Gore Vidal came from a generation of novelists whose fiction gave them a political platform. Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City; Kurt Vonnegut became an anti-war spokesman. And Vidal was an all-around critic. His novels sometimes infuriated readers with unflattering portraits of American history.
He also wrote essays and screenplays, and his play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.
Vidal died Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, from complications of pneumonia. He was 86 years old. Here we remember Gore Vidal with an interview from 2006.