Gore Vidal biography

Gore Vidal

Novelist, Author

1925 – 2012


Who was Gore Vidal?

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. As a well-known public intellectual, he was known for his patrician manner and witty aphorisms. Vidal's grandfather was the U.S. Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma.

A lifelong Democrat, Gore ran for political office twice and was a seasoned political commentator. As well-known for his essays as his novels, Vidal wrote for The Nation, New Statesman, the New York Review of Books and Esquire. Vidal's major subject was America, and through his essays and media appearances he was a longtime critic of American foreign policy. He developed this into a portrayal of the United States as a decaying empire from the 1980s onwards. He was also known for well-publicized spats with such figures as Norman Mailer, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Truman Capote.

His most widely regarded social novel was Myra Breckinridge; his best known historical novels included Julian, Burr, and Lincoln. His third novel, The City and the Pillar, outraged conservative critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality. Vidal rejected the terms of "homosexual" and "heterosexual" as inherently false, claiming that the vast majority of individuals had the potential to be pansexual. His screenwriting credits include the epic historical drama Ben-Hur,which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1959.

Famous Quotes:

  • There is something about a bureaucrat that does not like a poem.
  • The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.
  • The last best hope of earth, two trillion dollars in debt, is spinning out of control, and all we can do is stare at a flickering cathode-ray tube as Ollie answers questions on TV while the press, resolutely irrelevant as ever, asks politicians if they have committed adultery. From V-J Day 1945 to this has been, my fellow countrymen, a perfect nightmare.
  • Style is knowing who you are, what to say, and not giving a damn.
  • There is hardly an American male of my generation who has not at one time or another tried to master the victory cry of the great ape as it issued from the androgynous chest of Johnny Weissmuller, to the accompaniment of thousands of arms and legs snapping during attempts to swing from tree to tree in the backyards of the Republic.
  • It is difficult to find a reputable American historian who will acknowledge the crude fact that a Franklin Roosevelt, say, wanted to be President merely to wield power, to be famed and to be feared. To learn this simple fact one must wade through a sea of
  • The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity -- much less dissent.
  • On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.
  • It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true.
  • I find in most novels no imagination at all. They seem to think the highest form of the novel is to write about marriage, because that's the most important thing there is for middle-class people.


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"Gore Vidal." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Jan. 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/gore_vidal>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

Oct 3, 1925
West Point
Also known as
  • Eugene Luther Gore Vidal
  • Edgar Box
  • Eugene Louis Vidal
  • Katherine Everard
  • Cameron Kay
  • gentleman bitch
  • Eugene Luther Vidal, Jr.
  • Atheism
  • United States of America
  • Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Sidwell Friends School
Jul 31, 2012
Hollywood Hills

on July 23, 2013

Discuss this Gore Vidal biography with the community: