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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Truman Capote

Truman Capote (1924 - 1984) was an American author, many of whose short stories, novels, plays and non-fiction are recognized literary classics.

He was born in Louisiana and his early works, including The Glass Harp, are about the South. He then moved to New York, where he wrote scripts for plays and films plus further novels including his 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany‘s. In the early 1960s, Capote's career flagged until In Cold Blood (1965), his journalistic work about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home, made Capote a celebrity.

Truman Capote and Harper Lee were childhood friends who wrote together after school. Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird’s character Dill is based on Capote. Lee was an “assistant researchist” for Capote to help write his book In Cold Blood. Both of them spent two months conducting interviews for the book.

One of most famous parties of the 20th century, Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on November 28, 1966. The masquerade ball was held in honor of The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and cost Capote a total of $16,000. The Black and White Ball was credited with starting an immediate upsurge in masquerade and costume parties.

Capote was 5 feet 3 inches tall and openly homosexual. His distinctive, high-pitched voice and odd vocal mannerisms were bought to life in Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-winning portrayal of him in the 2005 movie, Capote.

Truman Capote, 1980

In 1972 Capote was commissioned by Rolling Stone to cover the Rolling Stones’ tour of North America. And though he set out on the tour and began taking copious notes, he quickly fell out with Mick Jagger and refused to write the article.

Truman Capote had a cameo role in the movie Annie Hall. Woody Allen’s character says of a man he sees: "Oh. There’s the winner of the Truman Capote lookalike Contest."

Truman Capote died at the Bel Air, Los Angeles, home of his old friend Joanne Carson on August 25, 1984. She was the former wife of late-night TV host Johnny Carson, on whose program Capote had been a frequent guest. According to the coroner's report, the cause of death was "liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication."

Capote posthumously appeared on the sleeve of The Smiths’ 1985 single, "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side." English fashion and portrait photographer Cecil Beaton took the picture in 1949.

Capote was name-checked along with a number of other famous people in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1991 track, Mellowship Slinky In B Major .

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