 1, 2012

Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer

Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said by telephone.
Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy.
Perhaps more than any other American writer except Norman Mailer or Truman Capote, Mr. Vidal took great pleasure in being a public figure. He twice ran for office — in 1960, when he was the Democratic Congressional candidate for the 29th District in upstate New York, and in 1982, when he campaigned in California for a seat in the Senate — and though he lost both times, he often conducted himself as a sort of unelected shadow president. He once said, “There is not one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”
Mr. Vidal was an occasional actor, appearing, for example, in animated form on “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” in the movie version of his own play “The Best Man,” and in the Tim Robbins movie “Bob Roberts,” in which he played an aging, epicene version of himself. He was a more than occasional guest on TV talk shows, where his poise, wit, looks and charm made him such a regular that Johnny Carson offered him a spot as a guest host of “The Tonight Show.”
Television was a natural medium for Mr. Vidal, who in person was often as cool and detached as he was in his prose. “Gore is a man without an unconscious,” his friend the Italian writer Italo Calvino once said. Mr. Vidal said of himself: “I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.”
Mr. Vidal loved conspiracy theories of all sorts, especially the ones he imagined himself at the center of, and he was a famous feuder; he engaged in celebrated on-screen wrangles with Mailer, Capote and William F. Buckley Jr. Mr. Vidal did not lightly suffer fools — a category that for him comprised a vast swath of humanity, elected officials especially — and he was not a sentimentalist or a romantic. “Love is not my bag,” he said.
By the time he was 25, he had already had more than 1,000 sexual encounters with both men and women, he boasted in his memoir “Palimpsest.” Mr. Vidal tended toward what he called “same-sex sex,” but frequently declared that human beings were inherently bisexual, and that labels like gay (a term he particularly disliked) or straight were arbitrary and unhelpful. For 53 years, he had a live-in companion, Howard Austen, a former advertising executive, but the secret of their relationship, he often said, was that they had never slept together.
Mr. Vidal sometimes claimed to be a populist — in theory, anyway — but he was not convincing as one. Both by temperament and by birth he was an aristocrat.
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal Jr. was born on Oct. 3, 1925, at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where his father, Eugene, had been an All-American football player and a track star and had returned as a flying instructor and assistant football coach. An aviation pioneer, Eugene Vidal Sr. went on to found three airlines, including one that became T.W.A. He was director of the Bureau of Air Commerce under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mr. Vidal’s mother, Nina, was an actress and socialite and the daughter of Thomas Pryor Gore, the Democratic senator from Oklahoma. (Mr. Vidal was distantly related to former Vice President Al Gore.)
Mr. Vidal, who once said he had grown up in “the House of Atreus,” detested his mother, whom he frequently described as a bullying, self-pitying alcoholic. She and Mr. Vidal’s father divorced in 1935, and she married Hugh D. Auchincloss, the stepfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — a connection that Mr. Vidal never tired of bringing up. After her remarriage, Mr. Vidal lived with his mother at Merrywood, the Auchincloss family estate in Virginia, but his fondest memories were of the years the family spent at his maternal grandfather’s sprawling home in the Rock Creek Park neighborhood of Washington. He loved to read to his grandfather, who was blind, and sometimes accompanied him onto the Senate floor. Mr. Vidal’s lifelong interest in politics began to stir back then, and from his grandfather, an America Firster, he probably also inherited his unwavering isolationist beliefs.
Mr. Vidal attended St. Albans School in Washington, where he lopped off his Christian names and became simply Gore Vidal, which he considered more literary-sounding. Though he shunned sports himself, he formed an intense romantic and sexual friendship — the most important of his life, he later said — with Jimmie Trimble, one of the school’s best athletes. Trimble was his “ideal brother,” his “other half,” Mr. Vidal said, the only person with whom he ever felt wholeness. Jimmie’s premature death at Iwo Jima in World War II at once sealed off their relationship in a glow of A. E. Housman-like early perfection, and seemingly made it impossible for Mr. Vidal ever to feel the same way about anyone else.
After leaving St. Albans in 1939, Mr. Vidal spent a year at the Los Alamos Ranch School in New Mexico before enrolling at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He published stories and poems in the Exeter literary magazine, but he was an indifferent student who excelled mostly at debating. A classmate, the writer John Knowles, later used him as the model for Brinker Hadley, the know-it-all conspiracy theorist in “A Separate Peace,” his Exeter-based novel.
