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October 16, 2005


The Truman Show: "Capote"

Truman Capote
Phillip Seymore Hoffman is starring in the movie,"Capote", which is scheduled to open this week. The film documents the triumphs and ultimate self-destruction of Truman Capote. Film critic Roger Ebert has proclaimed that, "If there is such a thing as a lock on an Oscar nomination, Hoffman has one; in a year rich in performances, his is remarkable."


"Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act."

That quip exemplifies the acerbic humor of Capote, who became an icon of pop culture during the 1960's and 70's.

He was born on September 30, 1924, as Truman Strekfus Persons in New Orleans, later taking his stepfather's surname and reinventing himself as Truman Capote. He stated that his height was 5'3" ("tall as a shotgun and just as noisy"), although it was well known that he was much shorter than that.

Southern literary lion Tennessee Williams was a distant relative, and his childhood friend Harper Lee used Truman as the basis for Dill in her novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

His most famous work was "In Cold Blood" (1965). Other well-known writings included his first novel, "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (1948), the novellas "The Grass Harp" (1951) and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1958).

Capote appeared in Neil Simon's film comedy "Murder by Death" (1976), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination as best new male star. He also appeared in "Annie Hall" (1978), turning up in the film as a "Truman Capote look-alike."

Eventually, his jet-set friends, whom he betrayed in "Answered Prayers", vehemently turned against him, triggering his professional and personal decline. He died from a drug overdose on August 25, 1984, at the age of 59, in the home of Joanne Carson, former wife of Johnny Carson, the late, long-time host of "The Tonight Show."

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