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Gore Vidal, In Words

Gore Vidal in 1991. He died Tuesday, at the age of 86.
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Gore Vidal in 1991. He died Tuesday, at the age of 86.

The death of writer and cultural critic Gore Vidal on Tuesday, at the age of 86, means many are trying today to capture that man of words' life in just a few phrases:

-- He was an "elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization," says The New York Times.

-- TheLos Angeles Times calls Vidal an "iconoclastic author, savvy analyst and glorious gadfly on the national conscience."

-- ToThe Washington Post, he was "a celebrated writer, cultural gadfly and occasional political candidate."

The BBC, meanwhile, has pulled together a collection of Vidal's best quotes, including this one that has Vidal speaking about himself:

"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."

According to The Associated Press, Gore's nephew Burr Steers says his uncle died last evening in Hollywood Hills, Calif., from complications related to pneumonia.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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