I briefly interviewed Gore Vidal once. It was a little more than 30 years ago, at the end of a long day of filming in Los Angeles. I was working as writer and segment producer on an arts magazine pilot for public television.
I grew up on Gore Vidal. As a teenager in Virginia, I knew him first as a TV personality, then as an essayist and finally as a novelist. There was nobody else like him. On television he was unflappable. On the page he was startlingly funny, especially in his essays.
I don't feel sad for Gore Vidal today. He lived to 86 and he had the kind of life people ask Santa Claus for. It was not without hardship, loss or suffering, but he leaves behind great works and a million smiles. If anything, I feel sad for my country, which lost one of its truest patriots.