Gore Vidal: Oct. 3, 1925 - July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal - born Eugene Luther Vidal Jr. - died on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. He was 86 years old and had been in failing heatlh for a while. On this page, I've collected some links to writing that appeared in tribute and remembrance.

At left are two views of Gore Vidal's gravesite in Rock Creek Cemetery. You can click each photo to enlarge it.

Vidal bought the site and the stone many years ago as a place for him and his companion of more than half a century, Howard Austen, to be laid to rest. I took these photographs while both men were alive, so there is no date of death for either.

Austen died in 2003, and his name appears on the stone as "Howard Auster," which was his legal name. When they met in the 1950s, Austen was having trouble finding a job in advertising because of anti-Semitism, so Vidal suggested that he change name to the more WASPish "Austen." He did - and was soon hired.

Visitors to the site should ask the folks at Rock Creek Cemetery for directions to Section E, Lot 293 1/2, Subdivisions 2 and 4. They will provide you with a map.

Vidal said he chose this site because it's between the graves of two people who were important in life: Henry Adams, the historian and writer, whose work Vidal admired; and Jimmie Trimble, whom he said was the only person he ever loved romantically. The two were schoolboys together and, Vidal wrote, had a deep and passionate affair. Jimmie was killed in World War II, a tragedy that haunted Vidal for the rest of his life.

Here are some links to obituaries and tributes written about Vidal in the days after his death:

The obituary in The New York Times.

A few years after his death, Tim Teeman published a compelling piece in The New York Times looking at Vidal's final years, which were filled with loneliness, bitterness and pain.

A few weeks after Vidal's death, friends gathered in New York to remember him, and The New York Times reported on the memorial, as did The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Beast.

Here's a piece chiding The New York Times for an error in its obituary that The Times later corrected (registration required for this site). The Atlantic even published a short piece online about this and other mistakes in The Times obit. I alerted The Times to the error on the day the obit was published.

The obituary in The Washington Post.

The obituary in the U.K. Guardian

In tribute to Vidal, Esquire magazine assembled a collection of his quotes and offered some links to other tributes and to his pieces in the magazine.

The Huffington Post published the obituary written by Associated Press writer Hillel Italie

Here's a The tribute piece written for Sunday editions by the AP's Hillel Italie.

Because Vidal's first novel, Williwaw, was set in Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News wrote about him and the book.

Here's a personal tribute by a man - a young veteran turned anti-war activist - who worked with and for Vidal during the last years of the writer's life.


Harry Kloman
University of Pittsburgh
kloman@pitt.edu