Gore Vidal (pronounced /ˌɡɔər vɨˈdɑːl/; born October 3, 1925) is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. Early in his career he wrote The City and the Pillar (1948), which outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality. He also ran for political office twice and served as a longtime political critic.
Vidal was born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal in West Point, New York, the only child of 1st Lieutenant Eugene Luther Vidal (1895–1969) and Nina Gore (1903–1978). He was born in the Cadet Hospital of the United States Military Academy, where his father was the first aeronautics instructor, and was christened by the headmaster of St. Albans preparatory school, his future alma mater. According to "West Point and the Third Loyalty", an article Vidal wrote for The New York Review of Books (October 18, 1973), he later decided to be called Gore in honor of his maternal grandfather, Thomas Gore, Democratic senator from Oklahoma.
Vidal's father, a West Point all-American quarterback who was director of the Commerce Department's Bureau of Air Commerce (1933–1937) in the Roosevelt administration, was...