Mr. Vidal graduated from Exeter at 17 — only by cheating, he later admitted, on virtually every math exam — and enlisted in the Army, where he became first mate on a freight supply ship in the Aleutian Islands. He began work on “Williwaw,” a novel set on a troopship and published in 1946 while Mr. Vidal was an associate editor at the publishing company E. P. Dutton, a job he soon gave up. Written in a pared-down, Hemingway-like style, “Williwaw” (the title is a meteorological term for a sudden wind out of the mountains) won some admiring reviews but gave little clue to the kind of writer Mr. Vidal would become. Neither did his second book, “In a Yellow Wood” (1947), about a brokerage clerk and his wartime Italian mistress, which Mr. Vidal later said was so bad, he couldn’t bear to reread it. He nevertheless became a glamorous young literary figure, pursued by Anaïs Nin and courted by Christopher Isherwood and Tennessee Williams.
In 1948 Mr. Vidal published “The City and the Pillar,” which was dedicated to J. T. (Jimmie Trimble). It is what we would now call a coming-out story, about a handsome, athletic young Virginia man who gradually discovers that he is homosexual. By today’s standards it is tame and discreet, but at the time it caused a scandal and was denounced as corrupt and pornographic. Mr. Vidal later claimed that the literary and critical establishment, The New York Times especially, had blacklisted him because of the book, and he may have been right. He had such trouble getting subsequent novels reviewed that he turned to writing mysteries under the pseudonym Edgar Box and then, for a time, gave up novel-writing altogether. To make a living he concentrated on writing for television, then for the stage and the movies.
Work was plentiful. He wrote for most of the shows that presented hourlong original dramas in the 1950s, including “Studio One,” “Philco Television Playhouse” and “Goodyear Playhouse.” He became so adept, he could knock off an adaptation in a weekend and an original play in a week or two. He turned “Visit to a Small Planet,” his 1955 television drama about an alien who comes to earth to study the art of war, into a successful Broadway play. His most successful play was “The Best Man,” about two contenders for the presidential nomination. It ran for 520 performances on Broadway before it, too, became a successful film, in 1964, with a cast headed by Henry Fonda and a screenplay by Mr. Vidal. It was revived on Broadway in 2000 and is now being revived there again as “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.” Mr. Vidal’s reputation as a script doctor was such that in 1956 MGM hired him as a contract writer; among other projects he helped rewrite the screenplay of “Ben-Hur,” though he was denied an official credit. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of his friend Tennessee Williams’s play “Suddenly, Last Summer.”
By the end of the ’50s, though, Mr. Vidal, at last financially secure, had wearied of Hollywood and turned to politics. He had purchased Edgewater, a Greek Revival mansion in Dutchess County, N.Y., and it became his headquarters for his 1960 run for Congress. He was encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt, who had become a friend and adviser.
The 29th Congressional District was a Republican stronghold, and though Mr. Vidal, running as Eugene Gore on a platform that included taxing the wealthy, lost, he received more votes in running for the seat than any Democrat in 50 years. And he never tired of pointing out he did better in the district than the Democratic presidential candidate that year, John F. Kennedy.
In the ’60s Mr. Vidal also returned to writing novels and published three books in fairly quick succession: “Julian” (1964), “Washington, D.C.” (1967) and “Myra Breckenridge” (1968). “Julian,” which some critics still consider Mr. Vidal’s best, was a painstakingly researched historical novel about the fourth-century Roman emperor who tried to convert Christians back to paganism. (Mr. Vidal himself never had much use for religion, Christianity especially, which he once called “intrinsically funny.”) “Washington, D.C.” was a political novel set in the ’40s. “Myra Breckenridge,” Mr. Vidal’s own favorite among his books, was a campy black comedy about a male homosexual who has sexual reassignment surgery and turns into a woman.
Perhaps without intending it, Mr. Vidal had set a pattern. In the years to come his greatest successes came with historical novels, especially what became known as his American Chronicles sextet: “Washington, D.C.,” “Burr” (1973), “1876” (1976), “Lincoln” (1984), “Hollywood” (1990) and “The Golden Age” (2000). He turned out to have a particular gift for this kind of writing. These novels were learned and scrupulously based on fact, but also witty and contemporary-feeling, full of gossip and shrewd asides. Harold Bloom wrote that Mr. Vidal’s imagination of American politics “is so powerful as to compel awe.” Writing in The Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said, “Mr. Vidal gives us an interpretation of our early history that says in effect that all the old verities were never much to begin with.”
