Mr. Vidal was an American writer who wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays; and published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of essays. He was known for such best-selling novels as Burr and Myra Breckenridge, the play The Best Man, and for essays on subjects from politics and literature to sex and religion.
His best known Broadway plays were Visit to a Small Planet in 1957 and The Best Man in 1960. In The Best Man, about two contenders for the presidential nomination, Mr. Vidal exercised his lifelong fascination with politics. (He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1960.) It has proved among his most enduring works. It ran for 520 performances on Broadway before becoming a successful film, in 1964, with a cast headed by Henry Fonda and a screenplay by Mr. Vidal. It was revived on Broadway in 2000 and is now being revived again at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre as Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. It was nominated for a 1960 Tony Award® for Best Play and nominated for a 2012 Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Play.
Other plays include Romulus (1962), based on one of his books, Weekend (1968) and the politically charged An Evening With Richard Nixon and… (1972).
He wrote for most of the television programs that presented hour-long original dramas in the 1950s, including “Studio One,” “Philco Television Playhouse” and “Goodyear Playhouse.” He was a contract writer for MGM, and also wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of his friend Tennessee Williams’s play Suddenly, Last Summer.
Mr. Vidal was an occasional actor, appearing in animated form on “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” in the movie version of his own play The Best Man, and in the Tim Robbins movie Bob Roberts, in which he played a version of himself. He was a more than occasional guest on TV talk shows.
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