TRUMAN CAPOTE, American author died (b. 1924) an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a “non-fiction novel” and was co-written by an uncredited Harper Lee, Capote’s childhood friend. Lee modeled the character of Dill on Capote, known then as Truman Persons. A recent memoir by Chicago Tribune reporter, Marja Mills, The Mockingbird Next Door, quotes childhood friend of Capote’s, Harper Lee calling him “a psychopath.”
At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays. Capote, all of 5 feet 4 inches tall and openly gay in a time when it was common among artists, but rarely talked about, was well known for his distinctive, high-pitched voice and odd vocal mannerisms, his offbeat manner of dress and his fabrications. One of his first serious lovers was Smith College literature professor Newton Arvin, who won the National Book Award for his Herman Melville biography.
Capote often claimed to know intimately people he had in fact never met, such as Greta Garbo. He professed to have had numerous liaisons with men thought to be heterosexual, including, he claimed, Errol Flynn. He traveled in eclectic circles, hobnobbing with authors, critics, business tycoons, philanthropists, Hollywood and theatrical celebrities, royalty, and members of high society, both in the U.S. and abroad. Part of his public persona was a long-standing rivalry with writer Gore Vidal (“Truman Capote has tried, with some success, to get into a world that I have tried, with some success, to get out of.”). He famously commented on Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, “[It] isn’t writing at all — it’s typing”