But Mr. Vidal also persisted in writing books like “Myron” (1974), a sequel to “Myra,” and “Live From Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal” (1992), which were clearly meant as provocations. “Live From Golgotha,” for example, rewrites the Gospels, with Saint Paul as a huckster and pederast and Jesus a buffoon. John Rechy said of it in The Los Angeles Times Book Review, “If God exists and Jesus is His son, then Gore Vidal is going to Hell.”
In the opinion of many critics, though, Mr. Vidal’s ultimate reputation is apt to rest less on his novels than on his essays, many of them written for The New York Review of Books. His collection “The Second American Revolution” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1982. About a later collection, “United States: Essays 1952-1992,” R. W. B. Lewis wrote in The New York Times Book Review that Vidal the essayist was “so good that we cannot do without him,” adding, “He is a treasure of state.”
Mr. Vidal’s essays were literary, resurrecting the works of forgotten writers like Dawn Powell and William Dean Howells, and also political, taking on issues like sexuality and cultural mores. The form suited him ideally: he could be learned, funny, stylish, show-offy and incisive all at once. Even Jason Epstein, Mr. Vidal’s longtime editor at Random House, once admitted that he preferred the essays to the novels, calling Mr. Vidal “an American version of Montaigne.”
“I always thought about Gore that he was not really a novelist,” Mr. Epstein wrote, “that he had too much ego to be a writer of fiction because he couldn’t subordinate himself to other people the way you have to as a novelist.”
Success did not mellow Mr. Vidal. In 1968, while covering the Democratic National Convention on television, he called William F. Buckley a “cryptofascist.” Buckley responded by calling Mr. Vidal a “queer,” and the two were in court for years. In a 1971 essay he compared Norman Mailer to Charles Manson, and a few months later Mailer head-butted him in the green room while the two were waiting to appear on the Dick Cavett show. They then took their quarrel on the air in a memorable exchange that ended with Mr. Cavett’s telling Mailer to take a piece of paper on the table in front of them and “fold it five ways and put it where the moon don’t shine.” In 1975 Mr. Vidal sued Truman Capote for libel after Capote wrote that Mr. Vidal had been thrown out of the Kennedy White House. Mr. Vidal won a grudging apology.
Some of his political positions were similarly quarrelsome and provocative. Mr. Vidal was an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and once called Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, and his wife, the journalist Midge Decter, “Israeli Fifth Columnists.” In the 1990s he wrote sympathetically about Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the Oklahoma City bombing. And after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he wrote an essay for Vanity Fair arguing that America had brought the attacks upon itself by maintaining imperialist foreign policies. In another essay, for The Independent, he compared the attacks to the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, arguing that both Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush knew of them in advance and exploited them to advance their agendas.
As for literature, it was more or less over, he declared more than once, and he had reached a point where he no longer much cared. He became a sort of connoisseur of decline, in fact. America is “rotting away at a funereal pace,” he told The Times of London in 2009. “We’ll have a military dictatorship pretty soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together.”
In 2003 Mr. Vidal and his companion, Mr. Austen, who was ill, left their cliffside Italian villa La Rondinaia (the Swallow’s Nest) on the Gulf of Salerno and moved to the Hollywood Hills to be closer to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Mr. Austen died that year, and in “Point to Point Navigation,” his second volume of memoirs, Mr. Vidal recalled that Mr. Austen asked from his deathbed, “Didn’t it go by awfully fast?”
“Of course it had,” Mr. Vidal wrote. “We had been too happy and the gods cannot bear the happiness of mortals.” Mr. Austen was buried in Washington in a plot Mr. Vidal had purchased in Rock Creek Cemetery. The gravestone was already inscribed with their names side by side.
After Mr. Austen’s death, Mr. Vidal lived alone in declining health himself. He was increasingly troubled by a knee injury he suffered in the war, and used a wheelchair to get around. In November 2009 he made a rare public appearance to attend the National Book Awards in New York, where he was given a lifetime achievement award. He evidently had not prepared any remarks, and instead delivered a long, meandering impromptu speech that was sometimes funny and sometimes a little hard to follow. At one point he even seemed to speak fondly of Buckley, his old nemesis. It sounded like a summing up.
“Such fun, such fun,” he said.

