He set out as a young World War II veteran to live by his pen, his wit, and his mouth.
Though Gore Vidal drifted into the outer lands of punditry after 9/11, suggesting that George W. Bush had colluded with the terrorists, he was an intellectual iconoclast and a writer of baffling output. He said he wanted to be remembered as "the person who wrote the best sentences of his time." After serving in World War II, he set out to live by his pen and his wit.
In this classic clip from ABC News coverage of the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, he trades barbs with William Buckley. On live, national television, he called Buckley a "crypto-Nazi."
"Style," he once said, "is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."