American author, essayist, and political activist Gore Vidal has passed away of complications from pneumonia at the age of 86.
Vidal first gained notoriety with the 1948 publication of The City and the Pillar, one the first American novels by an established author to portray overt homosexuality without negative stereotypes as a natural state of being. Vidal’s prolific literary career continued from there, writing dozens of novels and essay collections, penning well-received plays and screenplays and even making appearances in everything from The Simpsons to Gattaca.
Vidal may be most remembered for his political activism and razor-sharp critiques of American political culture on Television and in print. He characterized both Republicans and Democrats as virtually identical “Property Parties,” and even almost came to blows with conservative William F. Buckley Jr. while the two covered the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Vidal’s contributions to America’s cultural and literary life were such that Newsweek referred to him as one of America’s best all-around men of letters.