Wednesday, 1 August 2012
The author, playwright, politician and commentator, died at his home in the Hollywood Hills on Tuesday evening of complications from pneumonia.
Along with such contemporaries as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, Vidal was among the last generation of US literary writers who were also genuine celebrity fixtures.
His works included over 200 essays and 25 novels, which included the bestselling Burr, Lincoln, Myra Breckenridge, The City and the Pillar, and the Tony-nominated political drama The Best Man, revived on Broadway in 2012.
He also wrote Creation, a novel set in the 5th century B.C. and featuring the Buddha among others. His central character, Spitama chats amiably with Sariputra and is introduced to the Buddha, ''small, slender, supple ... glowing with good health ... There was a scent of sandalwood about him that struck me as less than ascetic''. The Buddha evades or is unresponsive to Spitama's Zoroastrian views of creation, and Spitama leaves; having found ''Buddha's truths too strange for me to accept.''