Theater District Send-Off For Gore Vidal Quotes Many Of His Writings
A star-filled tribute was held in the Theater District on Thursday for the late prolific writer and outspoken social critic Gore Vidal, in the theater where the current revival of his play "The Best Man" is performed. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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at age 86. Thursday the Broadway community and beyond said goodbye at the Schoenfeld Theatre where the current revival of "Gore Vidal's The Best Man" is playing. NY1's has more from the event
John Laroquette and James Earl Jones were not performing a matinee of Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" in the Schoenfeld Theatre on Thursday. Rather, it was rather a public goodbye to the man who wrote this stinging political drama.
Vidal was 86 when he died in his home in California on July 31. At Thursday's memorial tribute, the provocateur was remembered as a brilliantly biting but funny man of letters. Attendees celebrated a number of Vidal's plays, novels, essays and screenplays.
"He really was not afraid to tell the truth," said entertainer Christine Ebersole.
Ebersole and fellow stars Candice Bergen, Anjelica Huston and Elizabeth Ashley delivered one-liners by Vidal that brought the house down.
"The four most beautiful words in our common language, 'I told you so,'" joked Ebersole.
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country and we haven't seen them since," joked Bergen.
"A narcissist is simply someone better looking than you are," joked Ashley.
Also adding to the salute were former TV host Dick Cavett, entertainers Cybil Shepherd, Susan Sarandon and Alan Cumming and actor-comedian Richard Belzer.
"I loved hearing all the laughs because a lot of people read his stuff in their privacy of their home and they don't hear the laughs," said Belzer.
Vidal was saluted for his moral outrage and his take on issues of sexuality, class, gender and politics.
One-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich sought his friend's guidance in 2003, and he says Vidal's first bit of advise for him was, "You've go to do something about that hair."
In addition to the performers who took the stage, fans lined up outside the theater for their turn to enter and say goodbye.
"He really inspired me as a writer," said one fan.
"I've always admired Gore Vidal tremendously," said another.
"This play moved me so much the first time I saw it, I went back and read most of his other works," said a third.
Vidal famously referred to this country as the "United States of Amnesia, but this send-off made clear he will not be forgotten.