Celebrated novelist, playwright, and critic Gore Vidal died late Tuesday of pneumonia. Vidal wrote a dozen novels, first making waves with 1948's The City and the Pillar, about a love affair between two male athletes. He won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1993 for his collection of essays United States. Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, the grandson of Sen. Thomas Pryor Gore (D-Okla.) and step-brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, grew up amid Washington politics but spent much of his career railing against U.S. imperialism, self-delusion, and stodginess. Howard Austen, Vidal's partner of more than 50 years, died in 2003.
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