Gore Vidal's Hollywood Friends Remember Him

Gore Vidal & Susan Sarandon

Sarandon, pictured here with Vidal in 2003, first met the writer in 1972 when she appeared in his Broadway play "An Evening With Richard Nixon."

Susan Sarandon, Peter Bogdanovich and Anjelica Huston share their memories.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Susan Sarandon, actress

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"Everyone thinks of Gore as being so caustic and dry and intellectual, but in fact he was so emotional about the Republic. He knew so much about history and what was intended for this nation in its purest form. And as the Constitution disintegrated, as our civil liberties deteriorated into perpetual war, it just broke his heart. That's really what was the base of his anger, the sadness and the outrage over these things happening, because he loved this country so much. I think it all stemmed from a feeling of betrayal. When he talked about the Republic, he would say, 'This is what our forefathers meant, and it has been completely corrupted.' I admired his bravery and the purity of his heart. He was an incredibly loyal person, too. If he cared for you, he would not tolerate any harm or any bad-talking about you. How he chose those people he decided to love, I don't know, but when he did, you just could do no wrong. Underneath, he was so sweet and so dedicated and such a romantic, really. All of his gruffness, all his different fights about what was going on, was because he cared so deeply."

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Peter Bogdanovich, writer and director

"I loved working with him [on a Broadway production we hoped to mount of Tennessee Williams' unfinished play, Of Masks Outrageous and Austere]. He was a brilliant technician as well as being a brilliant mind. I think he was the last great man of letters of the 20th century."

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Anjelica Huston, actress

"He was a staple of a certain level of aspiration for all of us. He was a man of letters, a man to be respected, and also a man who gave great parties and was very socially aware. The thing he loved to talk to me about was being a Gore. My grandmother on my father's side was a Gore. She was a newspaper woman and she worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Gore loved that. He always said we were related. At the time, Gore loved to point out that our vice president had the same Gore nose. I have happy memories of spending several days working at his house in Ravello when we were filming Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. It was right after he had left it, but everything was still there. Wonderful photographs on the walls of the times with Princess Margaret, Rudolf Nureyev, Fred Astaire. One can only imagine how great the parties were and what a fabulous time they all had."