Gore Vidal, (1925— ). US novelist and writer. The son of a wealthy political family, he served in the army during World War II and then travelled extensively before settling in Italy. His first novel was published when he was 19. Later works include Myra Breckinridge (1968), Burr (1972), Empire (1987), and Live from Golgotha (1992). A homosexual, Vidal is known for his witty criticisms of contemporary US society. He has also written essays and screenplays and the autobiography Palimpsest (1995).