Vidal passed away on Tuesday evening (July 31) at his home in the Hollywood Hills as a result of complications from pneumonia.
Born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal on October 3, 1925 in New York, Vidal was raised in Washington, DC and briefly joined the US Army in 1943 following his graduation from high school, serving in the Aleutian Islands.
During his literary career, he penned over 20 novels including The City and the Pillar (1948), Myra Breckinridge (1968), Creation (1981) and Duluth (1983).
Vidal also wrote numerous short stories, essays, screenplays and works for the stage. His 1960 political satire The Best Man was recently revived on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, featuring an all-star cast including James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Kristin Davis, John Stamos, Cybill Shepherd and Eric McCormack.
[Gore Vidal pictured in 1977 [L] and in 2002 [R]]
He was a political commentator and activist, famously coming close to a physical fight with conservative commentator William F Buckley during a televised debate in 1968. The two continued to debate political points through lengthy essays during the late 1960s. Vidal was also deeply critical of US military action in Vietnam and Iraq and the policies of the George W Bush administration.
Vidal made two unsuccessful bids for political office, running as a Democrat for election to Congress in New York during 1960 and campaigning against the incumbent in a Californian Democratic primary for the United States Senate in 1982.
He also made cameos in a number of films and TV shows, and portrayed himself in episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Vidal's long-term partner Howard Austen died in November 2003.