LGBT People of History 69 - Truman Capote
Truman Capote (1924 – 1984) was born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans. He was an American author of short stories, novels, plays and non-fiction. Many of these works became classics.
His childhood was lonely and unstable having to endure divorce, constant moving around and the absence of his Mother. He realised he could write at an early age and spent his childhood perfecting his art. He realised he was homosexual at an early age. He often wore women’s clothes.
He was lifelong best friends with Harper Lee, author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
Initially he wrote short stories. His first novel was ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’, which was largely autobiographical. The main character, Joel, has a difficult life and finally accepts himself for who he is. His next novel, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, tells the story of Holly Golightly and was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the movie of the same name. His next book ‘In Cold Blood’ was a ‘non-fiction’ novel based upon the massacre of a farming family in Kansas – this became his most famous work and he was helped immensely by Harper Lee in this endeavour.
Capote had a rivalry with Gore Vidal and Andy Warhol regarded him as a mentor.
Capote was openly gay. His first love was Newton Arvin, a professor of literature. His life partner was Jack Dunphy, who wrote about their relationship as something of two parts. They were not together continuously. He explains their loving relationship and the Truman who existed outside their relationship – a driven and alcohol and drug addicted individual. Capote was prone to exaggeration, claiming to know certain people who he didn’t – it was difficult to tell as he did have an eclectic mix of friends and acquaintances. He was not a conscious supporter of Gay Rights – in fact he seemed to just accept his homosexuality as a facet of himself – nothing more – just as it should be – no big deal.
In later life he would rely on his celebrity status and throw lavish parties and joined the jet set. His life commenced a downward spiral with drink and drugs forming a large part of his life. He was in and out of rehab and died of liver failure in LA in 1984. In 1994, both Capote’s and Dunphy’s ashes were scattered together on Long Island.
Ian and Callum.
With thanks to Wikipedia.
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