via gore vidal - Google News on 7/31/12


Gore Vidal, iconoclastic author, dies at 86
Los Angeles Times
... deaths of 2012 · 'The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal' · Gore Vidal dies: Cultural icon made his mark on Broadway. By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times. July 31, 2012, 10:56 p.m.. Gore Vidal was impossible to categorize, which was exactly the way he ...
Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic WriterNew York Times
A look back at Gore VidalCNN (blog)
Celebrated author, playwright Gore Vidal dies at 86NBCNews.com
USA TODAY -The Guardian -Washington Post
all 1,052 news articles »


Ben-Hur Charlton Heston gay Stephen Boyd

Gore Vidal Quotes: Gay BEN-HUR Subtext? (See previous post: “CALIGULA / THE BEST MAN: Gore Vidal Controversial Movies.” Photo: Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, Stephen Boyd as his childhood friend Messala, Ben-Hur.)

Gore Vidal vs. Charlton Heston

Speaking of Gore Vidal’s (controversial) movies, there’s no way not to mention the real-life Rashomon story pitting Vidal against his right-wing nemesis Charlton Heston. So, was he or wasn’t he? Judah Ben-Hur, I mean.
According to Vidal, while working on the screenplay for William Wyler’s 1959 multiple Oscar-winning epic Ben-Hur, he inserted a romantic / sexual subtext into the “brotherly” friendship between Heston’s Ben-Hur and Stephen Boyd’s Messala. That would help to explain the jilted Messala’s viciousness later in the story. Vidal added that Stephen Boyd was in on it, but Wyler admonished the screenwriter (I’m paraphrasing a bit here, as I don’t have the original quote* at hand): "Don’t ever tell Chuck what it’s all about or he’ll fall apart."

Charlton Heston refuted gay Ben-Hur subtext tale

Not surprisingly, Heston always denied the story. In one of his autobiographies, he claimed that Vidal’s contributions to Ben-Hur were minimal (Karl Tunberg received sole credit despite rewrites by Christopher Fry), adding that the "he’ll fall apart" story was a lie inspired by another story involving gay innuendo subtly inserted into a stage play starring Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson.
Now, watching Ben-Hur, it seems that Vidal was right and Heston was wrong. But then again … Gore Vidal recently claimed that a former gas station attendant and procurer got his facts right in his vulgar, nasty book of memoirs featuring long-dead Hollywood celebrities ranging from Walter Pidgeon, Ramon Novarro and Charles Laughton to Tyrone Power, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. In other words, Gore Vidal’s Ben-Hur tale may have been just that.
But then again, when you see the yearning in Stephen Boyd’s eyes whenever he looks at Charlton Heston…
* Gore Vidal recounts the Ben-Hur gay subtext story in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s documentary The Celluloid Closet.