Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gore Vidal has died

Gore Vidal in 2009
Gore Vidal, American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist, died on 31 July aged 86 of complications from pneumonia.

He is known to have had affairs with both men and women. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality.

He was interviewed for The Celluloid Closet (a documentary, based on Vito Russo's book, surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film). He explained how in Ben-Hur (1958), for which he was an (uncredited) writer, he got the director to agree that a scene between Ben-Hur (played by Charlton Heston) and Massala (Stephen Boyd) should be played as if they were ex-lovers seeing each other for the first time in years. Needless to say, the somewhat right-wing Charlton Heston was not told of this; Stephen Boyd seems to have been happy to do it that way. With this knowledge, the scene takes on a new character entirely.

BTW, it may have helped with Stephen Boyd that he appears to have been gay. In February 2012 Raquel Welch said that Boyd had hinted to her that he 'preferred the company of men', when she showed interest in him during filming of Fantastic Voyage in 1966. Gore Vidal also mentioned that Boyd was gay in his 1995 book Palimpsest.

Added 7 November 2012:
"Just Lucky": An Interview with Gore Vidal

Added 16 August 2012:
The Legacy of Gore Vidal

Added 8 August 2012:
Gore Vidal and his approach to sexuality and gender by Michelangelo Signorile:

Added 7 August 2012:
From This Way Out, a series of LGBT podcasts, the 6 August 2012 edition included a feature on Gore Vidal:
More This Way Out podcasts available here:

Added 5 August 2012:
An article in The Observer by Rachel Cooke, telling of her close encounter with Gore Vidal in 2008:

Polari Magazine -
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