Gore Vidal: Literary feuds, his ‘vicious’ mother and rumours of a secret love child
He slept with Kerouac, hung out with Jackie O and feuded with Mailer. He’s the last surviving giant of American literature’s golden age. So why is Gore Vidal still so sensitive about his reputation?
Seventeen years have passed, I remind Gore Vidal, since he told a reporter: “This is the last interview I shall ever give. I am in the departure lounge of life.” “So where are you now? Tray table in the upright position, footrest stowed, taxiing towards the runway?”
The writer gives me a mutinous look. “How do you know that I didn’t leave? Actually, I’m more fearful of airplanes than I am of my own mechanism, because I know how to run it.
I’ve had diabetes for 20 years. I have a titanium knee. Which is quite strong. But don’t ask for it in the middle of the night.”
With Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller and Norman Mailer gone, Gore Vidal, 82, is the last truly legendary figure from a golden age of American literature.